Electronic recording of court proceedings closer to reality

Local judges and magistrates are closer to being able to electronically record court proceedings under a new law that has been proposed.

The Recording of Court Proceedings Bill 2014, which was tabled by Attorney-General Anil Nandlall on Thursday, seeks to provide for the recording of court proceedings by electronic or other means.

The current practice sees judges and magistrates recording proceedings by hand.

One clause of the bill provides for the Registrar of the Supreme Court or the clerk of the magistrate’s court to cause a transcript of the record of the proceedings to be prepared.

Clause 5 provides that the record of proceedings shall be verified by certificates of those responsible for the accuracy of the recording of the proceedings, while Clause 6 provides for access to the transcript and recordings by a party to the proceedings upon payment of the requisite fee.

There have been calls several times for electronic recording of court proceedings as it was felt that the manual recording contributed to the sloth in the judicial process and the backlog of cases.

In 2009, fourteen recorders specifically designed to be used in courtrooms arrived in the country under a British-funded project and were supposed to be handed over to the judiciary for use in 14 courtrooms.

The British High Commission had said that it purchased the recorders along with microphones and cassettes for the local judiciary to support the Government of Guyana’s judicial reform efforts. It is not clear whether the recorders were ever used.

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