Research Handbook on Law and Courts
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Research Handbook on Law and Courts

Edited by Susan M. Sterett and Lee D. Walker

The Research Handbook on Law and Courts provides a systematic analysis of new work on courts as governing institutions. Authors consider how courts have taken on regulating fundamental categories of inclusion and exclusion, including citizenship rights. Courts’ centrality to governance is addressed in sections on judicial processes, sub-national courts, and political accountability, all analyzed in multiple legal/political systems. Other chapters turn to analyzing the worldwide push for diversity in staffing courts. Finally, the digitization of records changes both court processes and studying courts. Authors included in the Handbook discuss theoretical, empirical and methodological approaches to studying courts as governing institutions. They also identify promising areas of future research.
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Chapter 7: Independence in judicial hierarchies: civil law systems

Julio Rios-Figueroa


Whereas much of the literature on judicial independence focuses on the selection of high court judges and their independence from the other branches of government (aka external independence), this chapter focuses on lower court judges’ independence from their superiors in the judicial hierarchy. The chapter argues that internal judicial independence, as is commonly known, is relevant for the kinds of outcomes that we believe the judiciary can produce, such as corruption control or the peaceful solution of conflicts. Providing a conceptually clear account of internal judicial independence, the chapter discusses the conditions, processes, and institutions that the scholarly literature has suggested as relevant to produce and protect it. Many of the arguments are illustrated with examples from the countries with bureaucratic or civil service judiciaries, where internal judicial independence tends to be more relevant, such as Latin American and other countries in Europe and Asia.

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