Judicial Independence, Why is it Important?

What is judicial independence?

The judicial system in each country needs to be independent and not controlled by an arm of government, the party of state or anybody. This is the meaning of judicial independence.

The rulings made by the courts or judges should be of free objection with no influence by any body or party. This ensures that justice is always attained as the judges have an obligation to the people of the state or country.

Judicial independence has helped over the years in countries to ensure that anybody, corporate, an arm of government brought to court can not alter or influence the judgments to be made.

Judges are not elected by the citizens of a country but instead are appointed. This limits the political influence of the judges as they rise to the position.

They are also not allowed to run for office while in office as should not have any political affairs. This is one of the ways of protecting the independence of the judiciary.


Why is judicial independence important

The judiciary comprises of the supreme courts and other lower courts. This is what makes up the entire system.

It’s wholly responsible for interpreting the law made by the lawmakers. While doing so its important that the judiciary stays independent because of the following reasons:

  • Judges immunity

Judges are quite immune due to judicial independence. This is because they cannot be fired by anyone except by a tribunal formed to investigate the case. This ensures that no arm of government or person is above their stake in a case that will prevent them from making a ruling. A judge who is suspected of malpractice cannot be fired by anyone. There has to be an investigation carried on the basis of what was brought forward first and then the tribunal will make the ruling. The tribunal in most cases is comprised also of judges showing that the system is managed by its own.


  • Salaries and remuneration

The judges’ salaries and remunerations are not debatable by any arm of government. Judges have to be well paid so that they can make a ruling with no influence of bribery or tokens of appreciation.

This is why their salaries are not subject to debate and cannot br controlled. This ensures that they receive pay that is worth the work they do each day in courts and make rulings in sober minds.


  • Maintains a check and balance

If judicial independence wasn’t there countries would be run anyhow. This is because there would be no authoritative body to say no to what governments or other bodies want as policies. No one being above the law makes the judicial system quite effective.

The judiciary ensures that when policies are made they have to be quite fair and just to all. This ensures that there is nobody who makes rules that are quite unjust even the executive part of the government.

Once such policies are brought to the courts and declared not fit for the citizens and a ruling is made no one can alter this.


  • Pillar for economic growth

Investors either local or international are quite keen on how a country is run. This is because they confined in the courts when the have issues.

They look at how effective the court system in a country is and how independent it is. They need to ensure that once they bring a case to court there will be no kind of influence whatsoever from anywhere.

They need to see to it that the judicial system is there to safeguard their rights and interest in the country.

A judicial system that is independent confidence to investors as they have no reason to worry about how it is run.


  • Separation of powers

Judicial independence affirms the separation of powers. This is by all the three arms of government performing their duties according to the constitution. Through this, no arm of government can do what the other is supposed to do.

The judiciary is there to interpret the law only. Through its independence, no arm of government can do this or overrule what the courts have decided on.

The powers of the judiciary are it’s own and are separate from the rest of the arms of government.


How is the rule of law judicial review and judicial independence key elements of democracy?

Democracy ensures that the government is run by leaders elected by the people. This means that power is in the people.

How are judicial review and independence elements of democracy? As the power is in the people it means that they are entitled to being free and no one should be above the law.

Democratic countries are run by rules that are in their constitution. This means that judicial review and independence are part of the constitution and should be followed.

Apart from that, as part of being an element of democracy and ensuring checks and balance, it regulates the powers of other arms of government.

It ensures that they do not abuse their place in policymaking and execution. Lastly is the fact that it provides a platform of last resort when cases are to be decided on.

This may include elections of state offices such as members of parliament or governors.


Why is judicial independence important according to Hamilton?

Alexandra Hamilton wrote an essay concerning judicial independence and its importance known as The Federalist 78. It explained the importance of it broadly and expounded on its drive on democracy.

According to him, the congress and the president would have been more powerful if there was no judiciary independence.

The judiciary seemed less dangerous but through bringing light to it it became powerful through its independence.

Hamilton in his writings showed that as its the least dangerous, it’s only there to interpret the law with influence from anybody or person.

This ensures that it’s of no threat to the people but is only there to safeguard them.

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