Courts and Governance in Asia: Exploring Variations and Effects
Hong Kong Law Journal, Vol. 42, Part 1, pp. 95-119
26 Pages Posted: 7 May 2012 Last revised: 22 Feb 2017
Date Written: June 1, 2012
Courts and judges have become highly visible in the Asian political landscape as part of a global trend towards the judicialization of politics. Yet while there is increased understanding of what is driving this trend, current models do little to explain what courts and judges actually do; nor is there agreement on how judicial behavior might affect governance. Here I present a typology of judicial politics to support the argument that judicial behavior over time is an outcome of the interplay between institutional, ideational, and agency-specific variables. That is why the effects of judicial decisions on democratic governance are difficult to evaluate. However, the tentative evidence presented here suggests that the relationship is positive primarily in countries where courts have worked to actively facilitate dialogue between different branches of government. This article thus seeks to advance the debate on variances in judicialization and their effects both empirically and theoretically.
Keywords: courts, governance, asia, judicialization
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