Two attorneys have filed affidavits in defence to the case challenging their appointments as Senior Counsel by former President David Granger.
The case against the appointments was filed by A New and United Guyana (ANUG) Chairman and Attorney-at-law, Timothy Jonas.
In the matter, Jonas is seeking an Order of Certiorari to be directed to the Attorney General to quash the decision by the former President to appoint Attorneys-at-Law Jameela Alli, Roysdale Forde, Mursaline Bacchus, and Stanley Moore as Senior Counsel (S.C).
Jonas is contending that the President, in making the appointments, acted ultra vires or outside the realm of his functions.
During a virtual hearing of the matter yesterday, High Court Justice Nareshwar Harnanan outlined case management directions on how the parties involved in the matter are expected to proceed with filing their written submission.
The Court also granted the requests of the two lawyers, Bacchus and Forde, to be listed as respondents in the matter. The two lawyers also filed affidavits in defence to the Fixed Date Application (FDA) and are expected to file their written submissions by September 28.
The Court gave directions for all parties involved to file their submissions by that date.
Oral arguments in the matter are expected to commence sometime thereafter.
According to the grounds of application drafted by Attorney Teni Housty, Jonas contends that the status of SC is fundamentally important to legal practitioners.
He noted that the appointment of Senior Counsel by the judiciary and the bar at large lies within the inherent discretion of the High Court of the
Supreme Court of Judicature.
The attorney explained that there is no statutory or other power conferred on the President of Guyana whether as President or otherwise, to make any such decision to appoint an attorney-at-law to the dignity of Senior Counsel.
As such, he called the decision by the President to be deemed entirely void and of no effect. Jonas stated further that as the President and a member of the executive, Granger’s decision to appoint Senior Counsel trespasses into the realm of the judiciary and violate Article 122 of the Constitution of Guyana.
The lawyer noted too that the power and discretion to admit persons to practice at the Bar of Guyana, to preside over such persons, to discipline, suspend and disbar such persons is conferred by the provisions of the Legal Practitioners Act and common law on the High Court, the Supreme Court of Judicature of Guyana.Jonas explained that the dignity of SC or its equivalent counterpart, ‘Queen’s Counsel’ (QC), is one which is recognized throughout the Commonwealth as being conferred on practising attorneys-at-law who have sufficiently earned the respect of the Court by the quality of their practice and personal integrity to warrant the honour, and the conferral of such status.
According to the document in support, Jonas was prompted to take legal action after he observed a counsel appearing in the litigation with him in June of this year, whom he believed to be junior, describing himself as ‘Senior Counsel’.
Consequently, Jonas said that he investigated, and discovered that on or around 31st December 2019, the President had communicated to the public via the Ministry of the Presidency his purported decision to confer the four lawyers with the prestigious title.
It is this move that Jonas emphasized that was outside the statutory or other power conferred on the President.
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