‘No agency is above the law’ – Attorney General lamented

A topic of constant discussion and complaint throughout the country has been the slow pace of written decisions being handed down by the judiciary ─ an issue that is also a matter of concern for the government.

Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs, Mohabir Anil Nandlall, SC, during his weekly televised programme ‘Issues in the News’ Tuesday evening, lamented the delays, recognising that this has been a chronic problem locally.

Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs, Mohabir Anil Nandlall SC

Minister Nandlall brought up the topic amidst reports emanating from Barbados that state that formal complaints have been lodged against certain judges over their delay in delivering decisions within the time specified by the nation’s constitution.

Like Barbados, Guyana has a Time Limit for Judicial Decisions Act of 2009, which specifies a period within which a judge shall give a decision in a civil case and any appeal case and for connected matters.

“This law … has been passed nearly 15 years now and it’s not being complied with. Now, I know there has been [a] shortage of judges and there have been many issues affecting the judiciary. But there is a law and this law must be complied with,” the senior council expressed. 

Minister Nandlall further underscored that the judiciary, like every other arm of the state and citizens, is expected to uphold and obey the laws enshrined within Guyana’s constitution.

“Every agency of state is enjoined to obey the law. No agency is above the law. That is the essence of what we call the rule of law,” the Attorney General expressed.

He alluded to the provisions contained in the constitution, which provides a mechanism for the removal of a judge from office when a judge does not comply with the time limit.

This provision is found in Article 197 (3) of the Constitution, which states that a Judge may be removed from office for, among other reasons, persistently failing to give written or oral decisions and reasons for the decisions within the time specified in this act.

“Like Barbados, Guyana has a Bar Association, we’re going to have more judges appointed and there will be an expectation that the law in relation to the writing of decisions within the prescribed time, will be obeyed,” the Attorney General added.

To read more about the Time Limit for Judicial Decisions Act of 2009, you can visit the link at: https://www.parliament.gov.gy/publications/acts-of-parliament/time-limit-for-judicial-decisions-act-2009

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