17 new judges to join judiciary – AG Nandlall

Within the next three months, Guyana’s judiciary will receive a much-needed boost with the addition of 17 judges, effectively addressing the heavy backlog of cases.

This announcement was made by the Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs, Mohabir Anil Nandlall, SC, during Tuesday’s edition of Issues in the News.  

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

He outlined various measures being implemented to enhance the judiciary, including a substantial increase in judges.

Minister Nandlall pointed to the recently assented Court of Appeal legislation, which aligns with the government’s aim of increasing the complement of judges. The act allows for the number of appellate court judges to be increased from five to nine.

Since then, and with the swearing-in of the Judicial Service Commission, the number of judges in the courts continues to increase.

In April, three new Commissioners of Title, who will be posted to serve in the Land Courts at Berbice, Region Six, and Suddie, Region Two were sworn in.

Additionally, 12 new judges were appointed and are set to be sworn in shortly.

“So, you have 12, the largest complement of judges ever added to an existing status of judges…And then we have about five more who are likely to be appointed at the Court of Appeal. So, in three months, you will have 17 additional judges. That must have a monumental impact on efficiency and speed in the judicial system,” the legal affairs minister underscored.

Meanwhile, Minister Nandlall highlighted several other significant measures to improve efficiency.

He pointed to the introduction of automatic voice recording systems, which replaced manual note-taking, freeing up judges and magistrates.

The system was first implemented in the High Court, and today, it is widely used across the judicial system.

The AG also pointed to the electronic filing system, which has helped to streamline court processes.

These systems were also put at the prison centres to avoid having to tow prisoners from the facility to the courts. 

“Normally, you have trucks trucking prisoners from the various prison centres to the courts. So, you had trucks from Camp Street prisons to Georgetown Magistrates Court…New Amsterdam prisons to the various courts in Berbice, [and] Timehri to the various courts in East Bank. We now have containerised e-courts at each of those locations,” the attorney general explained.

He added that this method saves millions of dollars, and removes the need for additional security measures that would have had to be expended in previous instances.

These measures address a long-recognised issue of slow case processing within the court system.

The AG emphasised that these are just the beginning, and Guyana can expect further improvements in the coming months.