This section contains opinion pieces written by Global Judicial Integrity Network participants, who are members of judiciaries worldwide. The pieces focus on the personal opinions and experiences of these external experts on issues related to judicial integrity. All opinion pieces written in 2018-2019 have been compiled in one review journal, available here.
Please note that all opinions expressed in this section of the website are the opinions of the authors, who are external experts, and do not necessarily reflect the official position of UNODC.
The French National School for the Judiciary ( École Nationale de la Magistrature - ENM) was created in 1958 to train both judges and public prosecutors. The School simultaneously trains three classes ("promotions") of about 350 students for 31 months.
Trainee judges and prosecutors from Promotion 2018 were taking their final exams before choosing their first positions, while students from Promotion 2019 were beginning a key step in their training in the form of a year-long judicial internship in one of the 173 French courts. As for the students of Promotion 2020 that had just entered the School in February 2020, they were about to begin a 9-month period of study at the School in Bordeaux.
For courts and judges, both information technology (IT) and artificial intelligence (AI) offer new opportunities, but they also entail major new challenges. The most important challenge is to the governing of judiciaries. Governance, the way decisions are taken and by whom, is mainly determined by two factors: judicial independence and case processing. Judiciaries are geared toward judicial independence. Although procedures vary from country to country, in most situations governance mechanisms will leave room for individual judges to decide their cases on the merits of the cases. Judiciaries process cases, so they are also mainly production organizations, as they work to process court cases as efficiently as possible. Both these elements reduce the opportunities for innovation. From this perspective, let's take a look at the new challenges IT and AI pose for courts and judiciaries.
The COVID-19 pandemic is a global health crisis and the measures taken to combat its spread have been some of the most disruptive events to daily life that humankind has faced since the 1918 flu pandemic. So far, the coronavirus has affected a multiplicity of countries and territories around the world, with more than 53 million cases registered by November 2020.
Faced with the challenge of protecting public health and preventing the further spread of the virus, the Republic of Serbia declared a state of emergency on 15 March 2020. The Constitution permits the state to derogate from certain rights guaranteed by the Constitution, but only to the extent required by the severity of the situation.
As the world watched in dismay at the distressing consequences of COVID-19, what held us together in Malaysia is the belief that nothing is insurmountable. Thus, with characteristic stoicism, the Malaysian Judiciary put several measures in place, for it is inconceivable that the administration and accessibility to justice should come to a grinding halt.
Even if the courts are not listed as 'essential services' under the relevant regulation, the enabling provision of the Prevention of Infectious Diseases Act (1988) allowed certain protective measures to be put in place to ensure that COVID-19 is curbed and confined. As such, comprehensive Standard Operating Procedures for the courts were formulated, incorporating both the form and substance of court administration.
Since ancient times, China has always advocated for a culture of integrity. The famous philosopher Confucius once said, "An intellectual who inspires himself in the pursuit of truth, but is ashamed of old clothes and coarse food, is not worth consulting." Attaching great importance to judicial integrity, China's Chief Justice Zhou Qiang clearly points out that "Judicial corruption should be resolutely punished with a zero-tolerance attitude." The Criminal Law of the People's Republic of China and the Judges Law of the People's Republic of China have made provisions for the corrupt behaviour of judges, such as the perversion of justice for bribes and abuse of power.