By Grace Q. Bryant
The Criminal Court “E” Judge, Serena F. Garlawolu, says no amount of economic hardship should cause judges to dispense justice outside of the ethics governing the legal profession.
Delivering her charge on Monday, August 9, at the opening of the 1st Judicial Circuit Criminal Courts “A” “B” “C” “D” & “E”, Judge Garlawolu said the Judiciary is aware that the economy is hard and most of the clerical staff and magisterial officers are finding it difficult to make its ends meet.
Judge Garlawolu said notwithstanding, judicial officials including judges, magistrates, clerical staff and ministerial officers must be mindful that they have taken oath to be dedicated and committed to their duties and to demonstrate honestly in their performances at all times.
“So even though things may be difficult, hard times don’t always last. First of all, thank you for all of the work you have done during the last term of court and I urge you to be committed to your job because good name is better than money,” she stated.
Judge Garlawolu emphasized, “Let us always be reminded that the public looks up to us for fairness and transparency and these attitudes should be clearly demonstrated by us as we adjudicate cases irrespective of the economic hardship that the covid-19 has brought upon our country.”
She reminded judges and magistrates that they are guided by the Judicial Canons of the Republic of Liberia while lawyers who practice before the courts are guided by the code of moral and processional ethics.
She said there are 40 Judicial Canons governing the activities of Justices, judges and magistrate and called on judges to refrain from engaging in the practice of law directly or indirectly inappropriately; indicating that Judicial Canon 5 talks about the court as the last place of hope.
“The Court is the last place of hope for everyone and therefore the judge therein presiding must live above reproach; he/she shall not receive or demand fees for approving a bond or signing an order nor raise unreasonable technicalities in the hope of receiving prerequisite before approving the bond or other duly present,” she quoted.
The Judge said from the few Judicial Canons stated, if judges and magistrates would guide their activities by these Canons, the criticisms from the public will be things of the past noting that there will be massive improvements in the dispensation of justice in the society and therefore advised judges and lawyers to observe their professional ethics in the litigation proceedings.
“To the lawyers who will appear before us, your activities as I stated earlier must be guided by the Code of Moral and Processional Ethics and just as the judges are guided by the Canons to conduct themselves in an orderly and professional manner,” she concluded.
Judge Garlawolu Admonishes Judges
By Grace Q. Bryant