Liberia National Bar Association’s President Wants’ Bar’s Involvement in Appointment of Supreme Court’s Justices

MONROVIA – The Liberia National Bar Association (LNBA) president, Sylvester Rennie, is urging the government of Liberia through the House of Legislature, to involve the Bar in the nomination process of the Chief and Associate Justices of the Supreme Court of Liberia.

According to Cllr. Rennie, the President of Liberia has the constitutional right to appoint whomever he feels fit for the position but says, the Bar’s involvement will demonstrate its concrete relationship with the Supreme Court as an arm of the high court. 

The 1986 constitution of Liberia Article 54(c) gives the President the power to nominate with the consent of the Senate, to appoint and commission, the Chief Justice, Associate Justices of the Supreme Court, and Judges of subordinate courts.

Speaking at the adjournment of the March AD term of court Cllr. Sylvester Rennie said that while the Bar does not question the qualifications, capabilities, and abilities of lawyers who were appointed to occupy positions in the Judiciary as well as the recent nominations made by the President to the Supreme Court, it is just prudent to have the Bar guide such process so as to conform the practice and maintain the strong ties with the Judiciary, the Executive and by extension the Legislature.

The Bar in the past has worked with the Judiciary to ensure that vacancies that exist for judicial positions included its participation through a vetting process conducted by the Judiciary Committee of the LNBA.

“This practice has been downplayed. The last time the Bar ever participated in a vetting process was when her honor Comfort Nah retired as Labor Court Judge; the bar was informed and a vetting process was conducted by its Judiciary committee and a list of vetted lawyers was sent to the Chief Justice office for submission to the President,’’ he added.

The objectives of the LNBA were outlined which include inter alia promoting the sciences of jurisprudence, advancing the cause of legal education, and helping maintain the independence of the Judiciary as well as assisting in the selection of those to be appointed as judges among others.‘

“By virtue of the services rendered by you, your predecessors, and others judges to be retired, the Bar strongly believes that a comprehensive package should be put in place so as to enable all of you to spend your retirement with dignity to avoid the filling of remedial writs before the court for the payment of your benefits,’’ he explained.

The occasion was used to call on the government of Liberia to ensure that retired officials of the judiciary are paid their benefits on time. 

For his part, the Dean of the Louis Arthur Grimes School of  Law School, Jallah Barbu, stressed that despite Chief justice Korkpor’s busy schedule at the helm of the Liberian Judiciary, where he performed both judicial and administrative duties, he accepted to teach at the Law school, on a Pro Bono service.

“We as lawyers are greatly indebted to professor Korkpor and are convinced that he is only retiring from the active duties of Chief Justice of the Supreme court,’’ he expressed

He added that Justice Korkpor in his humility and respect for the rule of law has observed and upheld all the law school policies and requirements regarding attendance and timely submission of grades.‘

“As a testimony of his adherence to the policies and rules of the school, he has always been and remains in the top 10-20% of professors submitting grades in time,’’ Dean Barbu recounts.

He maintained that Korkpor is not tired of teaching the children and future jurists and lawyers of Liberia while at the same time, helping the younger professor to lift the law school to heights unknown.  

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