Gov’t taking modern approach to Justice Sector reform – Attorney General

Government is taking a modern approach to delivering justice as part of its efforts to reform the justice sector.

This was on Wednesday reiterated by Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs, Anil Nandlall, SC, during his address at the commissioning of the new Vigilance Magistrates’ Court.

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

“We are moving in the direction where we believe that custodial sentences should be reserved only for the very violent and serious offences, we can make greater use of our human resources and we can rehabilitate and reform them in a more efficient and economical way other than by locking them away in prison centres across the country,” he asserted.

The Restorative Justice bill was passed in the National Assembly in November of 2022.

Restorative justice in its various forms, involves the victim, the offender, and the community, and its main objective is to repair the harm caused by the offence.

“Pieces of legislation like the Extra Murial Work act will be repealed and replaced by a modern substitute, and that will allow magistrates the facility and discretion to have at your disposal a repertoire of penal sanctions alternative to custodial sentences,” he noted.

The AG said restorative justice will be a permanent feature in magistrates’ courts across the country.

“This magistrate court also is part of a pilot project currently being executed by the Director of Restorative Justice. You will know that restorative justice is now a formal part of our legal system, we have an act of parliament that establishes it, there is a director and we have started right here on the East Coast of Demerara, cradling the Vigilance Magistrates’ Court on the eastern side and the Sparendaam Magistrates’ Court on the western side.”

Once successful, this pilot project will be expanded to different parts of the country.