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S/Court begins investment friendly assessment

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Liberia’s judicial branch of government commences a national judicial conference in Monrovia today, Monday, 7 June to provoke an open discussion seeking to assess among other things whether the country’s laws and national policies meet current realities and if investors do trust the courts here, over 10 years since such conference was ever held.

Ahead of the conference, Judicial public information director Atty. Ambrose Nmah told judicial reporters Friday, 4 June that if these discussions result to formulating resolutions, the Supreme Court will depend on key players to look at the realities, proffer laws and pursue the necessary change with the Legislature that will draw more investments to Liberia.

“So what are the realities? We have to look at, doing business in Liberia, the climate … is Liberia business friendly? Is it difficult for us to do business in Liberia? Is it with the law, the courts? Do investors trust the courts very much?” Atty. Nmah said in response to a question by our staff.

Atty. Nmah indicated that the conference will allow the judiciary to play a significant role in business climate reforms by examining, and where necessary, reforming rules and legal processes and procedures that will increase the confidence of potential investors and existing businesses as well as improve the ease of doing business in Liberia.

“So the expectation to your question is when we shall have these discussions and the real truth is there and they form resolutions, we expect that on behalf of the Liberian people, if there are reforms to the laws … then we expect that the Bar Association, Ministry of Justice will look at that revision, put it into the framework and send it to the Legislature,” he added.

Atty. Nmah noted that the courts do not make laws, but the Legislature does make laws, adding that the courts rely on the Liberia National Bar Association, and to an extent, the Ministry of Justice which are arms of the court.

According to him, the courts anticipate that there will be serious and open discussions on the various issues to bring out the realities, and focusing on the theme for the conference, “the Law, Public Policy and the Economy.”
He said as coronavirus recedes, many countries are coming back with great plans to spur up their economic growth, but pondered whether the policies that Liberia has do attract investors into the country or not.

Taking cure from the land conflict that existed between locals and Sime Darby until the Malaysian oil palm company finally pulled out of Liberia in 2020, Atty. Nmah noted that the conference will be looking at laws governing land in the country, the realities when it comes to laws and policies and doing business in Liberia.

The Judiciary is convening the national judicial conference this week, starting Monday, 7 June to 11 June 2021 at the Ministerial Complex in Congo Town. During the course of the judicial conference, Atty. Nmah said the courts will be significantly closed here “because all the circuit judges are to attend the conference; all lawyers are mandatory to attend the conference.”

However, the secretariat of the courts will be there for people to file cases if they have, but the judges will be focused on the conference, Nmah added.

Atty. Nmah explained over the weekend that the conference is being held in line with Part One of Rules 19 of the Revised Rules of the Supreme Court.

According to him, the rule provides that the Supreme Court shall hold a national judicial conference at least once every year to discuss pertinent legal issues relative to the administration of justice and to come up with practicable solutions that will take cognizance of the dynamic and progressive nature of the law and the prevailing needs and conditions of the society.

Atty. Nmah explained that the last national judicial conference was held from 8 to 10 March 2010 during the tenure of the late Chief Justice Johnnie Lewis during which current Chief Justice Francis S. Korkpor, Sr., chaired the conference.

“Due to financial constraints faced by the judiciary over the years, the judiciary had been unable to hold this conference since then,” he stated. Atty. Nmah said the Supreme Court recognizes and appreciates the support provided by the Government of Liberia towards the convening of the conference.

Building on the achievements of the past national judicial conferences, Atty. Nmah indicated that the Supreme Court anticipates that this national conference of 2021 will similarly discuss issues which pose challenges and to some extent impact the judiciary in the administration of justice here.

He disclosed that this year’s conference will focus on critical legal and public policy issues and their impact, be it positive or negative on the economy of Liberia, taking into consideration the global dynamics and changes in the world today.

“Law, public policy and economics, to a large extent are the nerve center of peace, security and prosperity in any nation. Laws crafted must be able to shape public policies and political decisions and by extension provide equitable economic freedom to all,” Atty. Nmah continued.

He detailed that this year’s conference will also discuss the role of public policy in addressing societal issues confronting the ordinary Liberian citizens.Nmah indicated that it is anticipated that the national judicial conference will bring together local and international participants from diverse backgrounds.

Atty. Nmah said the Supreme Court looks forward to open and hearty discussions that will yield practicable solution for the reduction of the public’s negative perception of the judiciary and garner more perception that enhances the public’s confidence in the judicial system. By Winston W. Parley

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