Court to Decide Jurisdiction Claim

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The Commercial Court at the Temple of Justice yesterday received a five-page “proposed ruling” from state lawyers and lawyers representing Prestige and Alliance Motor Corporation, which now compels the court to decide whether or not it has a subject matter jurisdiction in a US$10.7 million transaction that occurred prior to its establishment in 2010.

The submission was due to an instruction from the three-judge panel for the lawyers to do so.

Subject matter jurisdiction refers to the nature of the claim or controversy, a legal expert explained to the Daily Observer. “If the court does not have jurisdiction, the defendant may challenge the suit on that ground, and the suit may be overturned in a subsequent action by one of the parties in the case,” the expert added.

The Commercial Court was established by legislation in 2010 as a specialized court to provide efficient and effective dispute resolution in commercial cases throughout the county.

But government lawyers have argued that the court lacks jurisdiction to hear or pass judgment on the US$10.7 million vehicle debt lawsuit brought against the government by Prestige and Alliance Motor Corporation, owned by a Lebanese businessman, George Haddad.

In counter argument, Haddad’s lawyers maintained that the court has jurisdiction to determine their complaint against the government.

Sherman and Sherman Law Firm, representing the company, filed an “Action of Debt” against the Liberian government for allegedly crediting a fleet of vehicles from 2003 to 2006, totaling over US$10.7 million, which the government has failed to settle.

Besides the cars, the lawyers further alleged that the company provided spare parts during the transaction with the government, and subsequently asked the court to give their client justice.

The case continues.

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