Since it became operational approximately one year ago, the Family Court Division has transformed the judicial landscape to cater specifically to the needs of the family.
Within the first six months of operation, 529 matters were filed at the Family Court.
Of those cases, 83 were resolved; 18 were dismissed or withdrawn; 183 are Interim Nisi Orders; 237 are still pending and eight were struck out.
According to Family Court Judge, Sandra Kurtzious, the Unit has seen a significant number of cases resolved, particularly divorce matters.
Justice Kurtzious told Kaieteur News that almost on a daily basis, the Family Court situated in the Georgetown Supreme Court compound, caters to the needs of those seeking relief in issues of divorce, division of property, legal maintenance, custody and guardianship.
Within the first six months divorce proceedings accounted for 92.2 % of the matters filed at the Family Court Division of the Georgetown Supreme Court. The percentage represented 413 cases.
Under the Family Court rules, the Judge stated that a number of divorce issues have been resolved through direct hearings and other conflict resolution mechanisms.
She said that under personalised rules the Family Court Division provides a balanced setting for these issues to be adequately aired out.
The rules which govern the court allows for efficient case management practices to ensure that matters which deserve the attention of the courts receive the necessary attention resulting in the timely resolution of such matters.
Clause 2.6(1) of the rules states that the court may deal with a case at any place that it considers appropriate.
“This is applicable even to children involved in a family dispute. The rules are sensitive and try to remain applicable to different situations and facts which may arise from each particular case brought before the bench.”
Additionally, the Judge pointed out that the court seeks to promote the overriding objective of ensuring that parties are on equal footing and not prejudiced by financial positions.
“It is to also encourage settlement of any dispute through negotiation, mediation or other means of alternative dispute resolution.”
Since its establishment, the division has been outfitted with a Childcare and Protection Officer; personnel who can assist persons with walk in procedures and a childcare room and staff.
The court currently has a full complement of staff, a Registry and is operated under selected Judges.
The infrastructure to accommodate the Family Court Division was completed under the previous administration.
The idea towards this specific project was spawned during the time of the PPP administration by the then Social Services Minister, Priya Manickchand.
During her tenure, Manickchand had posited that the court was necessary after observations were made that Guyanese families were suffering from societal demoralisation.
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