MONROVIA – Former Chief Justice Gloria Musu Scott has blamed the Executive and the Legislature branches of government for the huge number of cases piling up at the Judiciary.
Justice Scott said the caseload on the Judiciary is due to the low budgetary support, signing and ratification of international laws by the Executive and the Legislature without the impact of the Judiciary.
The former Chief Justice made the disclosure on Monday at the opening of the 4th National Judicial Conference taking place at the Ministerial Complex in Congo Town.
The 4th Judicial Conference is being held under the theme: “The Law, Public Policy, And The Economy”.
Cllr. Scott spoke on the “Investing in Facilities, Processes and Skills for Improved Court Performance”.
“The various international obligations signed by the Executive Branch and ratified by the Legislature without reference to the Judiciary also impact the caseload of the Judiciary,” she said.
Further commenting on the limited budgetary support to the Judiciary, the former Chief Justice said, “The national decision makers are constitutionally required to fairly provide the funding for a truly fair and impartial Judiciary dispensing justice without fear and favor always shortchange the court system.”
She said, “Personnel in the Judiciary still, continue to receive far less than personnel of comparable positions in the other two branches. This age-old problem of disparity in salaries for similar duties continues even though the National Civil Service was statutorily constituted and constitutionally protected in 1986; to ensure equal for equal pay. The Judiciary is the stepchild of the Government of Liberia.”
Cllr. Scott further stated that the underfunding of the Judiciary and the consciousness of the public demand for justice is lost on the Legislature.
“Has the Republic (Republic of Liberia) been committed to justice since its inception? I think not. My easy research proves that decision makers constitutionally tasked with the appropriation of the national income always underfunds the Judiciary. I will put it in simple terms, the Legislature has always ignored the public demand for justice in the courts of Liberia.”
“The result has been a hamstrung institution barely functioning and existing as a shadow of the other two branches. This is 2021, 200 years since the arrival of the colonists, the public has the same demand and expectations of the Judiciary on the one hand while the Judiciary has the same complaints. The consciousness of the public demand for justice is lost on the Legislature.”
Cllr. Scott is a Liberian lawyer, politician and jurist who served as Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Liberia from 1997-2003.
The judicial conference is the first of its kind under Chief Justice Francis S. Korkpor, Sr. since it was held in 2010 under late former Chief Justice Johnnie Lewis approximately 10 year ago.