Attorney at law, Anil Nandlall has filed a Contempt of Court motion against the Attorney General, Basil Williams over his failure to operationalise the Judicial Review Act, (JRA).
The JRA is an area of public law which is designed to specifically assist members of the public in challenging acts committed against them by officials by State officials including Government Ministers.
The Act was passed in 2010 but was scheduled to be enacted after the new High Court rules /Civil Procedure Rules, (CPR) were in place. The new High Court rules came into being in 2017 and the Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs Basil Williams was tasked with bringing the Act into effect by publishing an order signed by him in the Official Gazette.
However, Williams has been accused of pussyfooting on the matter. He has since faced a series of court actions, one which resulted in an order by the Chief Justice to enact the JRA by July 31, last.
However despite rulings by both the Supreme Court and Court of Appeal in favour of operationalising the JRA, the AG has opted to hold consultations on the matter As a result, Nandlall, an Executive member of the PPP and a former AG, has filed a contempt of court motion against the Minister
In his application, Nandlall has requested an order of the Court committing the Attorney General to Georgetown Prisons, Camp Street, Georgetown for such period and terms and conditions for failing to bring the Judicial Review Act into force on or before the 31st day of July, 2018, as ordered by Chief Justice Roxane George.
In her ruling in May, Chief Justice George noted that the JRA contained the procedures by which remedies can be accessed under the Act; one is a complement to the other.
Justice George took into consideration information gathered from Hansard, (records of Parliament) which evidenced the fact that the JRA was unanimously passed by the House and was endorsed by the applicant (Nandlall) and the respondent (Williams) in the House.
Further, the Judge took into consideration Williams’s submission that the Court would be breaching the separation of powers doctrine if it were to mingle in legislative and executive affairs.
Justice George made it clear that the JRA had been assented to already which meant it had passed the stage of the legislative arm. She noted, too, that in a situation where the Minister failed to perform his duty, the Court is empowered to compel the said Minister to do so.
The Court cited a number of legal authorities to support the conclusions reached.
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