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. 

 

Judicial Compliance: A governance model for managing the risk of corruption and ensuring the quality and integrity of the judiciary
April 2, 2024

Judicial Compliance: A governance model for managing the risk of corruption and ensuring the quality and integrity of the judiciary  

Organized crime and corruption, coupled with the temptations of political power to control everything and deprive the public machinery of checks and balances, are identified as the greatest threats to judicial independence and integrity. In response to this challenging situation, the judiciary of Costa Rica has bolstered institutional capabilities and its human resources to counter corruption. It has embraced an institutional model for combating and preventing this issue through Judicial Compliance Initiative.

Judicial compliance encompasses a series of measures endorsed by the senior management of the judiciary, aimed at addressing instances of corruption and organizational fraud. These actions take a risk-based approach, encompassing prevention, identification and response to the phenomenon, ensuring that all activities and personnel actions comply with legal requirements and obligations. Guided by principles of impartiality, objectivity and independence, the objective of judicial compliance is to uphold integrity in decision-making.

Does judicial overload compromise the independence and autonomy of the judges
September 25, 2023

Does judicial overload compromise the independence and autonomy of the judges? 

There is no discussion or forum on the administration of justice in which judicial independence is not mentioned as a pillar of the constitutional rule of law. It must be preserved against actual or perceived threats from other authorities, particularly the executive branch.

The Constitution of Colombia states that Colombia is a social state based on the rule of law, and that the judiciary is independent. Hence, the judicial branch cannot and should not be subjected to situations of open or concealed interference by the executive branch, economic or armed groups. However, in my judicial experience, some public policies by the executive and legislative branches weaken the independence of the judiciary, without any real redress.

Path Towards Fair Gender Representation in the Judiciary of Bulgaria
March 9, 2023

Path Towards Fair Gender Representation in the Judiciary of Bulgaria 

In the long 143-year history of the Supreme Court of Cassation of Bulgaria (SCC), the trends related to gender representation are clearly distinguished chronologically.

Over a long period of almost eighty years, the SCC was invariably composed of male judges. The first female supreme judge was only elected and appointed in 1957. After 1960, a trend towards increasing the number of female judges in the SCC could be identified, and in 1986, 15 out of 53 judges were women. After 1990, the trend of a gradual increase in the proportion of female judges intensified, and in 1996, their number rose to 37 out of a total of 55 judges. Since then, increased participation of women in the judicial profession has been observed. The current ratio is clearly shaped in favor of women: approximately 4:1, and currently only 21 of 91 SCC judges are men.

Progress in the Quest for Gender Parity in the Judiciary of The Gambia
March 3, 2023

Progress in the Quest for Gender Parity in the Judiciary of The Gambia 

I was given a range of topics to write on, all gravitating inter alia around the obstacles women judges face in carrying out or advancing judicial careers. I, however, found myself pondering and ruminating over penning a few words. Then the questions started emerging from nowhere. Why was I querying myself? Why the catechism of sorts? The answer was simple, one that should have become obvious almost immediately; women predominate the Superior Courts of The Gambia at a ratio of 4:3 vis-à-vis men. Ergo, the Judiciary of The Gambia has recorded laudable progress in the quest for gender parity.

I believe the next obvious question is, how did we get there? The journey was not a mean feat. Historically, foreign judges manned the Judiciary of The Gambia, the plurality of whom were sent under technical assistance programs via the benevolence of other sister common law jurisdictions. Whilst The Gambia's first indigenous lawyer was called to Bar at the Inner Temple in 1897, its first female lawyer was only enrolled to practice the law some eight or so decades later in 1979. The first woman judge was not appointed until on or about 1993.

Women judges and women judicial leaders play an irreplaceable role in modern judiciary
March 2, 2023

Women judges and women judicial leaders play an irreplaceable role in modern judiciary 

The International Women's Day has been celebrated on 8 March for many years as an important reminder that we need equality in all the areas of life and that women play and must play an irreplaceable role in that. Do we still need such a reminder? Yes, we absolutely do. It is because we can see that women at many places in the world, still do not possess equality and even worse, at some places women still do not possess basic rights. In addition to that, the world needs a balance and equal participation of women is simply essential to that.

In judiciary, women play a very special role. It is not about the equality only, it goes beyond that. In all judiciaries, at national and international courts, judges interpret the law, they decide about others. To be a good judge, it is never sufficient enough to know the law well. In fact, excellent knowledge of the law is an obvious prerequisite for a solid judicial performance. However, we judges should be endowed with something else as well, something that we call a sense for justice, a sense for fairness.