Attorney General (AG) and Minister of Legal Affairs, Anil Nandlall, has filed an affidavit in support of former President David Granger’s appointment of four senior counsel.
The document, which was filed earlier this week, outlined the AG’s position in the case brought against the State by Attorney -at- law and Chairman of A New and United Guyana (ANUG), Timothy Jonas.
In the Fixed Date Application (FDA) filed in the High Court, Jonas requested an order of certiorari directed to the Attorney General, as the legal custodian of the State, to quash the appointments made by the former President on December 31, 2019 of Attorneys, Jameela Alli, Roysdale Forde, Mursaline Bacchus, and Stanley Moore as Senior Counsel (S.C).
Among other things, Jonas called for the decision by the President to be deemed entirely void and of no legal effect by the Court.
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 (A) of the Constitution of Guyana which expresses the doctrine of the separation of powers.
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.He explained further 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 practicing 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.
However, according to the document filed in response to the challenge, the AG said that he denies the allegations contained in the application filed by the lawyer.
Nandlall noted that while, some of the issues outlined in Jonas’ application may bear some veracity, I do not embrace compendiously and comprehensively all the virtues, qualifications, advantages and privileges and status which the conferral of the dignity of silk accords.
Additionally, while the AG accepts the evidence which points to publications in the press that Granger appointed the four attorneys as Senior Counsel, he expressed his disagreement with the position that the President is not conferred the statutory or other powers to appoint the attorneys as Senior Counsel and therefore his decision should be declared void and no legal effect.
Further, the AG disagrees with the notion that the President, as a member of the Executive, purportedly made a decision in the inherent jurisdiction of the High Court which essentially violates Article 122 of the Constitution.
Meanwhile, two attorneys, Forde and Bacchus, have also filed their defence in response to Jonas. During a virtual hearing of the matter on Tuesday, High Court Justice Nareshwar Harnanan granted the requests of the two lawyers, to be listed as respondents in the matter
Among other things, Forde in his affidavit contends that the Full Court by convention and practice judicially recognises the appointment of attorneys-at Law by the President to the dignity of Senior Counsel, by admitting such attorneys-at-Law to the “Inner Bar”, which is quite similar to the judicial practice and convention whereby there are sittings of the Full Court of the High Court to honour and recognize the contribution to the Bar made by deceased attorneys-at-law.
In the meantime, the Court has since instructed Forde and all other parties involved to file their written submissions in the matter by October 28. Oral arguments in the matter are expected to commence sometime thereafter.
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