The State, this morning, withdrew an application filed at the Court of Appeal to have an early hearing of a High Court ruling, which compelled the Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs, Basil Williams to bring the Judicial Review Act (JRA), into effect.
Passed in Parliament in 2010, the JRA makes provision for citizens to challenge actions of public authorities on the grounds that their actions are unlawful, illegal, and capricious, contrary to some written law, ultra vires or violates the rules of natural justice.
Under the Act, the Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs is empowered to issue the publication of an order signed by him in the official Gazette to bring Judicial Review into operation.
However, former Attorney General and PPP Member of Parliament Anil Nandlall had accused Williams of refusing to bring the act into effect, and filed court action to this effect. In fact, Nandlall applied to the High Court for an Order Nisi of Mandamus compelling Williams to bring into operation the Judicial Review Act of 2010.
Both sides presented arguments before Chief Justice (ag) Roxanne George who after careful consideration granted the Order Nisi of Mandamus that was requested by Nandlall and directed the Minister of Legal Affairs to bring the JRA into force by July 31, 2018.
The State subsequently appealed to the ruling. They had also filed an application before the Court of Appeal requesting an early date for hearing. But this morning, Deputy Solicitor General, Debra Kumar filed a Notice of Withdrawal and Discontinuation, in that regard.
Chancellor of the Judiciary (ag) Yonette Cummings-Edwards, Justice of Appeal Dawn Gregory and High Court Judge Brassington Reynolds, who presided, granted the application, and ordered the State to pay cost of $50,000, requested by Attorney-at-Law Rajendra Jaigobin, on behalf of the Applicant.
As it is, the appeal of the High Court’s ruling still stands.
During his address to the court this morning, the Attorney General explained that the reason for withdrawing the application for early hearing was because the President recently, at Parliament, listed the JRA on his legislative agenda.
After the High Court’s ruling, the Attorney General notified by way of the Official Gazette, for the Commencement Order for the Judicial Review Act to come into effect on January 1, 2019. But this was only after the Court of Appeal refused to delay the Chief Justice’s order, through an application filed by the State.