The incoming Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Liberia, Her Honour, Justice Sie-A-Nyene G. Yuoh, has a lot on her plate to deal with in restoring the dampening image of the judiciary. Chief Justice Yuoh has a choice to rebrand the entire justice system of Liberia and leave a legacy after her exit or to allow business as usual, and watch the third branch of the Liberian government curl under the Executive.
Notwithstanding, we recommend a few pieces of advice to the incoming Chief Justice, which we believe could give a new face to the entire justice system and win public trust if taken into consideration.
Firstly, she would have to work extra time in removing the shadow of the Executive that hangs over the Judiciary as Liberians brace themselves for Presidential and General Elections in 2023. This is very important especially, given the controversy that surrounds her nomination by President George Weah and subsequent confirmation by the Liberian Senate.
She is coming to replace outgoing Chief Justice, His Honour, Francis S. Korkpor, Sr., and public argument pervades that the next in succession on the five members Supreme Court Bench is Associate Justice Cllr. Jamesetta Howard-Wolokolie, given her years of service and experience, but Yuoh became the President’s pick. Besides, at age 67, the incoming Chief Justice has barely two years to retire – one key reason why her preferment by the President is characterized by perceptions and controversy.
Chief Justice Yuoh would have to stamp out the laissez-faire and subservient posture of her predecessor, His Honour, Francis Korkpor, Sr., and rescue the debilitating image of the Liberian Judiciary as a place of corruption and compromise. International reports about the Judiciary are replete with charges of bribery and compromises.
She needs to move expeditiously to restore public confidence in the judiciary by demonstrating independence and being on top of her game as Chief Justice of the Supreme Court.
In other words, she should be brave enough to allow the chip to fall where ever it is legally required, regardless of who might be affected, and should entertain no sacred cow in dispending Justice.
Chief Justice Yuoh should seek the welfare of judges, magistrates and judicial staff across the country to uphold professionalism and ethical standards in the legal practice.
Lastly, she should make justice very rewarding and worth pursuing as well as endeavor to leave a strong legacy after her service and retirement, as the third Liberian female lawyer in the history of the Liberian jurisprudence to head the Highest Court of the Republic.
We believe strongly if these pieces of recommendations are given due recognition by the incoming Chief Justice, the Liberian judiciary would have gone a long way in not just dispensing Justice to party litigants or defendants, but making the entire justice system strong and reliable.