[www.inewsguyana.com] – Attorney General Anil Nandlall has said that even with all the work that is being done to reduce the backlog of cases in the judicial system and to increase speed at which the system functions, the reality is that the volume of litigation simply cannot be dealt with, particularly with the speed that persons would like it to see it dealt with.
He was at the time speaking at the commissioning of a new mediation center in Berbice (located in the compound of the New Amsterdam High Court) where luminaries from the legal profession, including Chancellor of the Judiciary (ag), Justice Carl Singh, were present.
“I don’t know of any country that has successfully challenged, successfully overcome that, so sloth in the Judiciary system will be with us for a very long time and if it is, that you want to remain in the Judicial system for a very long time, then that’s your right but if you want a quick resolution to your dispute, then I would humbly advise, that you seek mechanisms which are alternative to the Judicial system and this facility presents you with one of those alternatives,” Nandall told those gathered.
The center was the brain child of Chancellor Singh who reiterated that the Berbicians were known for using Alternative Dispute Resolutions (ADR) such as mediation as a viable option to resolving disputes. It was against that backdrop that a mediation center was installed in Berbice.
AG Nandlall explained that the realisation of the mediation center in Berbice was an executive commitment from the government, to make resources available to the judiciary so that it can chart a course of administering justice fairly, competently and efficiently.
The AG stated that the tradition at the Berbice Bar was to settle matters utilising the ADR mechanisms such as mediation, so the opening of the building only marks the formal introduction of mediation in Berbice.
According to the AG Nandlall no one can dispute the benefits and values which accrue from mediation. He asserted that in the Caribbean, mediation is formally rooted in the legal system of almost every country.
He continued that lawyers “will be the persons who will be the driving force of the mediation process that will be accommodated at this facility and to the litigants, the process of mediation requires your input.”
The AG recalled that at one point in time mediation was solely a voluntary process, but asserted that the law as of recent has been modified slightly, to empower judges to order parties to mediation in the appropriate cases. He did say however, that “the fundamental truth is that mediation largely remains a process that is litigant driven, so while the legal profession will advise you and counsel you to go to mediation, ultimately the decision will be yours whether that process will be successful.”
[Extracted and modified from GINA]