Nandlall warns of contempt of court proceedings against AG

first_img– owed over $2M for cases won Former Attorney General Anil Nandlall has warned that contempt of court proceedings will be filed against his successor, Basil Williams, even as the Judicial Review Act continues to languish despite a court order.Nandlall made this pronouncement in his recent writings, in which he slammed Williams for dragging his feet to implement a law that would give ordinary citizens the power to review court rulings against them.AG Basil Williams“That in 2018, the AG is resisting the implementation of a modern Judicial Review Act, unanimously passed by our Parliament since 2010, is an outstanding testimony to the authoritarian mentality of (the) entire Government. Hitherto the Act, Guyana’s judicial review law and procedure is over a century old. The prerogative writs procedure, which still obtains in Guyana, was abolished in England before World War II and replaced with a Judicial Review Act.”Chief Justice (ag) Roxane George“It is common knowledge that I wrote the AG to bring the Act into force when the Civil Procedure Rules were promulgated. He refused. The Guyana Bar Association’s similar request was also refused. The Guyana Bar Association’s similar request was also refused. In my own name, I launched proceedings compelling the AG to bring the Act into force. Rather than complying, he defended the proceedings.”The former AG also noted that the Judicial Review Act would allow for compensation to be paid to persons. And Nandlall made it clear that the AG’s appeal of the ruling forcing him to implement the Act does not give Government the right to drag its foot on the matter.“While the application for the stay of execution is dismissed, the appeal remains pending. However an appeal does not operate as a stay of the judgement appealed against. And if the violation continues, contempt of court proceedings will be launched,” Nandlall warned.Besides this, Nandlall reminded that the court’s 15-page ruling had awarded costs against the Attorney General in the sum of $150,000. According to Nandlall, this brings the sum the AG’s Chambers owes his office in excess of $2 million in court awarded costs for cases he won and Williams lost.In Chief Justice (ag) Roxane George’s ruling in June, she had 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 Anil Nandlall.In its response to the ruling, the Bar Association had said 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 Caribbean Court of Justice’s (CCJ) ruling in the case of the Medical Council of Guyana vs Jose Ocampo Trueba, CCJ Appeal No 2018/001, where the Honourable Court declared that prerogative remedies were no longer available in Guyana,” a statement from the Council had detailed.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 Legal Affairs Minister Basil Williams 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 assented to by then President Bharrat Jagdeo in 2010. However, it was never operationalised.Last year, Nandlall moved to the court to have the following issues addressed: a) Whether the Minister had discretion to bring into force the Judicial Review Act after the promulgation of Civil Procedure Rules; b) Whether the Minister had a duty to issue the order to bring into force the JRA; 3) and whether the 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 Attorney General 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 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 appealed the High Court decision.last_img

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