A former legal officer at the Liberia Civil Aviation Authority (LCAA) on Friday, May 18, 2012 received a Master's Degree in Law from the Hamline University School of Law in Minnesota, the United States of America. Mr. Prince Yeakehson, who is a veteran of the Student Democratic Alliance (STUDA), was the only African and the only black man that got a master's degree in law from the school this year. In a chat with this paper via mobile phone over the weekend, Mr. Yeakehson said he intends to introduce a new wave of change in the Liberian legal system, contrary to the traditional adversarial system of litigation.
Hear Mr. Yeakehson: " I intend to establish a Center for Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) soon in the Country. I agree the idea is new and strange to Liberia and many developing countries, but I will need the government support for the courts to encourage people to go through mediation before litigation and I will lobby with the authorities to ensure that student attorneys are trained and licensed to carry on mediation as part of their legal studies."
Speaking further, he said cases regarding crime in general and high profiled cases like corruption, embezzlement, and prudery should be tried through a legal contest.
He noted that disputes involving allegations of illegality or impropriety â--cases based on allegations of fraudulent conduct or illegal behavior (criminal conducts) is not conducive to mediation because the polarized positions that characterize these disputes inhibit discussion.
However, the former legal officer at the LCAA noted that cases regarding family matters, contracts/commercial cases, and property matters as well as corporation and labor cases should go through the ADR (mediation, negotiation and if possible through arbitration).
"I think this method should fail before any legal contest in the courts. It is important to note that mediation processes are not binding in themselves, but agreements reached through those processes can be made binding," Mr. Yeakehson, amongst other things added.