Liberia’s Chief Justice, Sie-A-Nyene Yuoh has decried the ‘awful’ state of several magisterial court houses across the country and thereby called on governments to urgently address the matter.
She maintained that it is the responsibility of the government to finance the judiciary aim at ensuring that its facilities are functional and up-to-date thus lamented the deplorable states of courthouses in five of the fifteen counties, Montserrado, Grand Bassa, Bomi, Gbarpolu Grand Cape Mount, which she , during recent tours, observed were in deplorable conditions.
Speaking at the opening of the March 2023 Term of the Supreme Court, Justice Youh lamented said condition of various magisterial courts pose serious health hazards to the magistrate, staff and party litigants, and stressed that those courts do not represent the image of the Judiciary or the government.
“These courts are housed in dilapidated, burnt or in complete structure or squatting on the parcel patio of private homes to conduct business of the courts, and what I saw at these magisterial courts in the counties were so disturbing and worrisome for the country’s justice system,” the Chief Justice noted.
“Given these harsh working conditions, we must also applaud and commend these magistrates, and as the national government commits us to alleviate such extreme hardship and embarrassment facing this coordinate Branch of the Government, the judiciary,” Yuoh pleaded with the government.
Yuoh expressed her deep disappointment that the magisterial courts built under the UNMIL Quick Impact project and in deplorable conditions have been for several years without any renovation or a modern facility being constructed to accommodate the courts.
“Let me quickly note here and, it is public knowledge that the quick impact project was a program designed to give immediate but temporary relief to the judiciary at a time the country was recovering from its civil crisis,” she recounted.
“Now for over 18 consecutive years of peace and tranquility coupled with the elections of constitutional government, it is time that these structures of our Magisterial Courts be improved and elevated beyond the quick impact stage to one that represents a national government with a functioning judiciary in every respect,” she added.