Publication details

Court Presidents: The Missing Piece in the Puzzle of Judicial Governance

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Year of publication 2018
Type Article in Periodical
Magazine / Source German Law Journal
MU Faculty or unit

Faculty of Law

Web Open access
Keywords court presidents; judicial governance; court president power index
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Description The aim of this paper is to provide a new comprehensive understanding of roles of court presidents in judicial governance in Europe. It argues that in order to better understand the role of court presidents in comparative perspective it is necessary to unpack their power into smaller components that can be analyzed separately. We define seven such components: judicial career, jurisprudential, administrative, financial, ambassadorial, and media power, and ancillary powers as a residual category. Subsequently, we zero in on 13 European jurisdictions and rate them according to the strength of their court presidents’ powers. By doing so we are developing a Court President Power Index. Based on this Index we question the claim that Western court presidents are always weaker than their Eastern European counterparts and argue that powers of court presidents diverge both within Western Europe and within Eastern Europe, and hence it is difficult to draw the easy line along the West/East axis on this ground. Finally, we problematize our Court President Power Index and show that powers in the meaning of faculty do not necessarily translate into influence since various contingent circumstances (such as the length of court presidents’ terms of office, information asymmetry, the structure of the judiciary, the existence of competing judicial self governance bodies, the role of individuals, the proximity of court presidents to political leaders, the legal profession, legal culture, and the political environment) affect to what extent court presidents may exploit their powers in practice.
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