the commercial court republic of liberia

Report
The Commercial Court
Republic of Liberia
UTILIZING THE LIBERIAN COMMERCIAL
CODE AND THE COMMERCIAL COURT:
CHALLENGES AND BENEFITS
31Aug'12 Bar Assembly Commercial
Court/RL Presentation
1
Outline of Presentation
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Introduction
Essay Question
Perspective
Analysis
Challenges
Key Findings
Conclusion
Recommendations
31Aug'12 Bar Assembly Commercial
Court/RL Presentation
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Perspective
• Jurisdiction over all civil claims arising/related
to commercial transaction for at least
USD15,000.00.
• Exclusive jurisdiction over cases of admiralty.
• Concurrent Jurisdiction with debt court over
debt actions.
• Territorial jurisdiction over commercial
matters irrespective of resident of parties or
place cause of action arose.
31Aug'12 Bar Assembly Commercial
Court/RL Presentation
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Introduction
• It is generally agreed that our dockets are swamped, and that the faster
we move to relieve courts of the overburdening of cases, the quicker we
allow for rapid handling of matters brought before courts;
• If we can do this, we make real the possibility to showcase this country’s
commitment to the rule of law, and to the swift and fair administration of
justice;
• Our struggle with judicial reform is not inimitable to Liberia rather it is
consistent with post conflict reconstruction and development;
• The creation of new courts and other justice institutions to ensure fair,
speedy and competent adjudication of matters cannot be argued with;
accordingly,
• Liberia’s first commercial court is established inter alia to ease some of
the above-mentioned challenges and to promote an enabling commercial
environment.
31Aug'12 Bar Assembly Commercial
Court/RL Presentation
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Essay Question
To what extent does creation of a commercial
court facilitates:
– Prompt determination of commercial cases?
– Demonstration of State’s assurance for post-conflict
judicial reform?
– Speedy, fair and proficient administration of law for
the promotion of commerce and allied sectors?
– Decongestion of related courts dockets?
– Expansion of Public/Private interest?
31Aug'12 Bar Assembly Commercial
Court/RL Presentation
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Analysis
• Capacity to modify rules governing filing of precepts
outside of existing laws, but within confines of law.
• Jurisdictional primacy over commercial matters in
Liberia.
• Application for summary judgment filed only after pretrial conference.
• Exceptions to interlocutory ruling by a judge reviewable
by commercial court full bench.
• Appeal from commercial court not stay on enforcement
of Judgment.
• Judgment to be fully paid pending disposition of appeal.
31Aug'12 Bar Assembly Commercial
Court/RL Presentation
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Analysis
• Payment of full judgment condition precedent for
completion of appeal.
• Require arbitration for swift resolution of case if the
court so believes.
• Grant application to appropriate property materially
related to action.
• Non-jury trial.
• Judges have relevant experience, competence and
acumen for skill enhancement through continuing
legal and applicable education.
31Aug'12 Bar Assembly Commercial
Court/RL Presentation
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Challenges
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Budgetary appropriation/political will
Compensation/Benefits
Information technology
Knowledge-raising
Records retrieval
Capacity building
Resistance
Misrepresentation
31Aug'12 Bar Assembly Commercial
Court/RL Presentation
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Key Findings
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Processes court driven
Robust pre-trial conference regime
Speedy, fair determination of cases
Proper records management
Competent administration
Ability to source funding
Increased court users’ confidence
Some political will
Limited global contact/exposure
Unknown judicial plan for professional & personal dev.
Limited Bar awareness
31Aug'12 Bar Assembly Commercial
Court/RL Presentation
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Conclusion
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Records available for monitoring & evaluation
Improved records management & retrieval system
Core competency to handle cases
Demonstrated professionalism
Limited political will/support
Timely service delivery
Enabling commerce and development
Changing landscape of court administration/case
management
• Deference for bench & bar
• Information sharing between bench & bar
• Civility to party litigants
31Aug'12 Bar Assembly Commercial
Court/RL Presentation
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Recommendations
Equip Judges to meet the demands of the 21st
Century
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Automate court processes
Provide continuing legal & related education
Support professional/personal growth & development
Improve salaries and benefits
Encourage high performance, integrity & professionalism
Promote international affiliations
Exhibit political/financial support
Continued information sharing on purpose/processes
Continued service delivery to public
Balance criticisms with action plan for enrichment programs
31Aug'12 Bar Assembly Commercial
Court/RL Presentation
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Thank You
31Aug'12 Bar Assembly Commercial
Court/RL Presentation
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