Monrovia — Renowned Liberian legal luminary, Cllr. Negbalee Warner, has challenged members of the judiciary to discharge their duties in a manner that promotes and preserves the integrity and independence of the justice system.
By Selma Lomax [email protected]
Cllr. Warner noted that judicial actors can preserve the integrity and independence of the judiciary by promoting public confidence in the court system.
He argued that judges and the judiciary simply doing their job with impartiality is sufficient to also safeguard democratic values.
He called on members of the system to begin doing things differently, alarming that the role of judges in the country has been the same for centuries.
The Liberian lawyer stated that judges must now be faithful to the law and fairly apply said laws to decide disputes without undue delay while maintaining high standards of conduct and demanding the same from administrative staff, lawyers and others dealing with their courts.
“The role of judges along with the very existence of the judiciary is to safeguard democracy and democratic values through observance and implementation of the rule of law,” he stated.
“Judges are not politicians who are swayed and/or must respond to changing political dynamics, “partisan interests, public clamor, or fear of criticism” during or after elections or at any time”, he said.
Cllr. Warner’s statement was contained in a speech delivered at the opening of the 10th national convention of the National Association of Trial Judges (NATJL) at the Temple of Justice on Thursday, February 1, 2024.
His statement was premised on the theme: Efficient, Predictable, and Fair Disposition of Cases is indispensable to safeguarding democratic values and promote confidence in the Judiciary.
Cllr. Warner emphasized that the duties of judges to dispose of cases fairly and timely are established by law and cannot be changed by judges.
“It is also conceded that discharging the duties of judges requires competence in the law, but such competence as relates to Liberian judges is presumed conclusively with reasonable assurance not hardly contested. The focus therefore is and should be on how to ensure that disposition of cases is done efficiently, fairly, and timely based on existing law found in statutes and precedents. I submit that there are a couple of ways that judges could do nothing more than performing their normal duties, and the Liberian judiciary would still be considered as successful in safeguarding democratic values”, he said.
He said safeguarding democratic values and promoting confidence in the judiciary will require judges disposing of cases with efficiency, predictability, and fairness.