Liberia’s Civil Law Court to Bar Unlicensed Legal Practitioners


Monrovia – Lawyers who don’t have license or a renewed one will not be permitted to practice before Civil Law Court “B” at the Temple of Justice, Judge Johannes Zogbay Zlahn, presiding judge of the Civil Law Court has warned.

Report by Kennedy L. Yangian kennedyly[email protected]

Judge Zlahn sent out the caveat to lawyers Monday during the opening of the September 2016 Term of the Court at the Temple of Justice attended by a cross section of legal practitioners.

“We note that no lawyer who has not obtained his/her annual license for the year shall be permitted to practice before this court during this term of court nor will a lawyer who has not paid his/her annual dues of the Liberian National Bar Association or who has not complied with or met all his/her financial obligations to the LNBA be permitted to practice before this term of court,” said Judge Zlahn.

Other part of Judge Zlahn’s charge stated: “lawyers appearing before the court are required to exhibit their license and evidence of compliance with all financial obligations to the LNBA and that there will be no exception to this requirement even if the lawyer in question is a counselor at the Supreme Court Bar.”

It is not clear whether Judge Zlahn’s charge will be exercised by other judges in the various courts at the Temple of Justice but lawyers who FrontPage Africa contacted on this latest decision of the judge said anonymously that they would refer the matter to the Bar Association.

 Delivering his speech on the theme, ‘the role of the citizenry in the dispensation of justice in the post-conflict nation Liberia’, Judge Zlahn said that with confidence, all Liberians do agree that an important component of post-conflict peace building is the effective implementation of justice and the rule of law.

“For if our people who were affected by the nearly 14 years of a senseless war do not believe that they can obtain justice in our courts, then it will be difficult, if not impossible, for us to maintain and nourish the fledgling democracy and peace we enjoy today,” he said.

The Civil Law Court Judge who defined the rule of law from the United Nations (UN) standpoint, said a rule of law is the principle of governance in which all persons, institutions and entities, public and private including the state itself are accountable to laws that are publicly promulgated, equally enforced and independently adjudicated which are consistent with international human rights norms and standards.

 He stated that based on the definition of the rule of law, he does not hesitate to say that the citizenry should be in compliance with the rule of law by obeying and honoring all court decisions, judgments, orders or precepts made rendered or issued consistent with due process of law, even if the citizenry disagrees with such decisions, judgments orders or precepts.

 Judge Zlahn continued that he deems it necessary to sound out the warning because on countless occasions, some citizens have deliberately refused to comply with decisions, orders and judgments of the trial courts in the country, despite the facts that those decisions orders and judgments were made, after the recalcitrant citizens have had their day in court, consistent with the due process of law.

 According to Judge Zlahn, in the system of government, the Judiciary is responsible for protecting the rights and freedom of every citizen but the judiciary can only protect individual rights and freedom if the decisions, judgments and orders of judicial officers are respected, obeyed and complied with.