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‘Judiciary, Staffers Will Be On Trajectory Paths’ -CJ Yuoh Vows Before End Of Tenure

By Grace Q. Bryant

Chief Justice Sie-A-Nyene G. Yuoh says Judicial order #9 and section 3.9 of the new Judicial law gives her the exclusive rights to assign judges of specialized courts.

Speaking at the opening of the Civil Law Court, Yuoh noted section 3.9 of the New Judiciary Law authorizes the Chief Justice  to assign Circuit Judges to preside over circuit  courts on a rotational basis, and further provides that except for Relieving Judges, each Circuit Judge shall preside as Resident Judge over the circuit court of which he is appointed.

According to CJ Yuoh , the New Judiciary Law requires that all courts be opened for the conduct of business at all times with a judge or magistrate available and presiding over proceedings.

“Article 75 of  the 1986  Constitution of Liberia grants the Supreme Court the power to prescribe rules necessary for the facilitation and proper discharge of the functions of the courts in the Republic of Liberia,” she maintained.

She disclosed that  the rules of Courts mandate that Judges  and magistrate  assigned to courts be in prompt attendance at all times in said courts, unless prevented by sickness or such inability leave no control, and in such case, they shall  give timely notice to the Chief Justice

CJ Yuoh  mentioned that the Supreme Court has observed that some judges of the circuit courts, specialized courts and some magistrates are in the constant habit of abandoning their courts without any notice to her office.

The Supreme Court cf Liberia/ pursuant to Article 75 of the 1986 Constitution, hereby promulgates and issues this Judicial Order No. 9, mandating that judges and magistrates stricrly adhere to the Rules Governing all courts in the nnanner as follows:

“That all resident and assigned Judges  and magistrates shall be present and preside over the Formal Opening of each term of court to which they are assigned and shall remain  presiding in that court until the end of the term,” CJ Yuoh said.

According to her, all judges and magistrate’s must submit  a request for excuse to the Office of the Chief Justice and must obtain permission before the request can be considered granted; acting otherwise by leaving the court unmanned shall be considered as abandonment of court  without an official permission from the Chief Justice and shall invoke appropriate administrative action as mentioned hereunder.

“ No Clerk of Court is authorized to preside over formal openings of a term of court of any circuit, except where specifically instructed by the Chief Justice; nor shall any clerk of specialized or magisterial courts presided over a proceeding,”she noted.

She said resident Judges are required to visit all magisterial courts in their counties at least once during the year and acquaint himself/herself with the performances of these magisterial courts.

“That non-adherence to the foregoing shall warrant strict administrative penalty to include forfeiture of salary and benefits for the duration of the period of unexcused absence; and for repeated non adherence, the name of the judge shall be forwarded to the Legislature for removal from office, and in the case of a magistrate, the name shall be forwarded to the President for revocation of their Commission,” she maintained.

She stressed that most often judges from  southeastern Liberia are those in the constant habit of instructing their respective clerks to do the court opening while they sit in Monrovia with no justifiable reasons.

“We find out that most of our resident Circuit Court Judges apparently, through some maneuver ways to get appointed because most often they in Monrovia instead of their respective counties,” Chief Justice Yuoh revealed.

Chief Justice Yuoh, indicated that they had have numerous cases where those resident Circuit Court judges sit in Monrovia and appoint their respective clerks of court particularly Southeastern Liberia to open court and this is not an ordinary court but the Circuit Court.

“It is so disheartening to note that resident Circuit Court judges are so afraid of their own people on grounds there are a lot of traditional exercises going on in the Circuit Court where Judges are allegedly using Holy oil and water in the resident Circuit Court.

“Imagine Judges who are resident judges don’t even have a house in their respective counties where they are resident judges which is very disheartening,” she stated.

Justice Yuoh recalled that during the May term of court opening, three Circuit Court judges ordered their clerks of court to open the Circuit Court which is contrary to law and those judges were in Monrovia with no plan to go to court yet, to their resident Circuit Courts.

She further that judges and magistrates in rural Liberia are always absent from their respective magisterial districts and those magistrates will bear the weight by not taking pay for the number of months they were absent from their various counties.

The magisterial Courts are closed because, magistrates have authorized themselves to go to law school full time without the knowledge of the Chief Justice and she added that a meeting was recently held with various categories  of magistrates and they are aware to walk henceforth.

Magistrates who have refused for no reason to open court for which they sought appointment for, definitely pay will be deducted for the number of times the courts have been closed for.

According to her, change is tough, hard to accept but all is part of the rebranding of the Judiciary indicating that before she leaves from power, the Judiciary and its workers will be on trajectory paths.

Meanwhile, she has vowed to give another test to filing clerks and sheriffs after she got information of filing clerks not doing their duties.

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