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From car park to courthouse, Appeal Court gets new wing

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Guyana’s Court of Appeal has finally been expanded, enabling it to not only accommodate an increased number of appellate court judges but also to allow persons to access justice more readily and comfortably.

The Court’s expansion takes the form of a new wing built upon an area used for years as a car park. The new wing was commissioned on Monday afternoon.

Chancellor of the Judiciary (ag.) Justice Yonette Cummings-Edwards explained that the new building was particularly necessary given how crowded the more than 50-year old space had become.

“We were literally bursting in our seams, our files were on the ground, our cabinets couldn’t hold in the office, we were using the basement as it were and still there was no space,” the acting Chancellor said at Monday’s commissioning ceremony in Kingston.

Inside the new wing of the Court of Appeal (Photo: Attorney General Anil Nandlall’s Facebook page/ May 13, 2024)

What complicated the situation was that there has been an “exponential increase” in the number of appeals going to the Court, she added. Furthermore, a decison was taken to increase the complement of appellate court judges from five to nine.

So, she reasoned that more space was badly-needed.

With the new wing, Guyana’s Court of Appeal now boasts two courtrooms including one outfitted with modern technology to enhance the delivery of justice. The Chancellor noted that there are more judges’ chambers, an office for legal practitioners, a judges’ assembly room, a lounge, administrative staff spaces and even a gym.

Inside the new wing of the Court of Appeal (Photo: Attorney General Anil Nandlall’s Facebook page/ May 13, 2024)

Meanwhile, Attorney General Anil Nandlall said the government prioritises easier access to justice. As such, it is allocating funds for similar expansions and the construction of buildings in new communities.

“… our government is acutely aware of the fundamental role that the judiciary must play and our institutions of justice must play in the transformation which is taking place across the landscape of our country.

“We are of the firm view that the judiciary, law and order, and the institutions of justice are the foundation upon which modern societies rest.

“That is why we have never hesitated in partnering with the judiciary once there are resources available to execute both capital projects as well as current projects and initiatives,” Nandlall said at the commissioning ceremony.

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