Toward a unified theory of judicial independence in developing democracies

I present the model of judicial independence in the context of developing democracies. This model has three distinct features. First, I see judicial independence as a consequence of the interplay between the capacity and willingness of powerful actors to threaten independence, and resistance of judicial actors to such actions. Second, I contend that conceptualizations of independence focusing only on the relationship between the judicial branch and external actors are insufficient as they overlook a variety of possibilities in which independence can be contested from within the judicial branch. Third, I propose that independence can be measured at three different levels: de jure institutional independence concerned with the allocation of formal powers, de facto institutional independence focusing on the actual use of these powers, and output independence which can be observed on the systemic level and on the level of individual judges.