The government is aiming to build capacity at the Court of Appeal to accommodate the large influx of cases from the High Court.
Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs Anil Nandlall says the government is engaging the Judiciary and the legal professional community on amending the law to increase the complement of judges sitting at the Court of Appeal.
“Currently, the complement is not less than two and not more than five. That, obviously, is inadequate.”
“Having regard to the caseload that is leaving the High Court toward the Court of Appeal for ventilation; government is proposing, and we hope that the consultation will find agreement, government is voting to increase that complement from not less than five to not more than nine.”
Construction is ongoing at the Court of Appeal for extensions to the existing infrastructure. Minister Nandlall adds that he believes the judges should not all be based in Georgetown.
“We believe also that the Court of Appeal should become itinerant. So that while there is a complement of judges sitting in the Court of Appeal in Georgetown, there should be a complement sitting in Berbice to hear appeals in Berbice and a complement in Essequibo, should there be a need.”
Minister Nandlall said the government considers the administration of justice as essential to Guyana and an important factor in the democratic, economic and social equation of the country.
He further stated the system requires greater speed in the disposal of cases for justice to be served efficiently.
“We intend to work with the Judiciary to resource the other backup staff that will make this a reality. Because, as the Chief Justice correctly pointed out, we can’t only appoint judicial officers and not give them the necessary resources and personnel backup for them to discharge their services. It’s an all-encompassing exercise.”
AG reminded that plans are afoot to construct a modern massive judicial complex to accommodate, in Demerara, the Court of Appeal, High Court, Land Court, and all attendant registries and support apparatus in one central location.