Papua New Guinea Judiciary

Working with a Judiciary

We recently had the privilege to work with Alison Holt, e-Judiciary Adviser to the Chief Justice of Papua New Guinea which was a really fascinating project and very different from other consulting work we have been doing.

Here’s the background…

Alison Holt, says, “It’s been my ambition for the last few years to develop a digital twin of a judiciary that could assist with planning and development.

Judiciaries around the world saw an increase in case backlogs over the COVID years, but what can a judiciary do to catch up? Adding Judges might be the solution, but what if the bottle neck is court room space or a lack of Registry or admin staff? Perhaps issues lie outside the judiciary walls. What if there are insufficient Public Prosecutors to support an increased number of criminal Judges? And what if a rush to hear cases results in the overcrowding of prisons?

Systems issues require systems thinking. A chance meeting in Wellington in August last year led to a connection with Neil Calvert and since that meeting, we’ve worked together to build a judiciary twin in LINQ, using the Constitution of Papua New Guinea as our guidebook and instruction manual.

Papua New Guinea shown on a map through a magnifying glass

We started our journey halfway through the PNG Constitution with the setting up of the National Justice Administration, but every question took us back a step. For example, Judges are appointed by the Chief Justice, but who appoints the Chief Justice and who appoints the person who appoints the Chief Justice? It soon became apparent that the starting point of our journey should be the first page of the Constitution and that we needed to configure a nation in our digital twin and define a National Government to run it before we could add a judicial system.

After several hours of mapping and planning, we don’t quite yet have a full judiciary digital twin, but we do have an interactive model of the top level of a Pacific nation. And we can already see the potential of a constitution that sets expectations in a preamble, lists out human rights, and counterbalances powerful entities with strong governance controls.

My first experience of LINQ has been very positive. I can see valuable applications of LINQ in the Law and Justice Sector space. For example, to model draft legislation and agency plans that are still in development with the aim of running multiple scenarios to identify issues and unexpected consequences before enactment.”

Neil adds “Alison quickly understood the structured language and thinking that LINQ offers and with her expert knowledge of the judicial system we were able to translate the constitution into the LINQ language very quickly.”

We made amazing progress and in only eight hours could see the interrelated aspects of establishing the judicial system. Our next step is to expand out from the judiciary to understand the impact of building works, staff recruitment and contracted support services on requirements for judges and courtrooms. This will create a valuable model of a working system which will inform the interdependencies within the system.