– but Nandlall says Williams still in breach of Court Order
Attorney General, (AG) and Minister of Legal Affairs, Basil Williams has published in an extraordinary edition of the Official Gazette, for the Commencement Order for the Judicial Review Act to come into effect on January 1, 2019.
However, Attorney- at-Law Anil Nandlall is of the view that the AG’s action is still not in keeping with the Order of the Court which states that the Act should be made effective by July 31, 2018.
The order was passed by Chief Justice (CJ) (Ag) Roxane George’s at the High Court in May but the AG had appealed the decision by filing an application in the Appeal Court to put a hold on the Order.
After the Court of Appeal refused to delay the CJ’s order, the AG issued a publication in the official Gazette that JRA will come into effect on January 1, 2019.
However, Nandlall says the publication and decree clearly represents Williams’ blatant disobedience of the Court Order.
Nandlall a former Attorney General and Executive member of the main political opposition, PPP/C accused Williams of deliberately subverting, frustrating and making a mockery of it.
“Only the AG himself can explain why he is engaging in this self-induced torment. I remain absolutely flummoxed at what he intends to gain by these unwarranted and untutored shenanigans.
“In my considered view, the clear intention of Chief Justice George’s Order is for the AG to have operationalised the Judicial Review Act by July 31, 2018, latest; not January 1 , 2019.
“Clearly, the AG continues his blatant disobedience of this Order and is deliberately subverting, frustrating and making a mockery of it,” Nandlall added.
Last Week, Nandlall filed the Contempt of Court proceedings against Williams’ over his failure to act on the Orders of the Court.
“I have placed the matter entirely in the hands of the Judiciary. Therefore, it is now a matter for the Judiciary to institutionally determine whether it will condone such flagrant violation for and utter disrespect of, its own Order and process.
“Nothing saps public confidence in a judicial system faster than its demonstrable inability to enforce its own orders.”
In the Contempt of Court motion, filed on Friday, the former AG 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 of July, 2018, as ordered by Chief Justice Roxane George.
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 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.
Williams has been accused of being slothful 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.
Both the Supreme Court and Court of Appeal ruled in favour of operationalising the JRA.
But the AG had opted to hold consultations on the matter. As a result, Nandlall, filed a contempt of court motion against the Minister
In her ruling, 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’ 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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