“I didn’t make decisions on short-term appointments” – Granger

first_imgIn light of questions being raised behind the rationale of Government’s move to appoint two short-term Judges at the Court of Appeal, President David Granger has declared that the decision was not his.“I don’t run the Judiciary; I simply obey the constitutional requirement for me to appoint the persons recommended by the Judicial Service Commission. So that question could be properly addressed to the Chancellor of the Judiciary, I don’t make those choices,” he told reporters when asked about the short-term appointments.The current shortage of Judges at the Guyana Court of Appeal has led Government to appoint two short-term acting Judges to work on reducing the backlog of cases at Guyana’s highest court.University of West Indies (UWI) Lecturer, Dr Christopher Arif Bulkan, and Senior Counsel Rafiq Turnhan Khan were recently appointed as acting Justices of Appeal. Both of their appointments are temporary and will only last six months.Legal Affairs Minister Basil Williams had explained that the Constitution does provide for the appointment of acting Justices of Appeal.Dr Bulkan, who is the nephew of Communities Minister Ronald Bulkan, had told reporters that he will be working with all stakeholders to address the backlog of cases, which currently plagues the judicial system.Having worked at the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Chambers and being a Magistrate here, Dr Bulkan believes he would be able to make some headway in clearing up the backlog within his short tenure.Khan, on the other hand, told reporters that he brings vast experience in civil procedures.“When you come out of the Private Sector and come onto the bench, I think you bring a different perspective, not saying it’s a better perspective but you get wider views of complex legal problems and you have different experiences and it helps to widen the scope and vision of the decision you initially give,” he noted.As these steps are taken to clear up the backlogged cases, Chief Justice acting, Roxane George, last week disclosed that the number of those cases in both the High and Appeal Courts has been reduced by more than half.She explained that the High Court is now operating under a system known as the Civil Procedures Rules, which was introduced on February 6, 2017. As such, she added that cases filed before that date are being classified as ‘old rules’ matters.The Chief Justice noted that “there are a number of them that we call live matters in the sense that they are matters that will go to trial unless the parties agree to settle but we also have a number of matters that will not be going to trial. Under the old High Court rules, a Judge must adjudicate to formally complete them.” She informed that there are approximately 1500 matters before the Court that require trials or a full hearing, the remaining, from estimation, will have to be passed through the court for them to be formally closed.During last year, 2063 fixed date applications were filed and 1452 completed. Additionally, 440 Statement of Claim matters were filed of which 54 were completed. Thus far, for 2018, 214 fixed date applications were filed with 95 completed; and 37 Statement of Claim matters filed and four completed.Meanwhile, Acting Chancellor of Judiciary, Justice Yonette Cummings-Edwards said since assuming office about a year ago, there have been three sets of case management or consideration and dismissal matters in the Court of Appeal.The case management exercise, she noted, was intended to determine which of the matters would go forward, following which they were gazetted, notices sent to the lawyers and litigants, publications issued in the newspapers and sittings held.According to the acting Chancellor, “simultaneously we are doing the old matters as well as we are doing current matters and to my mind, that is a good strategy for dealing with the backlog and at the same time not create a backlog, hence the need for more Judges in the Court of Appeal to continue that initiative.” (Vahnu Manikchand)last_img

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