By R. Joyclyn Wea
MONROVIA-It has been stated by Article 72(b) of the 1986 Constitution of Liberia which provides that “The Chief Justice and The Associate Justices of the Supreme Court and Judges of subordinate courts of records shall be retired at the age of seventy (70); provided, however, that a Justice or Judge who has attained that age may continue in office for as long as may be necessary to enable him to render judgment or perform any other judicial duty in regard to proceedings entertained before he or she attained that age.”
The above provision implies that, though Chief Justice Francis S. Korkpor will be turning 70 September 5, 2022, the age required for Justices to retire, he will not leave office on the date mentioned or anytime in September as circulating until all matters that are before him are disposed of.
Justice Korkpor as per matter of law, are to write opinions in those cases that was heard and deliveed same, this might run into the rest of the months or even enter next year depending on his ability to complete his opinion into those matter that he has presided over.
Since the constitution is not specific as to the period a Justice or Judge who attained said retirement age should leave office, Justice Korkpor could spend a longer time in office and continue to enjoy the benefits attached with said position.
This might as well result to the delay in the President’s appointing a new Chief Justice to preside over the Judiciary after Justice Korkpor’s regime.
Similar issue with former Associate Justice Philips A.Z. Banks was appointed in 2010 and officially retired from public office on August 7, 2018, months after he attained the age required age of 70 on June 18, 2018.
In the last opening of the Supreme Court, the Priest of the High Court openly informed the Liberian people that he will be turning 70 this September, the age required for a justice or judge to retire from public office in Liberia.
Sources says, upon his retirement, Justice Korkpor will start to run his farm and other businesses.
Chief Justice Francis S. Korkpor, Sr., is the longest serving public official in the Judiciary Branch of Government with several years of experience working in the legal sector.
Justice Korkpor began his public and professional services at the Ministry of Justice, Republic of Liberia, where he was first recruited as a Research Coordinator immediately upon obtaining his BA degree from the University of Liberia. His service at the Ministry of Justice, also witnessed his rise to leadership positions within the Government of Liberia specifically serving as Assistant Minister for Economic Affairs, Assistant Minister for Legal Affairs, and then Deputy Minister for Legal Affairs.
Due to the civil war in Liberia, like many other Liberians, Chief Justice Korkpor left the country in 1990. He returned in 1991 and went into private law practice. He established the Tiala Law Associates, Incorporate, and for about 13 consecutive years, served as its Managing Director.
Notable amongst the clients he worked for was the Catholic Church in Liberia and its affiliate institutions. He was also a member of the Catholic Justice and Peace Commission, a human rights organization, and for many years, served as its Chairman of the Board of Directors.
In 2004, during the reign of the National Transitional Government of Liberia, then Counsellor Francis S. Korkpor, Sr., was appointed to the Supreme Court of Liberia as Associate Justice for the period of two years, a position to which he was nominated and subsequently reappointed by former president Ellen Johnson Sirleaf upon assuming the presidency of the Country in 2006.
On April 18, 2013, His Honor Francis S. Korkpor, Sr., was appointed Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Liberia, a position he currently occupies.