McKay heads criminal justice review team
Stabroek News
January 16, 2002

Chancellor of the Judiciary, Desiree Bernard, has appointed Senior Counsel Rex McKay to head a committee that will examine the existing laws, practices and procedures of the criminal justice system and make recommendations for its improvement.

She has also appointed former chancellor Kenneth George to review the Civil Rules of Court and to make recommendations about the possible formulation of new Rules of Procedure. The reviews being undertaken by McKay and George are being sponsored by the Carter Center as part of a wider project to increase the capacity of the courts to resolve matters in a timely manner.

Chancellor Bernard told Stabroek News yesterday that the McKay committee would comprise representatives from the Guyana Bar Association, the Guyana Human Rights Association, the Guyana Police Force, the Attorney General's Chambers and the Chambers of the Director of Public Prosecutions, as well as acting Chief Magistrate, Juliet Holder-Allen and Justice of Appeal, Ian Chang. Attorney-at-law Rinee Kissoon has been appointed secretary to the committee.

The Criminal Justice Review Committee is to begin its work almost immediately and the Chancellor anticipates that it would complete its task within four months.

The Chancellor said that George is to meet members of the judiciary and the legal profession on February 2 to ascertain the views of the profession before he commences the review.

The Civil Rules have not been updated since 1954, Stabroek News understands and among other things requires lawyers to serve papers on each other by post in an age of the Internet and fax machine.

The review of criminal and civil procedures of the High Court was one of the recommendations of the report prepared by retired United Kingdom judges, Esyr Lewis QC and John Lewis and reiterated in the follow-up report prepared by Mark Stevens of the Lord Chancellor's Office.

Other recommendations from these reports which Stabroek News understands are currently in the pipeline are a one-day symposium on sentencing and the identification of a number of the younger judges for training in case management in the United Kingdom.