August 22, 2019

Rule of Law and the Courts

Judicial Independence

An independent judiciary is necessary to ensure the rule of law is respected. Judicial independence means that judges are not subject to pressure and influence and are free to make impartial decisions based solely on fact and law. An independent judge can assure that your case will be decided according to the law and the facts­ and not a shifting political climate.

Judges interpret and apply the law to specific issues brought before them when two parties disagree and resolve disputes between people, companies, and units of government.

Often, the judiciary is called on to uphold limitations on the government. The judiciary protects against abuses by the other branches of government. It protects minorities of all types from the majority and protects the right of people who cannot protect themselves.

Everyone is Affected by the Work of the Courts.

Even if you never go to court yourself, you are the beneficiary of an open and accessible court system on a daily basis. Employers must follow labor laws; drivers must obey traffic regulations; landlord cannot evict tenants without cause; supermarkets need to ensure that they are not selling customers rotten meat. If the court system lacked the capacity to enforce the laws regulating these behaviors, your daily life would potentially be a lot different.

Retail and trade would grind to a halt if businesses could not rely on the courts for enforcement of their rights. In fact, businesses rely heavily on the courts to protect their contractual and property rights. If businesses cannot count on being able to resort to the courts when they need to, there can be no certainty that legal and contractual obligations will be carried out.

The Role of Judges

Even though judges work for the government, they are not law enforcement officers. Judges are not prosecutors and they do not arrest people or try to prove that they are guilty. Their role is to see that the rule of court procedures are followed by both sides without being influenced by public perception or their own personal views.