Village Courts are formal courts operating under the Village Courts Act 1989 and Village Court Regulations 1973, and employ customary methods of mediation and conflict-resolution which are basic concepts of restorative justice. There are currently 14,496 Village Courts throughout the country, covering approximately 90% of the country with more than 15,000 officials, 900 of which are women. Each Village Court has 4 – 5 Village Magistrates (selected by the Community and appointed by the Minister for Justice as judicial officers); 3 – 4 peace officers; and 1 clerk. Land Mediation is provided for under the Land Dispute Settlement Act (Chapter No.45) to provide for the settlement of disputes in relation to customary land.

Under the Organic Law on Provincial and Local Level Governments (OLPLLG), village courts and customary land dispute resolution are delegated functions to Provincial Governments. The Department of Justice and Attorney General through the Village Courts and Land Mediation Secretariat located on Cameron Road, Gordons in Port Moresby only has the statutory coordination and monitoring functions in:

  • Administering and implementing the legislation on village courts;
  • Administering the gazettal and proclamation of Village Court areas, Village Court officials and Land Mediators;
  • Improving and maintaining an effective Village Courts and land mediation services Information Management System;
  • Strengthening the capacity of Provincial Administrations to sustain the support they provide to Village Courts and land mediation services in their respective provinces; and
  • Fostering an awareness of addressing cross-cutting issues in village courts and land mediation operations.

VCLMS Contact

Tel: (+675) 325 8235/325 8335			
Fax: 325 7949
Email: VillageCourt@justice.gov.pg 

Executive Director – VCLMS

Peni Benjamin Keris MBE

MR Peni Keris

Peni Benjamin Keris is one of the longest serving staff of DJAG being introduced into the Department as a Village Courts Officer in 1982.

In 1985 Mr Keris was appointed as Secretary of Village Court Secretariat and in 1999 he moved on to become Director of the Secretariat.

Mr Keris achieved a Bachelor in Arts at the University of Papua New Guinea, a Post Graduate Diploma in Development Administration and a Masters in Development Administration at the Australian National University (ANU).

Mr Keris hails from Lowa village, Lorengau, Manus province and has worked mostly as a Patrol Officer and District Officer in the Eastern Highlands province.