The National Court is a Court of original jurisdiction, meaning it can deal with or hear all sorts of cases, both criminal and civil cases, except for those types of cases that are restricted to the Supreme Court. However, in reality it cannot deal with all cases it is capable of hearing due to jurisdictional limitations placed by various statutes. For instance, it cannot deal with criminal cases under the Summary Offences Act or deal with civil cases, the monetary value of the claim is up to K10, 000-00. This is because the District Court Act gives jurisdiction to the District Courts to deal with them.

All the cases that come before the National Court are of Criminal or Civil Nature. In other words they are either a civil case or criminal case.

The criminal cases are prosecuted by the State while in the civil case; it is the plaintiff who prosecutes their case to get the remedy they claim for in their complaint.

Civil cases are initiated by private persons, both human and corporate persons. They can bring the complaints themselves in ordinary persons or through their lawyers. For companies, it can be brought by their officers through their lawyers.

Civil cases are of different types and commenced by different originating processes. What type of summons or complaint you commence your court action will depend things like what claim you are making, what results you want to get, if the type of case you want to bring has related statutory laws and so forth.

The civil cases are guided by relevant statutory provisions under which a proceeding is brought and registered as well as by the National Court Rules and other Rules of practice and procedure put in place and used by the Court.

Case types

The main types of originating processes used to commence a civil suit in the National Court are mentioned in the following table and the types of claim for which it can be used.


Originating Process


Types of   matters to use for.


Originating summons







Judicial review of administrative decisions , restraining orders,   adoption of child, declarations and directions, contempt of court cases


Writ of summons




Actions in tort , negligence and contract. Money claims,   declarations, human right breach ,


Human right applications



Enforcement of human rights breach, restraining of human rights   breach


Matrimonial Causes


Divorce or marriages, separation of marriages


Wills Probate Administration


Administration of deceased’s properties and related


Civil Appeal


Appeals from lower court’s   decision, appeals as provided by Statutes of decision of authorities set by   the statute.


Criminal Appeal


Appeals from the lower court on decision relating to criminal charges.


Miscellaneous Petition


Winding up of companies under   the companies Acts, petitions for insolvency and bankruptcy   etc.


Election Petition


Petition challenging results of elections.


Lawyers Admission


Application to admit lawyers to practice in the Courts of Papua New   Guinea.

What are on this list are the main types of civil cases that can be registered in the National Court registry for the National Court to deal with.

These cases are allocated to relevant tracks or sections and are managed by the officer working in each track.

We have several tracks in Waigani. In the provincial registry, all the civil cases are managed and administered together unlike in Waigani. The tracks at Waigani are divided into Common Law Division and Equity division.

Equity Division

Common Law Division


Civil Court One

Human Rights

Civil Court Two

Judicial Review and Appeal

Civil Court Three

ADR/ Mediation


Leadership Tribunal


Election Petition


Mediation of civil Cases registered in the National Court

This is a process we have in the registry where cases are referred by the court to be mediated for settlement between the parties. It applies to most forms of disputes or claims registered. The mediation process starts of when a Court makes an order that the case be mediated. This case is then referred to the relevant section of the registry. They create a Mediation File of certain approved documents from the original court file. The file is then managed by the registry section dealing with mediation which we call as ADR (Alternative Dispute Resolution) Track.

The files are managed by the ADR track until the matter is mediated. There are certain processed involved which is used to getting the mediation done.

Similar in provinces

Except for division of all cases into tracks and the mediation processes, all registries throughout the country can accept all the types of civil cases if they are to be initiated there. They are familiar with what to do and the files are managed at each location as done in Waigani.


If there is anything you want to find out on what is said here or other things at the National Court registry, you can be able to contact our Mr. David Gonol or Mr. Baka Bina. For the provinces contact the Assistant Registrars.