The court observed that lawyers representing both the appellant and the appellee in the cases had filed their legal briefs before the Supreme Court just before the hearing of the cases, which was in violation of the rules of the Supreme Court.
Chief Justice Francis S. Korkpor, speaking for the Court, said: “This filing of brief on the morning of the hearing of the case is in gross violation of the Supreme Court’s Rule on filing of briefs.”
The Court’s Rules, says: “Within ten days after service of the Notice of Completion of Appeal, the appellant shall obtain or cause the issuance of a certificate by the Clerk of Court that the records of the Court below have been received in the Court.
Both parties shall within five (5) days after or within fifteen (15) days after service of the Notice of Completion of Appeal filed their respective brief with the Clerk of this Court.”
The Chief Justice noted that the Court has from time to time admonished lawyers to comply with the Rules of Court, especially the rule on filing of brief for the obvious reason that when cases before the Court are called for hearing, there will be no delay.
“We will not hear this case today because the briefs have just been received and there is no way that we can intelligently follow the argument of the lawyers as well as the law citations contained in the briefs,” the Chief Justice said.
A release from the Supreme Court said this was the same situation in all cases called for hearing on December 13, where lawyers representing the parties failed to file their briefs within the statutory time.
Despite the pleas from the lawyers, the release said, a fine of US$500 was imposed on each legal team with the exception of the lawyer representing the government of Liberia, by and through the Liberia Anti-Corruption Commission (LACC).
The lawyer had filed his brief in time, but was fined US$100 for including an attorney-at-law as counsel of record in the said case, knowing that an attorney-at-law, by law is not allowed to appear and argue before the Supreme Court.
All lawyers were mandated to pay the fines into government revenue within 72 hours of be held in contempt of court.