To ensure that proper legal services are provided to the Government; to provide statutory services to the public relating to the public trust and bankruptcy matters; and to register titles, mortgages, companies, societies and other bodies as well as other documents, as required by the law.
The Stabroek News article captioned Chair of Bid Protest Committee response from Renee McDonald.
The European Union’s visiting Delegation on the Abolition of the Death Penalty
The European Union’s visiting Delegation on the Abolition of the Death Penalty, Dr. Ivan Simonovic, United Nations Assistant Secretary General on Human Rights; Justice Navi Pillay, Former United Nations Commissioner on Human Rights; Professor Marc Bossuyt, Emeritus Judge Constitutional Court of Belguim and Derek Lambe, Head of Mission of European Union paid courtesy call on the Hon. Basil Williams Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs at his office on Tuesday July 19, 2016
Hague Conference…All family matters must be addressed in Family Court – Commonwealth Rep
July 18, 2016 Government, Ministry of Legal Affairs, News
Georgetown, GINA, July 18, 2016
The family law court jurisdiction should address all family matters and reduce the backlog of cases at the Magistrates’ Courts and reduce the number of young people being sent to jail.
Justice Abdullahi Zuru of the Commonwealth Secretariat implored the Hague Conference on Private and International Law (HCCH) to consider “reworking” Article 2 of the Choice of Courts Convention to “see how we can assist and protect children.”
A major focus of the regional conference was on international family law particularly the promotion of human rights. The first day sessions reviewed the convention on the protection of the child.
Justice Abdullahi Zuru from the Commonwealth Secretariat
The two-day meeting was held at the Pegasus Hotel, Georgetown. Justice Zuru said that all the discussion of the protection of the child focused on civil and private international law, but, the state has an equally important role to play in children’s protection.
Justice Zuru lamented the trying of juvenile cases in the Magistrate’s Court and opinioned that the recently opened Family Court should have jurisdiction to hear all family matters.
“Day in, day out, you see that juvenile young boys, young girls…involved in crime and they are taken to magistrate’s court and sometimes the magistrate’s court…at the end of the proceeding…those innocent persons are sent to prison,” Justice Zuru explained. He added that the young people are often times “hardened” by their next court hearing.
Justice Zuru who is based in Guyana, noted that the trying of juvenile criminal matters at the Family Court would also see a reduction in the backlog of cases at the Magistrate’s Court.
Justice Roxanne George, High Court Judge of Guyana
“Is it not our responsibility to think of protecting a child from this angle?” Justice Zuru questioned.
However, Latin American Representative of the HCCH, Ignacio Goicoechea pointed out that the scope of the Hague Conventions deals primarily with private international law that are a civil or commercial matter and does not try to “harmonise substantive laws”. “So juvenile justice is outside our scope and we cannot help you. We have to admit that the Hague Conference is not the panacea that will solve all the matters,” Goicoechea said.
It was also pointed out by Guyanese Justice Roxanne George that the Family Court is a high court jurisdiction. “In the context of Guyana, whilst we will be very happy to have the Magistrate’s court being included along with it as is the case of Trinidad, we’ve discussed and we know because of the size of Guyana…it’s just about impossible to have the family matters all come into a high court jurisdiction,” Justice George explained.
Justice George noted that these are “serious access to justice issues” that the country is facing, “and so things like maintenance and so on which are closer to home, the enforcement mechanism in the magistrate’s court is easier and more manageable for litigants.”
Choice of Court Convention could lead to reduction in civil cases locally – Commonwealth Secretariat Rep at Hague Conference
July 17, 2016 Government, Ministry of Legal Affairs, News
Georgetown, GINA, July 17, 2016
Guyana could see a reduction in the volume of civil cases before the local courts if it becomes a signatory to the Hague’s Choice of Court Convention.
Justice Abdullahi Zuru of the Commonwealth Secretariat on the last day of the regional Hague Conference hosted by Guyana, stated that by signing onto the convention, “local firms in Guyana can engage in business arrangements with international firms.”
The Choice of Court Convention basically seeks to promote international commercial transactions by encouraging judicial cooperation and the recognition and enforcement of judgement.
“In the event of any dispute arising in an area not listed under Article 2 (of the convention), the matter will be settled by the choice of Court Agreement which is in place between the parties. To a considerable extent, this has the potential to reduce the volume of cases before the civil division of our local courts,” Zuru explained.
However, Zuru cautioned that singing onto any international convention, treatment of agreement has no force unless it goes through the process of legislative drafting, law revision and reform.
Acknowledging the work of the Attorney General Chambers, Justice Zuru praised Guyana’s Attorney General, Basil Williams for his efforts to revise the laws through the establishment of the law reform commission.
“So we hope that when the law reform commission takes off and the Guyana government takes off, their singular responsibility of the law reform commission (would be) to fully get yourself involved in having to commence the process of getting these treaties on board,” Justice Zuru said.
Meanwhile, the other presenter on the Choice of Court Convention, Professor at the University of the West Indies Calvin Hamilton asked the delegates to consider signing onto the convention as a regional block.
“With respect to what this means for the Caribbean, we’ve got the possibility of either acceding to the convention individually as states or we can do as the European Union did, as a regional economic integrated organisation,” Professor Hamilton explained.
The Professor further challenged the Caribbean delegates to contemplate “our appellate jurisdiction versus original jurisdiction and complexities that are present.”
The Professor said, “Will it behove us, will it make sense to consider that matters dealing with litigation arising from the validity of the choice of agreement clause…should be managed by one court and which court will that be? I would pause at the CCJ (Caribbean Court of Justice).”
Professor Hamilton recognised however, that this may entail internal adjustments and treaty adjustments. “One of the things that it will do is it harmonises jurisprudence particularly at a time where we need to harmonise jurisprudence,” opined Hamilton.
This sentiment of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) signing onto the convention as a regional body was echoed by Justice Zuru.
However, CARICOM representative Sandra Bart noted, “Our system is not like the EU so even though the heads of governments would have endorsed a particular treaty, each member state individually does the accession, ratification and so on.”
Professor Hamilton pointed out that the EU has the mandate to negotiate on behalf of its members. Similarly, CARICOM would need such a mandate which would be advantageous in coordinating a regional response to the Hague Conventions.