GBA tables plan for reform in justice system

Guyana Chronicle
May 17, 2001

THE Guyana Bar Association (GBA) has tabled a multi-faceted plan on legal reforms for consideration by the authorities in the administration of justice.

GBA President Anande Trotman, who tendered the proposals at the recent special sitting of the Bench to welcome new Chancellor Desiree Bernard and Chief Justice Carl Singh, said her organisation anticipates an era of administrative and jurisprudential reform and self-evident change in the system.

Former Chancellors, Chief Justices, members of the Diplomatic Corps and other practising lawyers were in attendance on the occasion when Ms Trotman called attention to "some perennial complaints" and offered the suggestions.

"Irrespective of how many experts or retired judges come, I am sure that we know the answers/solutions can be found by dialoguing with each other," she said.

According to her, the problems are easily identifiable as they relate to the administration of justice and the management of judicial officers, recruitment of competent ones, salaries, the Registry, its staffing and tardiness on the part of the Bench and Bar with respect to the enforcement of the Rules of Court and reporting.

Through Trotman, the GBA suggested the introduction of, among other things:

* a modern system of Court management and reporting, even by judges, to centralised administrators;

* a computerised tracking network for all cases filed in the Registry;

* research assistants along with in-chamber computers and comprehensive relevant materials;

* continuing education for judges as well as members of the Bar, to keep apace with developments in thelaw and

* further engineering and reforming of the Constitution of Guyana to insulate the Judiciary from Executive control.

Trotman called, as well, for the appointment of an Attorney General, a Solicitor General and more legal functionaries of the State, so that constitutional and other matters could be expedited.

Additional aspects she outlined include continued funding from such sources as United States Agency for International Developmnent (USAID), consultation with the profession about impending legislation and wide availability of revised laws to lawyers and the public generally.

Trotman said working committees commissioned by GBA aim to produce a blueprint on the way forward.

"Indeed, we the Bench and Bar should have as our objective the protection of the tenets of rule of law and the responsive reform to ensure a dynamic and changing legal system and society," she urged.