Judges, Magistrates Warned against Slackness

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Chief Justice Francis Korkpor

Chief Justice Francis S. Korkpor has warned judges and magistrates against slackness in the discharge of their duties or else they would be penalized.

He made the assertion on Monday when he spoke at the opening of the October Term of the Supreme Court of Liberia.

Justice Korkpor said magistrates and judges report late for work in the morning and leave early.

“Some are teaching at higher institutions of learning during primetime when their courts should be in session,” he added.
Chief Justice Korkpor said it is wrong and amounts to a conflict of interest.

“Judges involved in such unwholesome acts should desist now or they will face penalty,” the High Court head warned.

Meanwhile, Associate Justice Philip A. Z. Banks, when he spoke at a dedicatory ceremony of a new office building for the National Association of Trial Judges (NATJ), said, if a judge is operating without an office, that individual is considered as a “handbag judge,” and must be referred to the NATJ, because they have been working without a genuine office.

The ceremony held at the Temple of Justice was attended by three of the five judges of the Supreme Court as well as magistrates.

Justice Banks also told members of the NATJ that for over a decade, they have been working as “handbag judges.”

“For the past years, you have been seen as handbag or briefcase judges, because you have not had the opportunity to secure an office space at the Temple of Justice, but for now, you will no more be called handbag judges because you now have offices where you will gather to discuss issues affecting your institution,” the Supreme Court Justice told his audience.

Justice Banks also used the occasion to encourage members of the association to see the office as a place where they can meet and discuss issues relating to the association and the deposition of justice.

He, however, assured the judges that they should consider themselves as an “integrated part of the judiciary.”

In his remarks, the president of the NATJ, Judge James Jones of the Debt Court, lauded the Justice for the office space.

Judge Jones said since the establishment of the association they have been finding it difficult to operate in their own office.

“For the past years, we have organized ourselves as NATJ, we have been finding it hard to obtain our own office, but thank God that we can now have a place to be called our own office,” he said.

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