Attorneys-at-law and legal staff of the Attorney Generals Chambers and the Ministry of Legal Affairs recently attended a two day staff development seminar at the Aruwai Resort geared at improving their efficiency in the use and application of the Supreme Court New Civil procedure rules. The Seminar was facilitated by Ms Martha Des Vignes Course Director of Civil Procedure and Acting Senior Tutor of the Hugh Wooding Law School in Trinidad and Tobago. Ms Des Vignes, explained that as Attorneys we must continue to work towards restoring public confidence in the legal system and this means rethinking how our courts work in fundamental ways.  Ms Desvignes further noted that citizens must be placed at the center of the system. They must be heard, respected, and capable of getting a just result, not just in theory but also in everyday practice. Ms Des Vignes explained that we must begin to rethinking longstanding beliefs about the process for resolving civil cases.

Ms Des Vignes also reminded the Attorneys that the introduction of the rules will now require Attorneys to be more prepared for their the cases before filing as well as their obligation to prevent the abuse of the courts process by filing unmeritorious claims. Ms Des vignes stressed the importance of ensuring the proper computation of time so as to ensure the timely filing of documents as well as ensuring that the overriding objective of the rules are complied with.

Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs Basil Williams SC MP explained that the training was planned so as to ensure that the Attorneys at law and all legal staff will familiar with the rules so as to function effectively. Williams further noted that these seminars will serve as a form of continuous legal education for the staff in the chambers. The Attorney General explained that Guyanese ‘deserve a civil legal process that can fairly and promptly resolve disputes for everyone.  The Honourable Attorney General further noted that it is time for our system to evolve. Our citizens deserve it. Our democracy depends on it. Our legal system must ensure that there is the just, speedy, and inexpensive resolution of civil cases.’

The Rules and legal forms span 187 pages and contain procedures for the settlement of civil matters and to make payments both in and out of court. The introduction of the new rules were intended to ensure there is a reduction in the huge backlog of cases in the courts by simplifying the processes to enable the courts to deal with cases justly and speedily.  These new rules have replaced the old civil procedure rules and are designed to ensure parties are not unjustly prejudiced. These changes have brought the Guyana’s Civil Procedure legislation in line with similar rules in the Caribbean. The intention of introducing these rules is to help to ease the court backlog by easily dispensing with cases without resort to active litigation by utilising pre-trial mechanisms so that matters can easily be settled.



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