Views

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. To read a selection of the articles in other UN languages, please select the language from the navigation bar at the top of the page. Please click here for Portuguese and Korean.

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. 

 

Significance of women judges and my contribution towards equality of access to justice
March 1, 2023

The significance of women judges and my contribution towards equality and the equality of access to justice

On my elevation to the Office of Chief Justice, you would have seen or read popular taglines referring to me as the first woman Chief Justice of Malaysia. Soon after my elevation, I have always stated that my position is not at all determined or indeed, coloured by my gender.

In Malaysia, women are represented in all facets of the judiciary, be it the subordinate court or the superior courts. Therefore, the issue of gender diversity within the Malaysian Judiciary may not be as pervasive as one may think. The former President of the Court of Appeal was a woman and approximately half of the judges in Malaysia are women. In the Federal Court, amongst the eight judges sitting on the Bench, five are women.

Nevertheless, there remain many instances in the legal profession dealing with the concept of access to justice in the context of gender equality. I often emphasise the importance of diversity and representation within the judiciary as it provides female clients representation, a sense of safety and confidence inside the courtroom. 

To hide or not to hide? Disclosing finances and interests
February 20, 2023

To hide or not to hide? Disclosing finances and interests

In many countries all over the world, judges have to disclose their finances and interests, often to the public and accessible online. The disclosures bring along an administrative burden for judges: they need to fill in a comprehensive set of data for themselves and for their immediate family members; they need to regularly update the data, ideally online, otherwise on paper; and, they need to accept that in most cases these asset declarations are available to the public online, with only sensitive data being redacted, such as addresses, bank account numbers, or number plates.

Digital Transformation and New Technologies: Lessons Learned from Indonesia
January 26, 2023

Digital Transformation and New Technologies: Lessons Learned from Indonesia

 

Judicial proceedings are often costly and time- and energy- consuming. The geographical situation of Indonesia as the largest archipelagic country in the world with a population of 278 million people certainly also plays a role and affects people's access to justice. Moreover, the number of cases to be dealt with are disproportionately high in relation to the number of court officials, thus causing public dissatisfaction with the court services and deterring people from seeking them. Should these conditions persist, there will be injustice as "justice delayed is justice denied".

To address these obstacles and challenges, the Supreme Court of Indonesia since 2004 has been implementing technology-based solutions to promote a modern, digital-based judiciary that responds to the demands and needs of the community in the era of fast-paced digitalization and digitization. The COVID-19 pandemic further accelerated the transformation process by demanding the prompt reduction of face-to-face meetings and physical contact. Some of the technology-based solutions put in place in the Indonesian judiciary to date include: digital filing of documents; various online legal services; online trials; the online database of court decisions; or the digital supervision and reporting system.

Public Expressions of Judges: Navigating Between Freedom & Responsibility
November 22, 2022

Public Expressions of Judges: Navigating Between Freedom & Responsibility

 

Expressing one's opinion as a judge in the public space is a form of manifesting his or her freedom of speech, freedom that also implies a corresponding responsibility due to the function of administering justice that (s)he exercises. The public does not (always) distinguish between the judge and the (wo)man behind the robe. Inappropriate manifestations can have consequences not only for the professional reputation of the judge, but also for the public image of the judiciary and for trust in the act of justice. Therefore, before choosing as judges to express an opinion addressed to the general public or which can become public, we should answer a few questions.

Vicarious trauma experienced by judges and the importance of healing
October 10, 2022

Vicarious trauma experienced by judges and the importance of healing

 

Every day, judges across the world listen to evidence and make life altering decisions affecting their fellow citizens. Being a judge also carries with it the responsibility of becoming a community leader and living by a set of values that manifest through honesty, fairness and being just. As judges, we need to recognize that we must maintain our health in order to sustain our integrity as human beings. A judge who is healthy physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually enhances their ability to access the wisdom necessary to render fairness and justice.

Trauma is inherent to the work of the judicial system; vicarious trauma and stress are natural by-products. Vicarious trauma has been defined as the cumulative inner transformative effect of bearing witness to abuse, violence and trauma in the lives of people who we care about, are open to and are committed to helping. Although vicarious trauma can be a natural and normal occurrence for workers who provide care to others, failure to address the causes and symptoms can lead to negative outcomes in one's life.