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Judicial Independence and Accountability

Judicial Independence: What is it, How Can It Be Measured, Why It Occurs

Judicial independence is widely considered to be a foundation for the rule of law and establishing judicial independence in developing and transition economies has become a major goal of donor-supported legal and judicial reform programs. This topic brief will address three questions related to judicial independence. First, what exactly does "judicial independence" mean and how can it be measured? Second, what is the relationship between judicial independence and economic development? Third, and perhaps most important for policymakers and reformers, under what conditions will those with political power act to preserve, rather than undermine, judicial independence? Stated differently, how can an independent judiciary be achieved? The attached topic brief elaborates on these questions.


Constitutional Review and Government Accountability

Courts hold governments accountable through their power to review the actions of the legislature and the executive. This power is at its zenith when a court can declare a law passed by parliament or an action taken by the executive null because it conflicts with the nation’s constitution or international law. The attached topic briefs further develops these issues.


Additional Resources on Judicial Accountability

Accountability - Useful Links

Anti-Corruption Action Plan for Bulgaria

Full text of the judicial reform and anti-corruption action plan developed by Coalition 2000, a coalition of Bulgarian NGOs.


Court of Judicial Discipline

General information, procedural rules, and decisions of this court, which has jurisdiction over all judicial officers in the US Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.


Council for Court Excellence

The Council for Court Excellence is a nonprofit, nonpartisan civic organization founded in Washington, D.C. in 1982. The Council works to improve the administration of justice in the local and federal courts and related agencies in the Washington metropolitan area and in the nation.


Judicial Accountability and Performance Indicators

Full text of Australian Justice JJ Spigelman’s 2001 conference presentation on judicial accountability and performance indicators.


USC Judicial Independence and Accountability Symposium

Full video (RealPlayer) and written transcripts (PDF) from the 1998 University of Southern California symposium on balancing judicial independence and accountability.


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