Judicial Independence as a Middle Class Phenomenon: Comparing Pakistan, Indonesia and Colombia

This article is aimed at resolving the puzzling phenomenon of independent judiciaries in the context of unstable democracies. An increasing engagement between middle-class groups, represented by NGOs and other civil society organizations, and the higher judiciary is visible in three unstable democracies: Pakistan, Indonesia, and Colombia. The existing studies do not explain judicial independence as a middle-class phenomenon. By comparing the higher constitutional judiciaries of Pakistan(2009 to 2017), Indonesia(2003 to 2017) and Colombia (1990 to 2017) as most different and least similar cases, this article argues that independent judiciaries in the context of weak democracies is a middle-class phenomenon because one similar driver-the middle class-is giving rise to independent judiciaries in different historical and political contexts. This work finds that middle-class groups are important for the establishment and maintenance of an independent judiciary.