At least 570 court matters have been disposed of by way of mechanism under the new Civil Procedure Rules of 2017.
According to information recently obtained by this newspaper through the implementation of mechanisms such as the Fixed Date Applications, (FDAs), and Statement of Claim (SoC) matters filed under the new system have been expedited.
During a recent address, Chancellor of the Judiciary, Justice Yonette Cummings- Edwards, noted that the new Civil Procedures Rules 2017 and Family Proceeding and Procedure Rules 2016 have brought Guyana into the era of case management.
Justice Cummings-Edwards noted that direction hearings which at their core are designed to eliminate the steps that are associated with delays and to make judges, the drivers of pace of litigation.
“The new civil procedure rules entails faster disposal of cases. The time line for first hearing of a case is now set between 2 and 28 days.
This is the context in which we must view the new structures which have been added to the juridical landscape of the High Court. This demonstrates our commitment to the overall improvement of the administration in the High Court,” she said
Since the new Rules have been implemented, within the last five months, 1,258 cases were filed. Of matters filed, over 1000 cases were filed by way of FDAs and 200 cases via SoCs. The matters include constitutional, commercial and other civil disputes.
Under FDA method, in accordance with the rules, the court is guided by a timeline to lay out a schedule to have matters heard within days after it is sought.
When a proceeding is to be commenced by way of an FDA, the applicant (person applying to the court) must attach an affidavit of all of the evidence upon which he/she relies, and attach a draft of the order that the Applicant seeks to have the Court make.
According to the rules, where the FDA is made without notice, it need not be served and the Registry must schedule it to be heard within four days of being issued. In the cases of urgent FDAs made on notice, the Registry must schedule it to be heard within seven days of being issued and the application must be served at least four days before the date scheduled for the hearing.”
In any other case, the Registry must schedule it to be heard within 28 days of being issued and the application must be served at least seven days before the date scheduled for the hearing, unless these Rules, a Practice Direction or the Court, otherwise permit.
Additionally at the hearing of a FDA, the Court must proceed to determine the application based on the evidence before it; or if there is insufficient evidence to determine the application on its merits, dismiss the application; or otherwise proceed as if the FDA was commenced by way of Statement of Claim and conduct the hearing as a first Case Management Conference.
According to the CPR 2016, at the hearing of the FDA, in addition to any other powers that the Court may have, the Court may award costs.
The new Civil Procedure Rules (CPR) was brought on stream earlier this year. Laid in the National Assembly in November last, they replaced Guyana’s existing rules, which date back to 1955. The changes have brought the new rules in line with similar systems utilised in the Caribbean.
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