PNG govt accused of obstruction over Manus case

3:14 pm on 22 September 2016

Papua New Guinea's government has applied to dismiss a court application by refugees on Manus Island for compensation and repatriation by Australia.

It's the latest legal hurdle in attempts to have the two governments comply with April's Supreme Court ruling that detaining people on Manus is illegal.

PNG's Immigration Department has argued the application by hundreds of refugees and asylum seekers should be dismissed because it wasn't personally signed by them.

However the refugees' lawyer Ben Lomai said his signature on their behalf was legitimate.

Mr Lomai described the government's move as vexatious, when the matter should be resolved quickly.

In an effort to clarify the situation, he went before the full Supreme Court bench last month.

"And the full bench correctly stated that the orders are very clear. Why can't the Australian and Papua New Guinea government do something quickly?" he asked.

"We were about to go and get an order for a summary judgement and here they come, Johnny-come-lately, come in and file this application and state that we don't have the jurisdiction to sign. This is ridiculous, you know."

"Today we're going back to the Supreme Court to set the matter down to go before the full bench to hear this application, together with our application for a summary judgement," Mr Lomai explained.

The Supreme Court is expected to sit and consider the applications before the end of October.

Protest by refugees and asylum seekers on Manus Island.

A protest by refugees and asylum seekers on Manus Island before the PNG Supreme Court ruling. Photo: Supplied