Judicial councils and similar oversight mechanisms: UN submission

The ICJ has set out key principles and sources on judicial councils and other national mechanisms for selecting, appointing, promoting, transferring, suspending or removing judges, in a submission to the UN Special Rapporteur on the independence of judges and lawyers.The submission was made in response to a call by the Special Rapporteur for input to a report he will present at the June 2018 session of the Human Rights Council.

The ICJ submission highlights that judicial councils are a proven means of safeguarding judicial independence and ensuring judicial accountability. It recommends that, even in countries where judicial independence and accountability have traditionally been secured by other means, consideration should be given to the establishment of a judicial council.
The submission stresses that judicial councils must be fully independent of the executive and legislative branches of government, and notes several key safeguards to help secure such independence.

The ICJ recommends that such judicial councils should in principle be responsible for all decisions relating to the selection, appointment, promotion, transfer, discipline, suspension and removal of judges.

The submission also highlights the need for diversity of membership of such councils to ensure its representativeness of the society the judiciary is to serve, that it reflects a cross-section of the judiciary as a whole, and that it has the experience and expertise needed to be effective.

The full submission can be downloaded in PDF format here:  Global-UN-SRIJL-JudicialCouncils-2018

Most of the sources cited in the submission are available here.

Related and more detailed guidance is available in the ICJ’s 2016 Practitioners’ Guide no. 13 on Judicial Accountability, as well as the 2007 Practitioners’ Guide no. 1 on Independence and Accountability of Judges, Lawyers and Prosecutors.

More information about the Special Rapporteur is available here.

For more information about the ICJ and judicial councils and similar mechanisms, contact Matt Pollard (matt.pollard(at)icj.org)

AdvocacyNon-legal submissions