Judges have been warned here to exercise neutrality and avoid being tempted to allow sympathy, external influences and special interests to impact their decisions, as the society risks falling into chaos where there is “unpredictability of the court.”
In response to judges’ charge at the opening of the Civil Law Court at the Temple of Justice in Monrovia on Monday, 21 September the Liberia National Bar Association President, Cllr. Moses Paegar, warned that “where there is unpredictability of the court, the recipe for chaos is in the making.”
“And so we want to admonish all of those who have been charged with the responsibility to make decisions – judicial decisions affecting people’s liberty, affecting their property rights, affecting their commercial interests for them to try as much as possible to make their decisions predictable,” Cllr. Paegar pleaded.
He said judges are from time to time called upon and reminded to exercise … neutrality in matters brought before them, adding that they are not party in cases, but should decide matters with fairness. The National Bar President emphasized the need for people to use authority to solve problems, on grounds that it is not sufficient to pay lip service to appear to be doing something, while one has the authority.
He equally told lawyers here that they owe a duty to the court, suggesting that in order for the court to be predictable, lawyers practicing before courts must organize themselves and make sure their pleadings contain elements of desired predictability.
He concluded that the court cannot be predictable if the papers coming to the court lack predictability. Earlier delivering a charge at the opening of the Civil Law Court yesterday, Judge Yusuf Kaba, admonished his colleagues to be guided by the law in dispensing justice.
He urged that in the dispensation of justice, judges should avoid being tempted to allow sympathy, external influences and special interests to impact the decisions they make. On behalf of the Trial Judges Association, Commercial Court Judge Eva Mappy Morgan, termed as a very serious, responsibility that judges have to dispense justice with fairness, transparency and [be] predictable.
Correspondingly, she says judges are hoping that lawyers understand their own responsibility to be fair and just and not file “doctored papers,” and that those papers are not fraudulent, but similarly correct as judges are supposed to be predictable in dispensing justice.
For his part, Assistant Justice Minister for Litigation, Cllr. Augustine Fayiah, said he agrees with Judge Kaba when he said, “judges should be guided by laws.” Cllr. Fayiah observed that in the absence of the rule of law, the more powerful people take the day in which he says “they have the visual cycle of chaotic situation.”
Cllr. Fayiah described the position of a judge as very important, and emphasized that where judges are guided by the law, they can free a person that comes in disagreement with anyone else, including the highest office in society.
By Winston W. Parley – Edited by Jonathan Browne