All matters pending in the High Courts as well as the opening of the criminal assizes across all three counties–Demerara, Essequibo and Berbice–have been postponed for at least one month . These are among some of the stringent measures implemented by the judiciary as it safeguards against the novel Coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

“Subject to the decision of the hearing judge, all pending matters in the High Courts in all three Counties are adjourned for at least one month to a date on or after 20th April, 2020. Only urgent matters/cases will be heard by the High Courts. The designated hearing judge will make the determination on the urgency of the matter,” the Office of the Chancellor of the Judiciary revealed today.

“The opening of the Demerara Criminal Assizes for April will be postponed for one month. The Berbice and Essequibo Criminal Assizes are also suspended for a month. Thereafter the circumstances will be reviewed on the basis of the prevailing situation. Jurors will be advised via the media when they would be required to attend court,” the office said.

With the exception of maintenance, domestic violence and related matters all other cases in the Magistrates’ Courts will be refixed to 20th April, 2020. Magistrates will be operating on a roster basis, sitting one day per week in each district.

In a missive released today, the judiciary said that where persons are in custody their matters will be heard or bail considered. Persons on bail are being asked to check for the adjourned or new court date at the court district office for the court where your matter is being tried.

A notice has been issued with telephone contact information for the magistrates’ courts in each district. According to the statement, where cases or hearings have been adjourned for the one month period but an urgent situation arises in a case, an application must be made by letter, with reasons, to the Chief
Justice or Chief Magistrate as the case may be, for consideration of an earlier hearing.

“Where trials or urgent hearings are considered necessary, these will be curtailed to the minimum period of time necessary. Written submissions/speaking points and addresses must be submitted to the Court/Magistrate. The Judge/Magistrate will determine the duration of the trial/hearing.”

As announced before, the judiciary said that bail applications and remand of prisoners will be done via Skype, telephone conferencing or other electronic means. The judiciary said that it is advising Attorneys-at-law to only file matters that they deem urgent at this time. It is also said that lawyers need not attend court to request adjournments as Email/letters/Telephone calls can be utilized.

It added that in cases where the Court has issued adjournments, the adjourned dates will be communicated to attorneys-at-law via email, telephone, Skype or other electronic means.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here