Past Program

Jul 31 - Aug 07, 1999

Personal Responsibility of Judges


The rule of law in a democratic society depends upon an independent and authoritative judiciary to interpret and apply the law as impartial arbiter between individuals and between the citizen of the State. It is incumbent upon legislatures and governments to secure the necessary conditions in which the courts and the legal profession are able to perform their duties properly, to ensure access to justice within a reasonable time, to protect human rights, and to provide effective remedies.


What is the proper province of the judiciary? What are the special qualities of the judicial process? What are the essential requirements – institutional, material and cultural – needed by judges and lawyers in upholding the rule of law in developed and developing countries? What procedures are appropriate for the appointment, removal and disciplining of judges? What implications do globalization and the spread of mass societies have for the personal responsibility of judges and the integrity of their jurisdictions? Should judges be representative of the people and of the popular will? Should they participate in the life of the community? What is their role when faced with the misuse of public powers by the government or the legislature?


This session, consisting of appellate and trial judges from the principal legal systems, together with some senior advocates, will explore what is needed to enhance the personal responsibility of judges in upholding the rule of law.