Chief Justice of Liberia

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Chief Justice of Liberia
Coat of arms of Liberia.svg
Francis Korkpor.jpg
Francis Korkpor

since 18 April 2013
Appointer Presidential nomination with Senate confirmation
Term length 70 years of age
Inaugural holder Samuel Benedict
Formation Constitution of Liberia
26 July 1847
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The Chief Justice of Liberia is the head of the judicial branch of the Government of the Republic of Liberia and the chief judge of the Supreme Court of Liberia.

Appointment and term

Article 54(c) of the Constitution stipulates that the Chief Justice is appointed by the President of Liberia and confirmed by the Senate. Per Article 68, eligibility for the position of Chief Justice requires that the candidate:

  • be a citizen of Liberia;
  • be of good moral character;
  • have been a counselor of the Supreme Court Bar for at least five years.

Article 71 states that the Chief Justice "shall hold their offices during good behavior." According to Article 72(b), the Chief Justice must retire from office upon reaching the age of 70, though he may remain on the Court long enough to render judgment or perform any judicial duties regarding matters he began addressing before reaching that age.


In addition to acting as head judge on the Supreme Court and managing all subordinate courts, the Constitution provides several duties to the Chief Justice. In the case of impeachment of the President or Vice President, Article 43 mandates that the Chief Justice preside over the trial in the Senate. Additionally, Article 53(a) requires the Chief Justice to swear in the President in front of a joint session of the Legislature.

Removal from office

The Chief Justice may be removed from office upon impeachment by the House of Representatives and conviction by the Senate. Article 71 of the Constitution stipulates that the Chief Justice may only be removed in the event of "misconduct, gross breach of duty, inability to perform the functions of their office, or conviction in a court of law for treason, bribery or other infamous crimes." In the event of an impeachment trial of the Chief Justice in the Senate, the President of the Senate presides over the proceedings.

Only one Chief Justice, Chea Cheapoo, has been removed in this manner.

List of Chief Justices

Source: [1]

  Denotes service as Chief Justice in extra-constitutional transitional government
No. Portrait Chief Justice
Tenure Nominated by President
1 No image.png Samuel Benedict
1847–1854 Joseph Jenkins Roberts
2 No image.png John Day
3 Boston Jenkins Drayton (Chief Justice of Liberia 1861-64).jpg Boston Jenkins Drayton
1861–1864 Stephen Allen Benson
4 Edward James Roye2.jpg Edward James Roye
1865–1868 Daniel Bashiel Warner
5 No image.png C. L. Parsons 1869–1894 James Spriggs Payne
6 Zacharia B. Roberts.jpg Zacharia B. Roberts 1895–1910 Joseph James Cheeseman
7 No image.png James A. Toliver 1911–1913 Arthur Barclay
8 J. J. Dossen.jpg J. J. Dossen
1913–1924 Daniel Edward Howard
9 No image.png F. E. R. Johnson 1924–1933 Charles D. B. King
10 No image.png Louis Arthur Grimes
1933–1948 Edwin Barclay
11 No image.png H. Nimine Russell 1949–1956 William Tubman
12 No image.png A. Dash Wilson
13 James A. A. Pierre.jpg James A. A. Pierre
No image.png Emmanuel Gbalazeh
1980–1986 People's Redemption Council
14 No image.png James N. Nagbe[b] 1986–1987 Samuel Doe
15 No image.png Chea Cheapoo
(born 1942)[c]
16 No image.png Emmanuel Gbalazeh
No image.png James G. Bull 1992–1996 Amos Sawyer
No image.png Frances Johnson-Morris 1996–1997 Ruth Perry
17 No image.png Gloria Musu-Scott[e] 1997–2003 Charles Taylor
No image.png Henry Reed Cooper 2003–2006 National Transitional Government
18 No image.png Johnnie Lewis
2006–2012 Ellen Johnson Sirleaf
19 Francis Korkpor.jpg Francis Korkpor 2013–present


  1. ^ Deposed in the 1980 Liberian coup d'état and executed afterwards.
  2. ^ Unconstitutionally forced to resign by President Doe, along with the entire Supreme Court bench.
  3. ^ Impeached and removed from office.
  4. ^ Vacated his position at the end of the First Liberian Civil War.
  5. ^ Vacated her position at the end of the Second Liberian Civil War.


  • Dossen, J. J., Supreme Court reports: Cases argued and determined in the Supreme Judicial Court of the Republic of Liberia, January, 1861-January, 1907, Volume 1.

External links

  • Text of the 1986 Constitution
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