Bar Council lauds ruling enforcing Judicial Review Act

The Bar Council of the Bar Association of Guyana welcomes the recent High Court ruling that compels Attorney General Basil Williams to implement the Judicial Review Act. The Council deems it a move which fills a lacuna in the new Civil Procedure Rule 2016.
Chief Justice (ag) Roxane George on Monday ordered the AG to enforce the Judicial Review Act (JRA) by July 31, 2018 when she ruled on the legal action brought against the State by former Attorney General and Legal Affairs Minister, Anil Nandlall.
According to the Bar Council on Thursday, the implementation of the Act remedies a lacuna in the new Civil Procedure Rules of 2016, which contain procedures contemplating remedies under the Act.
“In the absence of this Act, litigation in this vital area of the law has been stymied and fraught with a number of procedural hurdles, some of which were laid bare in the recent CCJ’s ruling in the case of The Medical Council of Guyana v Jose OcampoTrueba, CCJ Appeal No. 2018/001, where the Honourable Court declared that prerogative remedies were no longer available in Guyana,” a statement from the Council details.
The legal body further outlined that it had previously raised the matter of the implementation of the Act at a meeting with Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs, Basil Williams, S.C., during a July 22, 2017 meeting, and then again by way of letter dated November 15, 2017 requesting the urgent implementation of the Judicial Review Act.
“The implementation of the Judicial Review Act is of vital importance to good public administration in a democratic society, allowing citizens ample remedies against the State, and levelling the playing field. The Bar Council looks forward to the speedy implementation of the Act,” the statement noted.
The National Assembly had passed the Bill, and it was assent to by then President Bharrat Jagdeo in 2010. However, it was never operationalised.
Last year, Attorney Anil Nandlall moved to the court to have the following issues addressed: 1. Whether the Minister had discretion to bring into force the Judicial Review Act after the promulgation of Civil Procedure Rules. 2. Whether the Minister had a duty to issue the order to bring into force the JRA. 3. Whether the Honourable Court can compel the Minister to fulfil his duty.
In December 2017, Chief Justice George had granted an Order Rue Nisi of Mandamus, directing the AG to show cause why the said Order Nisi should not be made absolute.
After reviewing all the affidavits files by both sides, and legal arguments, Chief Justice George on Monday made the Order Rule Nisi absolute, and directed the Legal Affairs Minister to bring the Judicial Review Act into force.
The Court also ordered Williams to pay to the applicant $100,000 in costs.
AG Williams has since indicated that the State would be appealing the High Court decision.