Judicial Responsibility and Accountability
Salem Jamil & Al-Botmeh Reem, THE INITIATIVE ON JUDICIAL INDEPENDENCE AND HUMAN DIGNITY, Birzeit University Institute of Law, 2010
5 Pages Posted: 9 Oct 2010
Date Written: September 1, 2010
Judicial responsibility is one of the sensitive issues to discuss. It is an institutional and individual matter that is related to the judiciary and its institutional function as well as judge’s exercise of these functions. The debate over the qualities that make a good judge seems intractable because there is no shared set of expectations about a judge’s role in society. Some accept as a political inevitability that judges are decision makers and de facto legislators, and accordingly evaluate judges by the political impact of their decisions. Others expect judges to fight to preserve their complete independency as if any form of accountability would pose a threat. It is thus fully appropriate to evaluate how they perform their duties, always bearing in mind that they are part of the judicial system, which has to be considered as a whole.
A professional responsible judiciary reconciles the twin goals of democratic legitimacy and legal legitimacy. This requires much more than restating platitudes about independence and accountability. It elaborates on aspects such as the rational of judicial independence, the relation between judicial performance systems and promotion, recruitment procedures, evaluation during initial and continuing education programs, codes of ethics, and the role of the judiciary towards other state branches and society in general.
In this paper we will look at the judicial responsibility at three levels, theoretical, comparative empirical and finally the Palestinian case. For that purpose this paper is divided to three parts; the first one is the conceptual framework of judicial responsibility whereby attempting to bring a clear understanding of the concept of judicial responsibility and its link with other concepts and doctrines, this part will discuss the meaning of judicial responsibility, the tension between judicial accountability and judicial independence. It will tackle into the link between judicial responsibility and immunity and judicial responsibility and accountability in the context of judicial education. The second part is mapping out models and kinds of judicial responsibility through examining the different types of accountability as well as the different models in various legal systems. There are various ways to classify types of judicial accountability; it can be individual and collective, formal or scrutiny by civil society, or content, process and performance accountability. It can take as well different categorization which you find literature classifies accountability into, political accountability, societal accountability, legal accountability of the state and legal accountability of the judge. From these types of accountability emerge various models in different legal systems. In this paper we will tackle the different types of judicial responsibility by classifying it into three main categories; and finally the third part examines the concept of judicial responsibility in the context of the Palestinian judicial system in order first to illustrate the elements of this responsibility, establish to which model does it fellow, and asses its efficiency.
Keywords: Judicial Independence, Judicial Responsibility, Legal Reform, Palestine
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