13 November 2012

Liberia: Supreme Court Orders Judges

The Supreme Court has issued a judicial order requiring all judges to, henceforth, be making detailed ruling/judgment containing clear and concise summaries of facts and evidence in cases before them.

"Every final ruling/judgment rendered by a judge in the disposition of a cause of action shall henceforth, and as unequivocally espoused by the Supreme Court of Liberia in its opinion in the case: Martha Sirleaf v. Republic of Liberia, delivered at the March 2012 Term of Court, be by a detailed ruling containing clear and concise summaries of the facts and evidence of the case, the relevant law citations relied upon, and the rational upon which the ruling is made," the order, signed by four justices of the five-member bench said.

The mandate was handed down yesterday as circuit judges were formally opening their courts for the November Term throughout the country.

A special letter sent to the judges by acting Chief Justice Francis S. Korkpor, Sr., reminded the judges of their primary duty - to hear and determine cases on the docket - and ensure timely hearing and impartial determination of those cases.

In consequence of this, Mr Justice Korkpor then ordered the judges to comply with the judicial order which emphasized that they must cite the relevant laws in the cases and the rational upon which rulings are made.

Said the judicial order, "The final ruling/judgment shall be a separate and properly typewritten document which shall be attached to the records of the case.

"Accordingly, commencing from November 12, 2012, and thereafter, no judge of a circuit or specialized court shall dictate a final ruling/judgment to form part of the minutes of court."

The court further mandated that the returns required to be submitted by every judge shall be filed in triplicate: i) one copy to the office of Chief Justice; ii) one copy to the Court Administrator; and iii) one copy to the Associate Justice with oversight responsibility of the circuit or specialized court.

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