Papua New Guinea's top magistrate has warned that district court operations could be brought to a standstill unless more magistrates are recruited
Closing an orientation workshop in Port Moresby for five new magistrates, Chief Magistrate John Numapo decried the huge disparity in salaries and employment conditions between judges and magistrates.
But low pay is being seen as the reason for experienced lawyers being reluctant to join the bench.
The Magisterial Services increased the number of magistrates from 104 to 120, but that number has dwindled because of resignations, deaths and retirement.
He has called on the Government to review the salary and terms and conditions of magistrates - with the last review being carried out in 1993.