Pub. date: 2011 | Online Pub. Date: October 04, 2011 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412994163 | Print ISBN: 9781412959636 | Online ISBN: 9781412994163| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Judicial independence is a notoriously difficult concept to define, to the point that some scholars have questioned whether the concept serves any useful analytical purpose. In a literal sense, judicial independence refers to the ability of courts and judges to perform their duties free of influence or control by other actors. However, the term is more often used in a normative sense to refer to the kind of independence that is considered desirable for courts and judges to possess. Consequently, there are two sources of confusion over its meaning. The first is conceptual, in the form of a lack of clarity regarding the kinds of independence that courts and judges are capable of possessing. The second is normative, in the form of disagreement over what kind of independence courts and judges ought to possess. As a practical matter, the type of judicial independence that is widely considered both the most ...