Chief Justice Roxanne George-Wiltshire granted an Order Nisi of Mandamus compelling Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs, Basil Williams, to bring into operation the Judicial Review Act of 2010.
Judicial Review is that area of the law which allows for a citizen who aggrieved by the act or omission of any public officer, including ministers of government, any public authority or any statutory tribunal to challenge them on the grounds that actions are unlawful/illegal/contrary to some written law.
The Act guards against abuse of power. Under the act, a special authority resides with the High Court to review the act or omission complained against and to strike it down or to compel the performance of a public or statutory duty in the face of a refusal or neglect to do so.
Attorney at law, Anil Nandlall has sought the orders of the Court to have the law operational.
Based on the application, the AG has been ordered to show cause why the order of Nisi of Mandamus should not be made absolute.
In documents to support his application, Nandlall explained that as a former Attorney-General and Minister of Legal Affairs, he is aware of the reason the Act was not brought into operation.
“The Act was not previously brought into operation by former Ministers of Legal Affairs, including myself, because there were no complementary procedural rules of court to accompany it the rules of the High Court 1955 made no provisions for judicial review.
At that time, new Civil Procedure Rules were in draft form and these rules laid out the legal procedure in respect of how the Court can be approached to access the remedies provided for in the Judicial Review Act.”
However, with the implementation of the new Civil Procedure Rule, Nandlall says steps should be taken to bring the rules into operation.
He noted that to date, the subject Minister, the Minister of Legal Affairs, has failed, refused or neglected to bring the Judicial Review Act into operation, despite being requested to do so.
As a result, although the new Civil Procedure Rules provide for it, judicial review is not available to a litigant in Guyana.
The Guyana Bar Council has indicated to the Court its intention to join in the proceedings which is set to continue January 29, 2018, at 3 pm.
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