Chief Justice Francis S. Korkpor on Saturday, November 25, reminded members of the Liberian National Bar Association (LNBA) that a democratic governance system creates an impartial court system and a stable environment in which more responsive businesses can flourish to meet the public’s needs.
Chief Justice Korkpor said because democracy demands the popular will of the people expressed through frequent and competitive free and fair elections, it compels elected leaders to be more inclined to respond to social needs.
“Democracy has checks and balances based on the flow of information, transparency, less corruption, smooth leadership and succession and more predictable, firmer commitment to the rule of law,” he said. “Economic development is essential for maintaining a stable government capable of providing goods and services.”
Addressing the opening of the three day annual National Convention of the Liberian National Bar Association held in the conference hall of the Peace Empire Hotel in Ganta City, Nimba County, he deliberated on the theme “Enhancing Economic Integration, Rule of Law and Democratic Governance in West Africa.”
The occasion brought together over 400 legal practitioners from across the country and also from Sierra Leone, Ivory Coast and the ECOWAS Court.
Justice Korkpor said stronger economic ties between countries lead to political cooperation which can help resolve conflicts peacefully and bring about stability.
The more integrated the economies of countries become, the fewer the trade barriers and the better the economic and political coordination there is between member countries, he said.
On the rule of law, Justice Korkpor indicated that individuals and authorities within the state, whether public or private, should be bound by and entitled to the benefits of laws fully administered in the courts of competent jurisdiction whose independence is absolute and not subject to any power or influence.
“This requires a strong legal system in which rules are clearly well-understood and fairly enforced; and all rights, including property and contracts rights, are respected,” the Chief Justice noted.
“It also requires that the powers of the state be derived from and limited either by legislation enacted by a legislature or judicial decision made by independent courts.”
He said the rule of law is the key driver of regional integration that regulates the relationship between the state and individuals with pre-established laws; and the state, no less than the individuals it governs, must be the subject of the state.
The chief justice said, though there are differences in the legal systems and regimes of the countries of the sub-region, there should be cooperation on acceptable regional and international legal framework that is necessary to fight economic, financial and other crimes which are associated with integration and globalization.
“This is where our bar and the legal bar of member states of the region can play key roles, working together both on uniformity and a common pursuit,” Justice Korkpor stated.
The President of LNBA Cllr. Moses Paegar expressed great happiness over the high turnout and the presence of the four justices of the Supreme Court and said the LNBA under his administration will be proactive in its dealings with members.