Several new Magisterial positions added to aid local justice system; New Courts to be constructed

Several new Magisterial positions added to aid local justice system; New Courts to be constructed

by Svetlana Marshall

The 2024 Law Year opened this morning with the launch of a Strategic Plan for the Judiciary, and announcements by the Acting Chancellor of the Judiciary, Justice Yonette Cummings, that a number of new Magisterial positions have been established by the Judicial Service Commission (JSC). 

In her address at the Supreme Court this morning, the Acting Chancellor said after a six-year hiatus, the Judicial Service Commission (JSC) was reconstituted in July 2023, and since then, it has been working to address a number of issues including the appointments of Judicial officers. 

She said the Judicial Service Commission has taken a decision to increase the complement of Magistrates in light of the growing demand for justice. 

“So, we now welcome the posts of Deputy chief magistrate, four additional positions of Principal Magistrate, with one Principal Magistrate being in each district. However, Georgetown will be having two Principal Magistrates. Four additional positions of Senior Magistrates and 10 additional positions of Magistrate. Two additional positions of Commissioners of title,” the Chancellor disclosed. 

A number of the new Magisterial positions have already been advertised, with interviews currently ongoing to fill the positions. According to the Acting Chancellor, the appointments will be made soon.

Additionally, the JSC has taken a decision to establish a new Magisterial District along the East Bank of Demerara corridor to complement the eight Magisterial Districts that have been in existence since 1951. 

Currently, the East Bank of Demerara falls within the Georgetown Magisterial District. 

It was also announced that Magistrate Courts are being constructed in Mahaicony and Cove and John on the East Coast of Demerara as well as in Port Kaituma, Mahdia and Mabaruma.

Acting Chancellor, Justice Yonette Cummings

This year will also see the construction of new Magistrate Courts in Providence on the East Bank of Demerara and Parfaite Harmonie on the West Bank of Demerara. 

And with the extension of the Court of Appeal, there will be simultaneous hearings of civil and criminal matters at the Appellate Court, through the use of an additional Court room. 

The Attorney General Anil Nandlall, while offering Government’s unwavering commitment to the Judiciary, underscored the need for the appointment of a Land Court Judge at Berbice, and for the work of the Appellate Court to extend beyond Demerara. 

“In Berbice, we have not had a Land Court Judge for close to eights, and perhaps, we should consider appointing a sufficient number, that would take care not only, of the present burden but the accrued burden over the years. Respectfully, ask the Judiciary to consider the appointment, when it reaches that stage, of a sufficient number of Court of Appeal Judges that will allow for simultaneous sitting of the Court,” the Attorney General said. 

He submitted that there should also be Courts of Appeal in Berbice and Essequibo, now that the Court of Appeal Act has been amended to increase the number of Appellate Judges. 

The expansion of the Magisterial districts and the creation of additional judicial positions at all levels of the judiciary form a critical part of the Judiciary’s seven-year strategic plan, which is intended to enhance access to justice, modernise the justice system and uphold the highest standard of legal excellence. 

Acting Chief Justice, Roxane George, in her address said the Judiciary is committed to the task, and will execute its mandate in keeping with the theme of the strategic plan “Pursuing Service Excellence through Investment in Human Resources, Management Systems and Technology.”

“In this vein, we have started to add to our staff complement skillsets in management and technology, in order to improve our service delivery. We have continued to enhance our brick-and-mortar plan – renovating existing courts, and constructing new technology ready court houses, some with living quarters across the length and breadth of Guyana including in our cherished Cinderella County of Essequibo,” the Chief Justice explained. 

As part of the move to transform the Judiciary along technological lines, a Magistrate’s Court Case Management System was launched in December 2023, thereby allowing Police officers to file their cases electronically from the Police stations to the Magisterial Districts court offices. 

The Judiciary is also working to implement an E-litigation System for the Court of Appeal and High Court. 

President of the Guyana Bar Association, Ronald Burch-Smith was among officials present at the ceremony to mark the opening of the Law Year.

The January Criminal Assizes was also declared opened. 

You must be logged in to post a comment Login