Legal ‘think tank’ seeks to improve court system efficiency

Guyana Chronicle
June 20, 2003

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GINA - THE dire need for improvements in the efficiency of the court system engaged the attention of a legal think-tank of judges, Supreme Court officials and legal profession representatives over the weekend.

The think-tank consisted of nine judges of the High Court and Court of Appeal headed by Chancellor Desiree Bernard, key staff of the administrative section of the Supreme Court, including Registrar Sita Ramlall, and representatives of the legal profession.

They met at Baganara Resort, Essequibo River.

With them for their brain-storming sessions were former Chancellor Kenneth George. and focus of the `think-tank’ was Case Flow Management - the coordination of court processes and resources to move cases through the system on a timely basis.

Facilitator was Master Christie-Anne Morris -Alleyne, Court Executive of the Judiciary of Trinidad and Tobago, who has been involved in the reform of court systems in several Caribbean jurisdictions. She was accompanied by the acting Registrar of Trinidad and Tobago’s Court, Robin Mohamed.

According to a release, the acting Registrar presented a detailed comparison of the new court rules of Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago and the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS), including reference to the new draft rules under review here.

Another presenter, Ms Deborah-Mendez-Bowen, a lecturer at the Hugh Wooding Law School n Trinidad and a specialist in Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR), focused on the concept of mediation in general, and offered considerable detail about the pilot mediation program in St Lucia, and the state of mediation services and legislation in Trinidad and Tobago.

It is expected that the new information and perspectives from other parts of the Caribbean will assist the Guyanese courts in implement reforms that will ultimately improve the judicial services to the public and all court users.

It was for that reason that members of the Rules Committee, considering significant changes to the procedural rules for civil cases in Guyana, as well as a number of representatives of the ADR Planning Committee, were part of the weekend discussions.

The retreat, organized by the Carter Center with funding from United States Agency for International Development (USAID, also served as an opportunity for the judiciary to become better acquainted with Mr. Colin Chichester, the recently-appointed Court Manager .

Mr. Chichester works with the Registrar to achieve the orderly administration of cases in the Supreme Court.

The visiting facilitators were thanked for volunteering to share their time, energy and knowledge with the Guyanese participants, which it is hoped is the start of a mutually-beneficial exchange of ideas and experience, between the judicial systems of the two neighbouring CARICOM states.

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