By Lincoln G. Peters
The structure hosting Liberia’s Supreme Court is at risk of collapse if work is not done to relocate and decongest the building.
While launching a five–year strategic plan for the Judiciary on Tuesday, 6 February 2024, Chief Justice Sie-A-Nyene G. Yuoh said she wants a new Supreme Court building.
“We want the construction of a new Supreme Court building, construction of 20 magisterial courts around the country, construction of seven circuit courts or judicial complexes, refurbishment and operationalization of three sexual offense courts in three counties, and digitization of the Supreme Court and all circuit court complexes,” she disclosed.
The structure hosting the Supreme Court was built in 1965 and dedicated in 1968 to host a maximum of three hundred persons.
Far beyond that capacity, the structure is said to be hosting close to nine hundred-plus staffers and judicial officials.
The Supreme Court is currently having several cracks which are said to expose the structure to risk of a potential collapse in the next four or five years if nothing is done.
To address this judicial challenge, Chief Justice Yuoh officially launched the judiciary’s five–year strategic plan covering 2024-2028.
She said the strategic plan aims to provide strategic direction for the judiciary in the next five years.
She indicated that it’s public knowledge that the judiciary over the years has been plagued with multiple challenges ranging from an inadequate budgetary allocation to poor infrastructure and human capacity.
She said these challenges have affected the overall performance of the judiciary as a system.
Chief Justice Yuoh stated that upon assuming the helm of leadership of the judiciary in 2022, her vision for a new judiciary under her leadership was crafted.
She said it was crafted into what she refers to as “Rebranding the Judiciary” which encapsulates renewal of the system through addressing systemic weaknesses that have impeded the effective function of the judiciary over the years.
According to Justice Yuoh, the strategic plan covered five major objective areas as laid out in addressing the challenges that pose a threat to the Supreme Court.
“Five strategic objectives are laid out under this plan including development of the judiciary’s infrastructure for improved access to justice,” she noted.
The launch of the five-year strategic plan was held at the Temple Justice in the conference room of the Ground Floor.
It was graced by members of the diplomatic corps, and legal luminaries who made speeches and recommendations.
The Liberian Chief Justice further disclosed that the five-year strategic plan also seeks to address the challenges of human capacity development.
She also outlined a plan for capacity development for relevant staff for digitization, continuing judicial education for general capacity development, recruitment and deployment of thirty additional public defenders for increased access to justice will all be addressed.