New High Court rules are leading to speedy trials but delays in producing court orders
– Supreme Court asking for patience and consideration in resolving issue
Not Rehanna Ramsay
Kaieteur News – The introduction of the 2016 Civil Procedure Rule (CPR) or the High Court Rule would have represented the dawn of a new era, for the Supreme Court of Judiciary.
The implementation of the new procedure meant that the High Court had adequate guidelines and mechanisms to facilitate speedy trials, thereby reducing the backlog of cases that were in the system, in some cases for decades.
However, the CPR rules brought a new challenge – delays in the production of Court Orders.
With the courts now churning out hundreds of issues daily and the registries having the sole responsibility under the new CPR to produce the orders, Bar members are struggling with the time it takes for the commands to be generated.
Attorney General (AG) and Legal Affairs Minister Anil Nandlall told Kaieteur News that the new rules have created a barrier in the process for practicing lawyers and their clients.
The AG explained that a court announcement is an official announcement by a judge at trial, appeal or other court proceedings. He therefore emphasized that delays in producing court orders can interfere with the evidential value or weight of a judge’s announcement in a matter.
He noted that this essentially meant that an order could not be considered to take effect, among other things.
The AG suggested that lawyers should revert to the old way of doing things to help push the process forward.
“Under the old system, attorneys would draft the orders themselves and the court signs them which removes the burden from the registry and speeds up the process. I think that if the court returns to this approach, it will ease the difficulty, ”the AG said.
Guyana Bar Association President Teni Housty is among the attorneys who expressed frustration over the delay. He noted that the complaints had been raised at Bar and Bench level.
“The Court is well aware of the difficulty, which we face in this regard and we only hope that some work can be done towards rectifying the problem,” Housty asserted.
The Supreme Court, in response to the inquiries, noted that the administration was aware of the complaints about delays in producing court orders.
As a result, the Court requires patience and ongoing consideration from attorneys and the public as it seeks to resolve this issue of timely recording and issuing of orders for the benefit of all.
In a statement, the Supreme Court explained that, within its limitations, the Registry produces the orders in accordance with the Civil Procedure Rules (CPR) including interim, interlocutory or final, rather than the old system, where lawyers were required to place their orders. with the court.
The Court noted, however, that some solicitors were still producing their orders either on their own initiative or on the court order and sending them by email to the Registry.
“This helps the Registry to produce the orders in a more timely manner. The Registry prioritises orders by urgency. For example, Prohibition Orders fall into this category, ”the Supreme Court said in its statement.
Referring to the process, the Supreme Court noted that in all matters the Judge’s registrar must write the order given as set out in the Judge’s record book on the file flushheet before sending the file to the Registry in order for the command to be typed.
“Once typed, the order will be checked and certified before being signed for entry and publication,” the statement added.
However, the Court explained that in the vast majority of cases multiple orders would be issued in each case.
“The number of orders per day varies depending on the number of issues each Judge determines to hear in a day. Orders are usually received from at least six Judges a day in Demerara, one Judge in Berbice and one Judge in Essequibo, ”the Court explained.
The statement continued, “On average, the court said each judge in Demerara deals with five to 20 issues a day. So on average between 30 and 120 orders a day are placed in Demerara. “
Further, it was explained that some commands were complex while others were simple.
“Sometimes Judges,” said the Court, produce their orders for entry in the Registry. This is especially where time is of the essence or it is a complicated procedure. ”
“The Registries are also responsible for the orders of the Full Court of Appeal, the High Court Appeal Division. Although draft orders are filed in Fixed Date Applications, when the orders are granted, they do not necessarily follow the draft, ”the Court added.
On the other hand, the Court noted that, while the complaints are acknowledged, there are often cases where the orders are ready but counsel does not send to raise them.
“On December 15, 2020, 193 typed and recorded orders are awaiting Counsel or their clerks to come to the registry to pick them up,” the Supreme Court said in the statement.