Dr Bulkan named temporary Court of Appeal Judge

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Dr Arif Bulkan, described by President David Granger as an “eminent” Guyanese, was Wednesday morning sworn in as a temporary judge with the Court of Appeal.

“A full complement of judges and magistrates and legal officers promote judicial efficiency and public confidence in the rule of law,” President Granger stated.

Dr Bulkan’s appointment took immediate effect and he will serve for six months.

He currently teaches Constitutional Law, Commonwealth Caribbean Human Rights Law, International Human Rights Law and Law and Legal Systems in the LLB programme at the University of the West Indies’ St Augustine Campus. As such, he does not anticipate that he will serve more than six months at the Court of Appeal.

“Because they are understaffed right now, my addition will help them to clear up the backlog or go somewhere towards that,” Dr Bulkan said after he was sworn in.

President Granger said he made the appointment given his powers under the Constitution and on the advice of the Judicial Service Commission (JSC).

Dr Bulkan was interviewed by the JSC and his appointment recommended.

Though he did not previously serve a judge, Dr Bulkan worked in the chambers of the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) and served a stint as a magistrate.

Asked if he believed he would be able to accomplish much in just six months, Dr Bulkan stated, “I think so, that’s the idea, yes.”

President Granger referred to Guyana as a law-based State, and said the enforcement of the law, and the efficient and timely dispensation of justice by the courts is a fundamental basis of the country’s law-based system.

“The Judiciary is a vital organ in the preservation of system of law and order.

“An efficient and independent judiciary ensures that citizens have access to justice and that this access is fair and swift and fair,” the President stated.

According to Mr Granger, the Constitution of Guyana makes provision also for protecting and preserving the independence, impartiality andintegrity of the judiciary, and Dr Bulkan’s appointment was an “affirmation” of the government towards ensuring the judicial system, remain independent.

Dr Bulkan joined the Faculty of Law at the Cave Hill campus of the University of the West Indies in September 2008 and transferred to the St Augustine campus in January 2012.

According to his biography posted on the website of the University of the West Indies, prior to joining the Faculty of Law there, Bulkan practiced law in Guyana, first at the Chambers of the Director of Public Prosecutions, where he left as Assistant DPP in 1996, and then in private practice from 1999 to 2004.

He obtained his PhD in law on the subject of the land rights of indigenous peoples in Guyana from Osgood Hall Law School of York University in 2008, and is one of the few experts on the emerging legal framework dealing with the rights of indigenous peoples in the Caribbean.

Dr Bulkan has published on democracy, the rule of law and constitutionalism in the Caribbean, the rights of indigenous persons, environmental law, and Caribbean human rights law.

He has also provided expert advice as a consultant on human rights, environmental law, indigenous law and HIV/AIDS and the law to regional and international non-governmental and inter-governmental organizations, and has worked in law and policy reform in the areas of indigenous rights, natural resource extraction laws and health and human rights.

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