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The Normative Cycle of Shaping Judicial Independence in Domestic and International Law:

judicial independence serves as a safeguard for the rights and privileges provided by a limited constitution and prevents executive and legislative encroachment upon those rights.[1] It serves as a foundation for the rule of law and democracy. The rule of law means that all authority and power must come from an ultimate source of law. Under an independent judicial system, the courts and its officers are free from inappropriate intervention in the judiciary‘s affairs. With this independence, the judiciary can safeguard people’s rights and freedoms which ensure equal protection for all.[2]

The effectiveness of the law and the respect that people have for the law and the government which enacts it is dependent upon the judiciary’s independence to mete out fair decisions. Furthermore, it is a pillar of economic growth as multinational businesses and investors have confidence to invest in the economy of a nation who has a strong and stable judiciary that is independent of interference.[3] The judiciary’s role in deciding the validity of presidential and parliamentary elections also necessitates independence of the judiciary.[4]

The disadvantages of having a judiciary that is seemingly too independent include possible abuse of power by judges. Self-interest, ideological dedication and even corruption may influence the decisions of judges without any checks and balances in place to prevent this abuse of power if the judiciary is completely independent.[5] The relationship between the judiciary and the executive is a complex series of dependencies and interdependencies which counter-check each other and must be carefully balanced. One cannot be too independent of the other. Furthermore, judicial support of the executive is not as negative as it seems as the executive is the branch of government with the greatest claim to democratic legitimacy. If the judiciary and executive are constantly feuding, no government can function well.[6]