Judicial Review Act falloutAG “wasting” resources – Nandlall respondsBy Shemuel FanfairThe fallout between Attorney General (AG) Basil Williams and his predecessor Anil Nandlall over the functionality of the Judicial Review Act continued before the Appeal Court on Monday when Deputy Solicitor General (DSG) Debra Kumar moved to withdraw two motions ahead of substantive challenge to the High Court’s directive to enact the Judicial Review Act (JRA).In 2017, Nandlall first brought civil proceedings against Williams as Legal Affairs Minister for his non-implementation of the JRA. The Act was passed by the National Assembly and assented to by then President of Guyana, Bharrat Jagdeo, in 2010 under the People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) Government. Under the JRA, citizens can challenge the actions of public officials and authorities.After reviewing the affidavits and legal arguments from both sides, the present acting Chief Justice George, SC on May 28, 2018, made an Order Rule Nisi absolute and directed the Legal Affairs Minister to bring the Judicial Review Act into force. However, the AG’s Chambers, having contended that such an order violated the separation of powers principle, challenged Justice George’s directive and filed multiple motions connected to the ongoing case. Though the law was eventually enacted under the APNU/AFC Administration in August 2018, the AG’s substantive challenge remains before the Court.However, as proceedings continued, on August 9, 2018, the AG lost his bid to have the Appeal Court stay the acting Chief Justice’s directive to enforce the Act when then acting Justice of Appeal Rafiq Khan dismissed Williams’s application for a stay of execution until the overall matter was heard. Ahead of the substantive appeal, the AG filed two motions, one applying for an early hearing and the other to set aside the decision of Justice Khan when he overruled the stay of execution.When proceedings came up relating to the two motions on Monday, DSG KumarAttorney-at-LawAnil Nandlallmoved to withdraw both, which were accepted by the Court in a matter heard by Chancellor of the Judiciary, Justice Yonette Cummings-Edwards, Appellate Justice Dawn Gregory and High Court Justice Brassington Reynolds. However, the Appellate Court ordered the AG’s Chambers to pay $50,000 in costs to the applicant, Nandlall.While the AG contends that his case has good prospects for success over the separation of powers argument, former AG Anil Nandall, in his reaction to the withdrawal, stated that his successor is “wasting” judicial time as well as the resources of the State. He in fact told Guyana Times on Monday that the motions should never have been filed, as the JRA was enacted.“At the minimum, he should have withdrawn at the time when the Act came into force. He is continuing to waste the court’s time by not withdrawing the appeal, since it would be impossible to so do after the Act has come into force; and Justice George’s decision cannot be reserved because litigation has commenced under the Act,” Nandall stressed.He added, too, that it is only the National Assembly that can move to repeal theAttorney General Basil Williamssaid JRA. When the AG had submitted an affidavit in the matter, it contended that the Chief Justice “committed a specific” illegality when, by her ruling, she “purported to dictate” to Williams to bring the JRA into force via her own timelines.Additionally, the AG observed that this was a violation of the doctrine of separation of powers. He further noted that Justice George “erred and misdirected herself” in law when she did not find that it was matter for the Legislature to decide what provisions it would make for the commencement of any particular statute, and not the judiciary.It was after Nandall moved to file contempt proceedings against his successor that Williams enacted the JRA. The Act provides an avenue for relief if anyone considers a decision made by a public official against them to be unfair. That relief includes the ability to seek to have decisions struck down and compensation paid.