The Mutation of Juristocracy in the Context of Global Democratic Decay

When Ran Hirschl decried ‘juristocracy’ in the mid-2000s the transfer of power worldwide from representative institutions to judiciaries seemed unstoppable. Today, that global trend appears to have hit a wall: courts have been delegitimised or diminished by governments from the USA to Israel to Poland – even worse, they are viewed as having aided the deterioration of democratic rule. However, look more closely and expansive judicial power has simply mutated in the face of perceived threats to liberal democracy. The Indian Supreme Court has sought to build institutional capital against the Modi government through its rights jurisprudence. The gaze has shifted to lower courts as democracy defenders in Poland and the USA. In Europe, courts are at the centre of pushback against the Polish government. This talk will analyse these recent developments and discuss how they fundamentally alter longstanding debates on judicial power.