Four more judges for UK training

Stabroek News
May 19, 2003

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The first of the four judges to benefit this year from training opportunities in the United Kingdom will leave for London at the end of the month. The training opportunities are being made available through the assistance of Baroness Patricia Scotland.

Chancellor of the Judiciary, Desiree Bernard told Stabroek News on Saturday that Justice William Ramlall would be travelling to London towards the end of the month to participate in a training seminar organised by the Judicial Studies Board of the Lord Chancellor's Department. Justice Ramlall will be away for about twelve days. Chancellor Bernard said that the other judges would leave for courses later in the year and early next year.

Last year, Justices Yonette Cummings, Winston Moore, B. S. Roy and Claudette La Bennett benefited from training opportunities. Bernard told the Bar Association Annual Conference last week that the "interaction with their English counterparts was of immense benefit to our judges who returned full of enthusiasm and hopefully wiser than when they left."

In October the Lord Chancellor's Department sent a judge from the Central Court in London to conduct a two-day seminar on sentencing for both judges and magistrates.

The training opportunities are part of a series of actions Bernard has initiated to raise the level of the judiciary. She has also been able, with the aid of the British, Indian and Canadian governments, to increase the holdings of the Supreme Court Library. The Library at the Berbice High Court has also had its holdings increased by contributions from lawyers, resident and practising in the United Kingdom and from the British Government.

The Chancellor also noted that the Carter Center was funding the revision of the Rules of Procedure of the High Court and was promoting the introduction of Alternative Dispute Resolution into the judicial system.

When she spoke at the Bar Association conference, Bernard bemoaned the conduct of attorneys in Court and urged the judges to make use of the considerable powers of the court to punish lawyers who demonstrated contempt for their courts. A legal scholar has told Stabroek News that it is in the inherent jurisdiction of the judges to deal with contempt whenever it arose.

Another complaint by the Chancellor was the continuing loss of members of the judiciary even with the continuing increase in the amount of cases. She noted recent developments that would lead to the re-constituting of the Judicial Services Commission and possible new appointments to both the Judiciary and the Magistracy. However, she doubted how easily this could be accomplished as she said, "Lawyers are not easily persuaded to leave the safe haven of private practice to assume judicial office with all its constraints of time and freedom of movement not to mention the ever-present spectre of the Court of Appeal hovering over you like the Sword of Damocles."

These factors, she observed were a deterrent to a timid practitioner or even more courageous ones agreeing to embark on a judicial or magisterial career.

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