Liberia: Stop Lying to Clients

Lawyers warned:

Judges at the Civil Law Courts in Monrovia have issued a stern warning to lawyers telling them to stop lying to clients under false pretense just to extract money.

Judges asserted that some lawyers here have been deliberately lying to extract money from clients under the pretense that such monies are intended to see judges expedite the assignment of cases.

Liberia's justice system is not only plagued by alleged corruption but also delayed in cases being call forth for hearing.

Delivering a charge at the opening of Civil Law Courts "A" and "B" in Monrovia Monday, 21 June, assigned Civil Law Court "B" Judge Scheaplor R. Dunbar warned all lawyers who are in the habit of deliberately lying to their clients about the issuance of assignments to stop.

"The judges of this court do not ask for or demand any money from lawyers in order to assign cases. Do not tell your client that you need money to see the judge for an assignment. Do not lie [about] the judge," Judge Dunbar said.

According to the Civil Law Court Judge, depending on the distance, it costs not more than LD$1,500 to superintend a notice of assignment, adding that it is unethical for a lawyer to charge a client far more than what is the reasonable cost for superintending an assignment.

In a related development, Judge Dunbar has warned that the court will impose heavy fines on lawyers who go to court late or refuse to honor notices of assignment issued by the court.

"Let me put all of you on notice that we will impose heavy fines on lawyers who come to court late, or lawyers who refuse to honor notices of assignment issued by the court," Judge Dunbar said.

Judge Scheaplor noted that it does not speak well of a lawyer who always comes to court late, adding that being very punctual in attending to assignments is just as important as winning a case.

According to him, most of the complaints received from the public about the judiciary is that cases stay on the trial dockets for a very long time, thereby urging that all must work together during this term of court to hear and dispense a good number of the cases on the court's dockets.

As legal professionals, Judge Scheaplor said they should all know that time is very important in the discharge of their duties.

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