Justice Minister Dean Wants Retirement Age Clause for Supreme Court Justices Revisited

The Minister of Justice, Frank Musa Dean has stressed the need for a national dialogue to revisit the retirement “age clause” in the constitution of Liberia for justices on the supreme court’s bench.

Speaking at the closure of the March 2022 A.D term of the Supreme Court and also the official retirement of chief Justice Francis Korkpor held at the Temple of Justice, Minister Dean said that the 1986 constitution of Liberia provides that justices of the Supreme Court shall be retired at the age of 70 provided. 

According to him, a justice who has attained that age may continue in office for as long as may be necessary to enable him render judgment or perform any other judicial duty regarding proceedings entertained by him before he attained the age.

‘’ Many legal practitioners, including myself, continue to reflect on the practicality of this constitutional provision given the evolving, demanding, and ever-changing nature of our legal system where we give currency to seniority and acknowledge that the longer the years of practice, the wealthier in experience the individual becomes,’’ he maintained.

Minister Dean emphasized that the 70 years retirement provision for the judges, Chief, and Associate Justices may not be realistic today; therefore an amendment of the constitutional provision is proposed.

According to Minister Dean, ‘’Our retired chief and Associates continue to be favored with knowledge, experience, good health, and vitality.‘’ It might be beneficial to our Judicial Reform Program to consider the concept of a Council or Broad of former Chief and Associate Justices,’’ he noted.

 He stressed that the rule of law is an indispensable pillar in a democratic society and we cannot gloss over the fact that the Judiciary under chief justice Korkpor’s leadership played an extraordinary role in keeping our infant democracy buoyant and afloat.

 ‘’He has been a stabilizing figure during seemingly critical and defining moments of our current democratic dispensation between 2005 up to and including 2020, a period when we as a country endured difficult trying and exacting electoral processes,’’ he added.

Chief Justice Korkpor in his final address to the full bench of the Supreme Court of Liberia admonished his colleagues to continue the good work in dispensing justice to the Liberian people.

He also expressed thanks and appreciation to former president Ellen Johnson and President Weah for allowing him to serve his country.

He also thanked all the Judicial staff, counselors, former Associate Justices, and International partners for supporting the Judiciary under his watch.

Meanwhile, the official retirement of Chief Justice Korkpor marks the first time in the history of the Liberia Judiciary system. The occasion was with the President of the Republic of Liberia, VP Taylor, the House of Representatives, Ambassador Sweden, US Ambassador to Liberia, and others. 

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