‘Not intentional’ – Chancellor says about Judges’ breach of time limit for decisions


Months after Attorney General Anil Nandlall, SC had accused Judges of disobeying laws that prescribe a time limit for the handing down of written decisions, Chancellor of the Judiciary (ag) Yonnette Cummings- Edwards says those breaches are not intentional.

Speaking to the News Room at the side lines of the launch of Law Week on Tuesday, Justice Cummings- Edwards said the judiciary will look at those shortcomings and remedy them.

“If there is a breach, it is not intentional… we will look at it and remedy it,” the Chancellor assured the News Room.

But flowing from the submissions of written decisions, the Chancellor herself is tasked with submitting a report to the National Assembly.

Justice Cummings- Edwards said since she took up the post as Chancellor (ag) in March 2017, she has managed to complete some of those reports.

“Some have been submitted and the outstanding ones are being worked upon,” she said.

The Chancellor could not say which reports are outstanding or when the others were submitted but indicated that the information would be with the Registrar.

Chancellor of the Judiciary (ag) Justice Yonnette Cummings-Edwards [DPI photo]
Justice Cummings-Edwards said the judiciary must be accountable to the people it serves with its funding coming from the public purse. As such, she said there is no excuse about transparency and accountability as they are two values recognised by its members.

Nandlall had raised his concerns in October 2021, one week after Guyana’s judiciary launched a revised code of ethics for an expanded list of judicial officers.

It is the efficiency of the work of judicial officers that Nandlall had issues with.

The Limit for Judicial Decision Act requires Judges to give decisions in writing within a certain time of the determination of a case/end of the trial. It was Nandlall who had piloted that Bill in the National Assembly.

The Act also speaks about the ability to remove a Judge from office for failing to do so.

In 2009, because of widespread criticisms linked to perennial delays in the judiciary, the government enacted the Time Limit for Judicial Decisions Act, No. 9 of 2009. The Bill was assented to in August 2009 but as Nandlall complained, this law is not being adhered to.

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