Judiciary Launches Five Years Strategic Plan By: Yassah J Wright

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In the quest to regain public trust and get the judiciary on a sustained trajectory of reform and development that would improve access to justice. The Liberian Judiciary through the Chief Justice of the supreme Court of Liberia, Sie-A-Nyene G. Yuoh, on Tuesday, February 6, 2024 officially launched the judiciary five years strategic plan. “Having made these few remarks, I am now pleased, on behalf of the Full bench of the Supreme Court of Liberia, to declare this 5-year Strategic Plan of the Judiciary (2024-2028) officially launched” noted Chief Justice Yuoh.  She said the Supreme Court would look forward to working with all partners to ensure that this plan is fully implemented. Chief Justice Yuoh acknowledged that it is conspicuous that the public knowledgeable of the fact that the Judiciary over the years has been plagued with multiple challenges ranging from inadequate budgetary allocation to poor infrastructure and human capacity. The Chief Justice that these challenges have affected the overall performance of the Judiciary as a system. Upon assuming the helm of leadership of the Judiciary in 2022, Chief Justice Yuoh, vision for a new Judiciary under her leadership was crafted into what she referred to as “Rebranding the Judiciary”. She furthered said that it is a vision which encapsulates renewal of the system through addressing systematic weaknesses that have impeded the effective function of the Judiciary over the years. The Chief Justice provided that the new five years strategic plan seeks the review of Supreme Court Rules and Procedures to reduce case backlogs; public awareness on the jury law; address issues of systemic institutional corruption; developing communication policies to enhance effective judicial information dissemination to improve public confidence in the Judiciary by reviewing the current structures of theGEC and JIC to develop procedural manuals for the effective operation of the judiciary. She also said it is to enhance the human capacity development of relevant staff for digitization through the continuing of judicial education for general capacity development and recruitment and deployment of thirty additional public defenders for increased access to justice. Chief Justice Yuoh adding that it would promote efficient case management for improved access to justice through the development of case management policies and guidelines that are rollout of modern case management system in all circuits, and training of relevant staff in case management. Madam Chief Justice indicated that would improve the administration of criminal justice through the reform of the criminal procedure rules and practices that rollout of sexual offences division in other counties and enhanced collaboration with other actors to address issues such as pre-trial detention across the country. At the same time, the new strategic plan seeks to develop the Judiciary’s infrastructure for improved access to justice through the construction of a new Supreme Court building that would further decongest the current building that is overwhelmed.

And also construct seven circuit court/Judicial complexes around the country and as well as the construction of 20 magisterial courts around the country that would seek the refurbishment and operationalization of three sexual offences courts in three counties; and digitization of the Supreme Court and all circuit court complexes. Intimating that it would improve Constitutional Rights litigation and judicial integrity by rolling out jury management offices in the remaining counties. The Liberian chief justice, Sie-A-Nyene G Yuoh expressed her conviction that the goals and objectives defined in the Strategic Plan, when actualized, will get the Judiciary on a sustained trajectory of reform, asserting that it could never revert to business as usual.  According to her, she regretted that her tenure as Chief Justice may not allow her to see the full implementation of the vision, but with the confidence that she has in the team at the Liberian Judiciary, she is convinced that the vision, as espoused in this strategic plan, will be implemented to the fullest. “I am of the conviction that the goals and objectives defined in this Strategic Plan, when actualized, will get the Judiciary on a sustained trajectory of reform, never to revert to business as usual. Even though my tenure as Chief Justice may not allow me to see the full implementation of this vision, but with the confidence that I have in my team, I am convinced that this vision, as espoused in this strategic plan, will be implemented to the fullest.”

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