‘If Citizens Lose Confidence in the Judicial System, They Take Law in Their Own Hands’

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From right: Commerce Min. Wilson Tarpeh, House Speaker Bhofal Chambers and Finance Minister Tweah at the Business Climate Forum in Ganta

Says Cllr Marvey

A senior associate at the Heritage Partners & Associates, Inc, Cllr. Mark M. M. Marvey, says the slowness of due process in the country contributes to some citizens taking the law into their own hands.

Speaking at the close of a two-day “Business Climate Forum” in Ganta on Saturday, February 2, he said, “If citizens lose confidence in the judicial system, they take the law into their own hands.”

Cllr. Marvey, who spoke on the topic, “Enforcing Contracts,” said one of the key components in enforcing contracts is when they are adjudicated through the court of justice.

However, he said he has observed a lot of lapses in the adjudication component, including the timely determination of matters, the quality of the decision and the objectivities of the judges, as well as the ethical engagement of the lawyers.

He said these factors, among other things, are key components in determining a fair outcome of a case in court.

Cllr. Marvey noted that some decisions of the court have undermined the interest of investors in the country, because they did not uphold the long-standing precedent, and neither did they inspire public confidence in the judiciary.

Cllr. Mark Marvey giving a presentation at the forum

“The temptation of having political influence, such as interference from the legislature, the executive and powerful people in society, undermines the court’s decisions,” he said.

“If the people lack faith or trust in the capability of the court to deliver fair judgment arisen from a business or property rights, the aggrieved on the other hand will take the law into their own hands,” he said.

He said there is a need for the judiciary to be independent in the discharge of its functions and judges who are adequately trained and provided with adequate support can be able to over the influence from outside the judiciary.

Cllr. Marvey said attention is needed to ensure that the judiciary can be independent, that lawyers can play their roles in an ethical manner, that the court can adequately provide resources so that it can be effective in delivering justice in a timely fashion.

He also noted that it takes 30 days for a case to be filed and served, 730 days for trial and obtain a judgment and 540 days to enforce the judgment, something he said was not appropriate for investors or the business environment.

The occasion was organized by the Business Climate Working Group, with the theme, “resolving challenges to getting credit, resolving insolvency and enforcing the contract.”

The forum brought together the three branches of government and experts from the World Bank, the Swedish Embassy and the Liberia Bankers Association, headed by Mr. John Davies, among others.

The Business Climate Forum brought together the three branches of government, experts from the World Bank, the Swedish Embassy and the Liberia Bankers Association, among others.

House Speaker Bhofal Chambers and Senator Prince Y. Johnson were present while a statement from the Chief Justice in appreciation of the occasion was read.

Ministers Samuel Tweah of Ministry of Finance, Planning and Development, and Prof Wilson Tarpeh, Ministry of Commerce and Industry were also in attendance.

Min. Tweah in his opening statement underscored the importance of the judiciary in the process of enforcing contracts. He also told the Bankers Association and other stakeholders that the forum was intended to clarify what the problems are and then come up with solutions.

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