With the changing of the administrative and judicial guard in the High Court of Guyana, an opportunity is presented to reflect on the resolutions, expectations for the administration of justice and practice of the law for the year 2016 and onward.
The reflections herein have not been tested for consensus among the colleagues of the writer, but come from some exposure to several in the practice of the law.
For 2016, the expectations are not lowered as suggested by a skit on an old television show entitled “lowered expectations”. In fact, the expectations are cautiously and positively optimistic in the following areas: leadership and following; decisions and substance; and attire and human senses.
LEADERSHIP AND FOLLOWING
In many contexts the most important person to cause a revolution and change has been the first follower. This can be discerned from a YouTube video entitled “leadership lessons from a dancing guy”, worth a Google or a Bing.
In the present context of the administration of justice in Guyana, it is suggested that such a situation does exist. We have a third follower as a female Chief Justice, a follower as a Caribbean trained Chief Justice and another follower with the surname Cummings as Chief Justice.
With the opportunity to create a revolution of change in the legal system in Guyana, there are expectations.
It is interesting that justice is said to be blind. It is reported that a blind man once said to a deaf man who was not exactly listening “we shall see”. As the whole of Guyana continues to wait to see, we in the profession hope to see:
• A reduction in the backlog of matters;
• The continued timely granting of applications in relation to the estates of deceased persons.
• A revised approach to applications for and granting of adjournments.
• The practice as attorneys-at-law and not attorneys-at-fact. Facts should be properly contextualised by counsel and supported by
relevant and applicable law.
• More reading and writing and less talking, additional emissions of hot air add to the current climate challenges facing our country.
DECISIONS AND SUBSTANCE
For those charged with the delivery of justice, there are visions of more written decisions and fewer decisions in writing. For some it may be suggested that the previous sentence is a distinction without a difference, there is, however, a difference. A decision in writing is exactly that: a decision on an issue without the support of reason, precedent or authority. On the other hand, a written decision should build on the fundamentals of law: facts, issues, relevant law, application of the law and conclusions and should also be timely. Further I say not on the subject.
ATTIRE AND HUMAN SENSES.
From those that are charged with the delivery of justice there may less need for the wearing of sunshades in Court. At the outset it must be established that this is not an attack, such as the sun on the follically challenged. There is an old song with the words “life is so bright that I have to wear shades”. It has been observed that the attire, both male and female attorneys-at-law, have drifted away from less sober colours, to bright shirts and ties for the males and other variations for females.
The causal effect demonstrates a direct correlation among senses of sight, speech and hearing. Counsel would be seen, could even be speaking but not heard by the Court. The sights and sounds are so out of place that the hearing of the bench may be impaired. So the conflict is resumed, presence at the bar but in sober colours. However, we should be aware of the subtle revolution of socks by the males. The most recent development, females, finger nails and nail polish. Comment is reserved due to lack of expertise.
So here we are, some of the old, more of the same, the hope for better and a 2:00 am bar curfew. The bar is still open for business but, we shall see.