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A NEGATIVE BUT TRUE REPORT ABOUT SIERRA LEONE JUDICIARY - August 2012.
Does the sierra leone bar have a mandate for lawyers to obtain continuing education credits to update themselves on emerging legal issues with and without the country? The british left us a good system and we have succeeded in politicizing it and largely screwing it up. If any of you guys have been members of the bar in advanced countries or places such as nigeria and ghana or even neighboring Liberia, then you would understand that the sierra leone bar association has ill served the legal community and the sierra leonean populace at large. The time for change is now.
I walked into Justice Hamiltons chambers and when he told me that he was a supreme court judge i looked around his room for indicia of what I expect the offices of an associate judge in the country's highest court should have and was sorely disappointed when i saw that he had a few books on the wall and that was about it. So i espied a hand written note and I asked him what that was and was more than aghast when he told me that it was a supreme court decision that he had participated in. I left his office with the feeling of despair and disappointment in the judiciary of my country.
Maybe we should give up the pomp of judges marching in huge cumbersome gowns a white gloves going into church services or mosque services. The gown is a symbol of British imperialism and the gloves........ well what is one doing wearing a woolen gown and gloves in 120 degrees Fahrenheit temperature? This past february I was in court with Nicolaas Brown Marke as the Judge and I watched him have a "fan boy" at his beckon. This young man followed the judge with a huge standing floor fan, when he took a break into his chambers and came back down with it when the Judge took the bench. I felt so sorry for the young man and though in this temperature what tradition is it that needs to be continued when the risk of having a heat stroke in those garbs.
Neither the wig nor the gown makes a good lawyer. I have been in courts and I make it a point of duty to go into the courts of sierra leone each time that I am there and what i see there is unbelievable and the mere fact that you guys allow the practice of law to continue under these circumstances is even more disappointing.
I remember a few years ago when i paid a visit to the courts and observed a foul smelling odor and came to find out that running in the gutters in open view was RAW SEWAGE. I went in to the Chief Justices' office and asked her why was this happening and she informed me that she had no control over it and all she could do was authorize the use of Carbolic to take away the smell.
who amongst you has written a paper to the ministry of justice letting them know that you refuse to practice in a court with such low standards of cleanliness? None not even the bar. Now thats what I would expect a proactive bar membership to do. Our job as lawyers is to change society but not in sierra leone where the practice of law is a hand to mot practice. The time for change is now and it is long overdue. Stand up folks and smell the coffee. The sierra Leone has not served the legal population very well so far and they should all be fired including the newly elected leader blyden jenkins.
We hope that lawyers in Sierra Leone take on board these feedbacks from their customers and will see that communication between them and clients is essential.
Over the last two years of our existence, unfortunately, a significant number of negative comments continue to emerge concerning the behaviour of lawyers in Sierra Leone. As well as finding many of them to be “arrogant” and “rude” it was also reported that many lawyers “do not return phone calls” or “reply to emails”. We are told that Sierra Leone lawyers routinely fail to communicate with their clients once payment has been made. This is quite alarming. We expect our “good lawyers” to communicate and update clients regularly as a basic policy.
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