Publication details

Failed Expectations: Does the Establishment of Judicial Councils Enhance Confidence in Courts?

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Year of publication 2018
Type Appeared in Conference without Proceedings
MU Faculty or unit

Faculty of Law

Description Judicial councils are often presented as a panacea for many disorders of judicial systems, including low public confidence in the judiciary. Nevertheless, the assessment of their impact has so far been neglected. The article offers a unique view on the relationship between judicial councils and the level of public confidence in courts. It draws a novel concept map of factors influencing public confidence in the judiciary, stressing its complex and multifaceted character. Situating the judicial councils on the map, it explores how they can help to potentially increase the level of public confidence in the judiciary, and assesses to what extent this has been true in the countries that have adopted them. The results reveal a considerable gap between the promises, expectations, and practice, and raises doubts about the ability of judicial councils to enhance confidence in courts. Judicial councils rarely manage to substantially improve institutional performance: they can enhance the quality of judicial systems which have already functioned quite well, but they do not tend to bring about change in the judicial systems that have been previously significantly flawed. The analysis of the longitudinal Eurobarometer data showed that, on average, the EU countries without judicial councils are better off in terms of public confidence. Although the existence of judicial councils does not make a difference regarding public confidence in the judiciary in the new EU member states, in the old EU member states, judicial systems with judicial councils enjoy lower levels of public confidence than the ones without them.
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