THE SUPREME COURT OF LIBERIA
The Supreme Court is the head of the Judiciary Branch of the Government of the Republic of Liberia, its Administrative head and spokesperson is the Chief Justice who shall preside over the business of the Court and other ordinary meetings of the Judiciary.
Composition: The 5-members Supreme Court bench is composed of a Chief Justice and four Associate Justices who are ranked in seniority order based on tenure on the Supreme Court bench with the longest serving ranked most senior Associate Justice after the Chief Justice. For deliberation purposes, three members of the Supreme Court bench shall constitute a quorum. If a quorum cannot be obtained at any time to hear a case, the President of the Republic of Liberia shall appoint an Ad Hoc Justice from the Circuit Judges for the purpose of having a quorum. Consideration of said Circuit Judge for appointment shall be in the order of seniority.
The President shall nominate and by and with the consent of the Senate, appoint a Chief Justice and four Associate Justices of the Supreme Court, any three of whom shall constitute a quorum at any regular term. They will hold office during good behavior.
No person shall be appointed or hold office as a Justice of the Supreme Court who has not been a citizen of Liberia for at least ten years immediately previous to his appointment, who has not attained the age of thirty years, and who is not a counselor at law licensed to practice in the Supreme Court and engaged in the active practice of law for at least seven years next preceding his appointment. Active practice of law, as used herein, shall include judicial service, governmental service and teaching of law.
In the Supreme Court Chambers, there shall be arranged in order of seniority, five (5) special seats of honor. The seat of honor placed in the center of the row is specifically reserved for the Chief Justice. On the right and left sides of the Chief Justice there shall be placed two seats of honor on the immediate right is specifically reserved for the Senior Associate Justice. The seat of honor on the immediately left of the Chief Justice is specifically reserved for the Associate Justice next in rank. The seat of honor on the extreme left is specifically reserved for the Associate Justice last in rank.
Order of Seating of the Honored Justices of the Supreme Court of Liberia.
To occupy any of the five (5) seats of honor so arranged on the row for the first time, the Chief Justice and the four Associate Justices must be commissioned as Chief Justice or Associate Justice and ceremoniously seated during a ceremony planned for the purpose and no one shall occupy any of the seats of honor unless he is commissioned and ceremoniously seated to enable him to participate in the deliberations of the Court.
Any seat of honor which is made vacant by reasons of death, resignation or impeachment from office of a Justice of the Supreme Court, shall remain vacant until the vacancy is filled by appointment and such appointee is commissioned and ceremoniously seated.
Jurisdiction: The Supreme Court exercises original jurisdiction in cases involving Ambassadors, Ministers, and cases in which a country is a party. The Supreme Court also is the final arbiter of constitutional issues and exercises final appellate jurisdiction in all cases emanating from the courts of records (Circuit and specialized courts), from rulings of Justices of the Supreme Court presiding in Chambers on applications for remedial and extraordinary writs, courts not of record, administrative agencies, autonomous agencies or any other authority, both as to law and fact.
In the adjudication process, the Chief Justice and the Associate Justices shall have equal votes to reach a decision. In case of tied votes, the Chief Justice who, as a matter of course, is the last vote, shall cast the decisive vote and the votes of the majority sitting and voting shall be binding on the court.
No Justice of the Supreme Court shall sit on any case in which he/she is interested or has made a ruling as a Justice presiding in Chambers, in connection with an application for a remedial or extraordinary writ or on which he/she sat while a judge of a lower court.
Terms/Sessions of the Court: The Supreme Court shall hold two terms annually, commencing on the Second Monday of October and on the Second Monday of March and continuing as long as the business before the Court may require. They shall be known as the October and March Term respectively.
Justice Presiding in Chambers: At all times, in term and out of term, there shall be a Justice presiding in the Chambers of the Supreme Court who shall be designated by the Chief Justice in regular rotation from among the Associate Justices, and no such Associate Justice designated shall delegate his powers to another. The Justice presides in chambers of the Supreme Court to issue various writs; such as Mandamus, Prohibition, Quo Warranto, and other remedial writs and processes. The power to issue such writs and remedial processes are exclusively to the Justice in Chambers.