Guyana’s courts poised for high-tech electronic case management systems but more staff needed- Chief Justice

Last Updated on Tuesday, 10 January 2023, 17:58 by Denis Chabrol

Guyana’s courts will soon have sophisticated electronic case management and litigation systems for the magistrates, high and appeal courts but more skilled persons will have to be hired, Chief Justice Roxane George-Wiltshire announced on Tuesday.

She said that with Guyana now part of the “worldwide Great Shift” to the use of technology in courts,  Guyana’s courts would need additional  technical skills. Of an authorised strength of 10 Information Technology (IT) staff, there are seven for the entire country and the court reporting unit only has nine personnel. “The number of staff and skillsets in these departments is woefully inadequate  given the expected expansion of our systems and operations by the end of this year and going forward,” she said

The Chief Justice sounded a call in the presence of Attorney General Anil Nandlall, the Chancellor the Judiciary, judges and magistrates that more staff would have to be hired for the IT and court reporting departments and the various judicial registries and court offices throughout the country,” she said. Mr Nandlall told the event that the Public Service Commission would be appointed very early during the first quarter of 2023 and that would see the hiring of more support staff for the judiciary and magistracy.

Speaking at the opening of the inaugural Law Year, she said the pilot system was being provided through the National Centre for States Courts of the Department of Justice of the United States, a consortium of international and regional judiciaries including Guyana’s Supreme Court.

The Chief Justice said the pilot ECM system for the magistrates courts is expected to go live by the end of the first quarter of 2023. The Diamond Magistrates’ Court has been identified to house the hub for the technological framework for that system. She said the Supreme Court has been working assiduously with the Singapore-based consultant, Crimson Logic, on the development of an e-litigation system for the Court of Appeal and the High Court. “The development of the system is almost completed for the Court of Appeal and should gi live by the end of this quarter with a public launch that will be announced thereafter,” she said.

Ms George-Wiltshire said the consultants are in Guyana  from January 10 for the High Court system which is slated to go live by the last quarter of 2023.

The Chancellor of the Judiciary Yonette Cummings, the Chief Justice, judicial officers and court staff have attended c0urt technology conferences over the last two years. The Chief Justice and eight supervisory staff attended the E-Courts conference in December, 2022.

The United States case filing and management system, PACER, is available on paid subscription and is charged based on the number of pages accessed. Judges and lawyers can also access and upload filings and other materials to that system.