The National Lands Commission is mainly responsible for dealing with applications for claims for settlement payments submitted by former customary landowners of State Land which were acquired by the State before Independence.

There are also back-log of cases totalling up to 400 cases which have been outstanding because there were no Commissioners to hear the matters. Some were heard by previous Commissioners and referred back to the National Lands Commission after the National Court quashed the Decisions of the Commissioners on application for judicial Review by the aggrieved Parties.

Manpower Strength of the National Lands Commission

There is only four (4) staff currently on strength and there are two (2) vacant positions, and both are Commissioners positions, one of which is the Chief Commissioner’s position. Both positions were advertised and the recruitment is being done now.


There was a proposal for the two (2) Lands Tribunals to merge with the Magisterial Services and form a single Land Court System. The proposal was initially part of a White Paper Policy which was launched by the then Minister for Justice, Honourable Bire Kimisopa in 2005. The proposal was part of a NEC Decision which was incorporated into the White Paper.

Whilst the proposal is there and whilst it is not clear as to how the two (2) Lands Tribunals will get absorbed into the system there is certain level of uncertainty and the feelings of insecurity amongst the officers which sometimes makes the officers lose motivation to work.

In relation to the actual proposal to merge there have been some discussions held between officers from the Magisterial Services and the Department of Justice and Attorney General. But it is still early to say what form the amalgamation will take and what will be the eventual outlook of the new look Single Land Court System.

NLC Contacts

PO Box 591
General Enquiries: +675 323 1895
Fax : 323 2822
Email : 

Chief Commissioner – NLC

Lands Tribunal Services


To provide effective process of settling land disputes, to decide on settlement payments over national land, and decide applications for customary land tenure conversions


  • Determine and settle ownership rights and settlement payments over land in Papua New Guinea
  • Maintain register of all national land and land tenure conversion in Papua New Guinea

Priority Action Areas

  • Appoint additional commissioners in order to deal effectively with the substantial backlog of outstanding land cases
  • Effective participation in the planning and restructure of the National Lands Commission and the Land Titles Commission in line with the NEC-endorsed recommendations of the Minister’s White Paper
  • Register, secure and archive all files and documents of the commissions and implement a sound, long-term solution to preserve copies of these documents