The top justice of the Supreme Court, Her Honor Sie-A-Nyene, has expressed outrage at the cut in the pay and benefits of the justices of the Supreme Court and judges of lower courts, calling it a breach of the constitution. Justice Yuoh made the remark at the Liberia National Bar Association’s annual convention, during her opening speech.
The Chief Justice of the Supreme Court claimed that it was well known that the Remuneration and Standardization Law, also known as the Harmonization Policy, caused the salaries of Supreme Court justices and judges of lower courts to be reduced. The 1986 Constitution’s Article 72(a), she argued, clearly states that “allowances and benefits paid to Justices of the Supreme Court and judges of the subordinate courts may by law be increased but may not be diminished except under a national program enacted by the legislature, and shall not be subject to taxation.
According to the chief justice, the law’s intent is to ensure that justices and judges are fairly compensated for their work given that the Constitution forbids them from engaging in any activities independently or jointly for financial gain or benefits, as is permitted for the other two branches of government. Justice Yuoh urged her fellow justices and judges to remain unfazed while also reiterating their obligation to continue serving the Liberian People with honor by delivering justice in a free, impartial, and independent manner.
“I exhorted you to continue serving the Liberian People honorably by administering justice in a free, impartial, and independent manner, and I want to seize this opportunity to declare that.”
The chief justice of Liberia cautioned Magistrates against individually requesting an audience with her for the purpose of channeling their complaints and other concerns and to instead use the channels at their disposal. She listed a few routes, such as the court administrator’s office, which submits quarterly reports to the circuit judges who oversee the respective magisterial jurisdictions, or associations like the National Trial Judges Association.
Justice Yuoh cautioned all judicial actors, including attorneys and judges, to make it a requirement to adhere to the letter of the law, adding that judicial actors should bear a legal and moral obligation to ensure that the application of the law is done in accordance with the spirit and intent of the law’s framers.
Justice Yuoh continued, “We must constantly be reminded that changes in the law have meaningful ramifications for our legal system.”
Reported by: G. Watson Richards
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