In an effort to curtail the spread of the deadly Corona Virus Disease (COVID-19) and in adherence to the Health Emergency declared by the Ministry of Health, the Supreme Court of Liberia has instituted the a seven-count measures within the Judiciary Branch of Government with immediate effect.
In a press release signed by the Director Judicial Public Information Atty. Darryl Ambrose Nmah, Sr., the Supreme Court of Liberia said the Preventive Protocol of Hand Washing shall be strictly adhered to at all courts throughout the Republic.
To this end, the high court indicated that hand washing buckets will be provided at the entrances of all courts in the Republic, beginning with Montserrado and Margibi Counties.
Court Officers, the Supreme Court indicates, have been mandated to enforce this regulation and anyone refusing to adhere thereto will not be permitted on the premises of the court.
“Cases before the Supreme Court will be minimally assigned so that no more than five (5) Counsellors will be available for the presentation of arguments before the Court,” the Supreme Court indicated, saying that the Court will concentrate more at this time on writing opinions in cases already heard.
The Supreme Court release asserted that all Circuit Judges are urged to encourage party litigants to opt for bench trials instead of jury trials, were possible, and indicated however that where a party litigant insists on his/her/its right to trial by jury, the Judge MUST suspend the hearing of said case until the health situation in the country is declared safe.
“All Circuit and Magisterial Court Judges are to assign no more than two (2) cases per day for trial (one case in the morning and the other in the afternoon) and ONLY party litigants and their lawyers are permitted into the court for each trial. The public is asked to stay away to avoid overcrowding,” the Supreme Court accentuated.
The Judiciary, the Supreme Court indicated, is temporarily scaling down its workforce at this time.
Accordingly, the Court said each subordinate court is required to have a maximum of five (5) support staffs (Clerk, Clerk Typist, File Clerk, Bailiff and Sheriff) at work each day. This restriction does not include Court Security and Maintenance Workers where applicable.
Classes of the Professional Magistrate Training Program (PMTP-4) at the James A. A, Pierre Judicial Institute are hereby suspended with immediate effect until further notice, the Supreme Court said.
The High Court pointed out that during this period, normal court activities throughout the country will be closed at 3:00PM, from Mondays to Fridays until further notice.
“ALL employees of the Judiciary Branch of Government, Republic of Liberia and the general public are to take due note of these measures and observe their strict adherence,” the release concluded.