Skip to main content

Policy Position 03/2007: Promoting Fairness in Judicial Appointments

Where political power plays a significant role in the appointment, promotion and conditions of service of judges there is a risk that judicial candidates, as well as sitting judges, will feel compelled to respond positively to the demands of the powerful. In some countries, judges who abide by the wishes of senior public officials may be rewarded with modern office equipment, higher quality housing or newer cars. Rather than act as a check on government or economic interests in protecting civil liberties and human rights, judges who have been appointed unfairly may also be more likely to promote their own interests over the rights of the individual. Appointment procedures must therefore be transparent, fair and robust enough to ensure that only those candidates with the highest professional qualifications and standards of personal integrity are allowed to sit on the bench. Fair, independent and transparent appointment processes not only improve judicial independence, but also form part of a system of judicial accountability.