– JSC interviewing prospective judges
Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs Anil Nandlall has announced that two contracts have been awarded for the provision of necessary furnishings for the newly constructed Family Court.
Nandlall made the announcement while responding to a question posed by APNU’s member Volda Lawrence.
According to the Nandlall, the other aspects required for the operationalisation of the court, such as staffing and presiding judges are matters that have to be addressed at the levels of the judiciary and the Judicial Service Commission (JSC).
In terms of staffing, the Minister noted said that a process has been activated between the Registrar of the Supreme Court and the Public Service Ministry for the creation of new posts for persons who will be serving in the Family Court.
He said that the process is ongoing; vacancies are being created and persons are being shortlisted for interviews.
The responsibility of the appointment of judges does not fall under the ambit of Central Government but rather with the JSC, and according to Nandlall that body is already in the process of interviewing prospective candidates.
Moreover, the Judiciary is responsible for identifying the date and time frame for cases to be heard.
Nandlall noted that in making the court operational, an important prerequisite is the completion of the Family Court rules. That, he said, has also been completed and transmitted to the Clerk of the National Assembly to comply with the formal requirements of gazetting and would be subsequently laid in the House.
Nandlall had stated that the Family Court will help agencies such as the Child Care and Protection Agency to function more efficiently. It will allow adults and children to seek redress and for family law issues such as divorce, division of property, domestic disputes, adoption, guardianship and custody to be discussed in a specialised manner.
According to the Minister, he has no doubt that having a specialized court to deal exclusively with family and children-related matters would be a tremendous boost for the entire justice system.
“With a specialized court, it would certainly bring speed to the resolutions of family-related disputes, which, unless they are resolved quickly, normally have devastating consequences on the lives of the persons involved, especially the children, which could cause social problems that pervade our society, including crime.”
Nandlall said that in recognition of the importance of having a speedy resolution of these cases, the Executive, in conjunction with the Judiciary, decided to establish the court.
Additionally, he noted, in the Ninth Parliament, the administration passed legislation to modernize the statutory landscape in Guyana with regards to children. These include the new Adoption Act, the Custody Act and the Guardianship Act.
Former Minister of Human Services and Social Security, Priya Manickchand, had said that the initiative of a Family Court was prompted by the awareness that the family unit is severely affected by societal demoralization. In early 2009, Cabinet granted a two-fold approval to establish the court and erect a structure in the compound of the Supreme Court where the entity would be housed.
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