Regulating Judges
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Regulating Judges

Beyond Independence and Accountability

Edited by Richard Devlin and Adam Dodek

Regulating Judges presents a novel approach to judicial studies. It goes beyond the traditional clash of judicial independence versus judicial accountability. Drawing on regulatory theory, Richard Devlin and Adam Dodek argue that judicial regulation is multi-faceted and requires us to consider the complex interplay of values, institutional norms, procedures, resources and outcomes. Inspired by this conceptual framework, the book invites scholars from 19 jurisdictions to describe and critique the regulatory regimes for a variety of countries from around the world.
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Chapter 13: Regulating judges, Japanese-style: the prevalence of informal mechanisms

Kay-Wah Chan


In Japan the interaction between institutional and informal mechanisms results in a de facto regulatory regime for judges. This contributes to judicial conservatism in politically sensitive cases and deviation from the underpinning values (such as judicial independence, impartiality and representativeness) of the foreign-influenced de jure regulatory regime that was established during the post-war Allied Occupation. But the public does not expect such values. Judicial conservatism has not caused public dissatisfaction or lack of confidence in the judiciary. At the same time, interference from the executive government is unlikely. Therefore, without a change in the public’s ideology, judicial conservatism in Japan will continue unabated.

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