The Guarantor Branch

Fourth branch institutions could include electoral commissions, human rights commissions, central banks, probity bodies, knowledge institutions such as statistics bureaus and census boards, anti-corruption watchdogs, information commissioners, auditors general, attorneys general and so on. In this paper, I will argue that what is increasingly being described as the fourth branch of the state—the first three being the traditional divisions of the state namely the executive, the legislature and the judiciary—is best understood as a guarantor branch. A guarantor institution is one that:
(i) is constituted in order to sufficiently guarantee a specific constitutional norm (or an aspect of a specific norm) by making it sufficiently credible that the norm in question will be respected, protected, or fulfilled over time,
(ii) is legally or politically entrenched (to some extent), &
(iii) is independent of the credibility-deficient branch (vis-a-vis the norm in question).