Korkpor Promises Judicial Reform

By Morrison O.G. Sayon

Chief Justice Francis S. Korkpor has assured that his administration will undertake vigorous reforms at the Judiciary in which there will be no judicial malpractices.

Speaking on Monday when he was inducted as Chief Justice of Liberia, Justice Korkpor said, “We will undertake reforms to address the problem of delays and antiquated methods of doing things. We will amend our rules to provide for civil society representation on the Judicial Inquiry Commission as well as the Grievance and Ethics Committee.”

Justice Korkpor said his administration will form partnership with other actors of the justice sector in addressing common problems and will provide a robust leadership of a judicial that is willing to dialogue and embrace changes, but on their own terms and conditions in keeping with the strategic plan of action.

Korkpor added, “We will not tolerate judicial malpractices by judges and ethical transgressions of lawyers. A clear signal of our resolve to sternly deal with these unwholesome practices which, no doubt, erode public confidence in the judiciary was sent recently.

He said at the end of the October 2012 Term of the Supreme Court, the court handed down opinions emanating from the Judicial Inquiry Commission and Grievance and Ethics Committee. As Magistrate, two lawyers and two Circuit Judges were found in serious violation of ethical and professional conducts and were suspended for specified period. “We hope that this has served as sufficient warning to all of us who are judicial actors,” Justice Korkpor averred.

The Liberian legal luminary added that his administration’s goal is to build a credible and independent judiciary, a place of redress where everyone, citizens, foreign nationals, businessman or businesswoman, the poor, the rich, the ruling political party, the opposition political parties, Christians, Muslims, nonbelievers and all, who may be aggrieved and distressed can truly find justice.

Chief Justice Korkpor stressed that one major challenge that needs to be confronted is the restoration of public confidence in the judiciary. He then added, “Our own citizens as well as foreign nationals within our border do not seem to have full confidence in our judiciary system. They still see the judiciary as a place where justice is given to the rich and powerful.”

He said regrettably, the actions of some judicial actors continue to lend credence to this perception stressing, “We pledge to work to reverse this situation; we will undertake reforms to address the problem of delays and antiquated methods of doing things,” Chief Justice Korkpor among other things concluded.

Earlier, President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf described the recent US State Department report on Liberia as a wakeup call for the judiciary system.