Home Governance Fraud, Corrupt …Judge Chineh Demystifies ‘Bad Public Perceptions’ About Liberia’s Justice System

Fraud, Corrupt …Judge Chineh Demystifies ‘Bad Public Perceptions’ About Liberia’s Justice System

by newsmanager

By: Frank P. Martin

MONROVIA: The Relieving Judge of Liberia, Nelson B. Chineh, has underscored the need to re-shift the “bad public perceptions” about Liberia’s Justice System.

According to Judge Chineh, it is believed by many persons in the public that the country’s Justice System is one of “fraud and corrupt.”

Speaking at program marking the formal opening of the June Term of the Sixth Judicial Circuit, Civil Law Court, on Monday, June 19, 2023, Judge Chineh however, encouraged judicial actors to ensure that diligent efforts are made to achieve the relevant changes aimed at improving services to the public.

“Attaining this feat will incorporate the diligence of all justice sector actors, to include judges, Lawyers, Clerical staffs and Ministerial officers, to include the police,” he disclosed.

According to the Relieving Judge, the manners and forms in which each of these justice actors’ acts in discharging their respective tasks impact positively or negatively the public perceptions about the Court System in Liberia.

The Judges, as Heads of the Courts, according to him, must learn to take full responsibility of the operations of the courts.

“The Judge must be punctual in attending court; he/she must, at all-times, exhibit a sense of neutrality. As a Judge, it is expected of you to possess some basic qualities, to include but not limited to being knowledgeable in the law. The Judges must always be cognizant of the fact that support staffs and lawyers look up to them for leadership and guidance,” he stressed.

To actualize his call for rebranding the image of the Liberian Judiciary, Judge Chineh accentuated, among others that Judges must be afforded the opportunity for continued judicial education just as practicing lawyers are privileged to participate in continued legal education since laws are dynamic or involving.

He maintains that this will bring a positive change to the manners and forms in which businesses are conducted in courts, and by this, the public perceptions of the Judiciary will begin to shift positively.

Expounding on Lawyers’ roles and responsibilities to their party litigants, he said: “a Lawyers is a direct representative of a party litigant before a court. A Lawyer is either an advisor or an advocate for a party litigant.

“In our adversary system of jurisprudence, a party litigant who is represented by a Lawyer but whose Lawyer is either incompetent, or is competent but negligent in his or her representation of such party litigant, cannot be assured of a fair trial.

“Both sides in every case need adequate and efficient representation. Even the most intelligent and educated Lawperson has little or no skill in the science of law and hence, requires the assistance of counsel at every step in the litigation process.

“Without the assistance of competent and committed counsel, a party litigant faces the danger of injustice, even if the preponderance of evidence is in his or her favor. This is generally seen as miscarriage of justice and reflects negatively on the Judiciary, even though the Lawyers are not employees of the Judiciary.”

He recommended that Lawyers must be adequately schooled to be able to better represent their clients rather than using other means such as fraud or corruption to get around.

The Relieving Judge attributed constant delays in dispensing justice generally to Lawyers’ unpreparedness to proceed with their cases, citing that when cases are assigned, some lawyers, despite praying for the assignment, will elect to stay away or appear only to pray the court for continuance, many will neglect to file with the court required documents, such as pretrial memorandum, even when ordered by court or have their witnesses to attend court as scheduled.

He believes that if the image of the Liberian Judiciary must be positively restored, legal education must be made mandatory and that same must not be conditioned on Liberia National Bar Association (LNBA) convention but instead, the Judicial Institute must be empowered or equipped to, at all-time, provide continued legal education for all justice sector actors, to include Lawyers.

Among other courses to be taught at the Judiciary Institute, he said, should be “Legal Ethics” so Lawyers can understand their responsibilities and obligations to the courts as well as their clients, which will impact their performance.

The program was attended Judges, Justices of the Supreme Court of Liberia, Liberia National Bar Association (LNBA) Executives, Lawyers and other judicial actors.

Related Posts

Leave a Comment