President of the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ), Sir Dennis Bryon, has recommended the establishment of a Standing Rules Committee to evaluate and update the new Civil Procedure Rules 2016.
Today, members of the Bar and Bench attended the opening of a two day seminar on the new Rules at the Regency Hotel, Georgetown. The Seminar was hosted by the Supreme Court of Judicature in collaboration with the Judicial Education Institute of Guyana, to work out the ‘teething issues’ in relation to the application and operationalization of the Rules.
Sir Bryon, in his address to the lawyers, magistrates, judges and other members of the legal fraternity noted that the exercise is a step towards reforming the judicial process in Guyana.
Alluding to the challenges that the legal fraternity may encounter in the transition to the new Rules, Sir Bryon remained confident in the Rules transformative power. “I am convinced that it is informative. It is going to make the administration of justice better,” Sir Bryon said.
The President of the CCJ recommended the establishment of a Standing Rules Committee to interrogate the Rules as they take effect. “An important element of this transition has to be the existence of a Standing Rules Committee who should be reporting to the Chancellor about twice per year with recommendations for improving the Rules,” Sir Bryon said.
Sir Bryon reminded the Bar and Bench that the Rules ultimately should benefit the litigants while at the same time provide a more transparent system “where people know more about how the court is operating.”
Meanwhile, Acting Chancellor of the Judiciary, Justice Carl Singh, in his opening remarks, cautioned that the new Rules will encounter some challenges but appealed for the support of the legal fraternity in its implementation. “This is really an appeal to you, understanding is important because I would be the first to admit that maybe, it will turn out that the rules are not perfect,” Justice Singh said.
The Seminar was facilitated by members from the CCJ and Judiciary of Trinidad and Tobago who outlined some of the issues that Guyana’s legal sector could face in the transition.
The new Civil Procedure Rules have been brought in line with similar rules in the Caribbean. The Rules and legal forms span 187 pages and contain procedures for the settlement of civil matters and make payments both in and out of court. The Rules will also reduce clogging of courts by matters that could be settled.
This is the third round of training for the legal sector on the New Civil Procedure Rules 2016. Last November, Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs, Basil Williams SC, laid New Civil Procedure Rules for the Supreme Court of Judicature in the National Assembly on behalf of the Rules Committee. These new rules will replace the existing rules and are reportedly designed to ensure parties are heard and not unjustly prejudiced.