Bahrain speech by Sir Peter Gross: Judicial Leadership and Reform

The judiciary is the independent third branch of the State (the others being the legislature and the executive); the Judges are not simply just another group of officials, albeit very senior. As a US Supreme Court Justice, Justice Frankfurter, once said of the Supreme Court – but he could have been speaking of the Judiciary as a whole:

“The Court’s authority possessed neither of the purse nor the sword ultimately rests on sustained public confidence in its moral sanction.”

Central to such public confidence and the Judiciary’s moral authority are its independence and impartiality.  Independence involves institutional independence from the other branches of the State.  It also involves individual independence.   This means that no Judge can be told how to decide a claim.  No politician or official can do so.  Nor can a more senior Judge tell a junior Judge how to decide an individual case.   Great care must be taken to ensure that judicial leadership does not impinge on individual judicial independence.

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