With the Justice System facing an increasing number of cases, Acting Chief Justice Roxane George, is urging citizens to consider the use of Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) more.
At the opening of Law Year 2024 on Tuesday, Justice George said Attorneys should advise their clients to explore Alternative Dispute Resolution, explaining that ADR is any procedure, agreed to by the parties of a dispute, in which they use the services of a neutral party to assist them in reaching an agreement, and avoiding litigation.
“We remain an extremely litigious society especially in the civil jurisdiction. So, I urge our Bar, especially the Demerara Bar, to persuade their clients to focus on Alternative Dispute Resolution, to be more opened to mediation, and settlement of cases, thereby allowing for the timelier disposition of matters,” Chief Justice George said.
According to the Acting Chief Justice, Alternative Dispute Resolution is the only way to bring down the high number of cases currently before the Courts.
“Settlement of cases is the only way to manage the high volume of matters. So, I urge, let 2024 result in greater settlement of cases, more so, through the court mediation services,” she urged.
She noted that in 2023, the Supreme Court sponsored a number of mediation training sessions for its staff and other justice sector partners.
The President of the Guyana Bar Association, Attorney Ronald Burch-Smith in his remarks, said that there should be consequences for the filing of cases that have no place in the Courts.
“One of the greatest impediments to our efficient judicial system is the number of cases that are filed by attorneys. There is no way under ideal circumstances and with all of the resources that could be reasonably be made available that we can reasonably expect that the judges can dispatch with all of those cases effectively. The number has to be reduced. The only way in which that can be done is if there are consequences for attorneys persisting in cases that don’t belong in court,” the Bar Association President said.
To ease the backlog of cases, the Government is moving to put an end to Preliminary Inquiries (PI) in the case of criminal cases. Other measures are also being explored. The Judicial Service Commission recently agreed to increasing the number of Magistrates in the system.