Triple Understanding of Judicial Councils

Despite a burgeoning literature on judicial councils, little attention has been so far paid to the question how they impact the dynamics between the three branches of power. This paper aims to fill this gap and theorize about the place and role of judicial councils in the separation of powers. It shows that judicial councils do not neatly fit within any of the three traditional branches of the state. Instead, there are 3 different understandings of judicial councils: (A) judicial council as a representative of the judicial branch (judge-centred judicial council), (B) judicial council as a coordinating institution representing all three traditional branches of power (interbranch judicial council), and (C) judicial council as a post-branch body (impartial judicial council). We argue that all judicial councils gravitate to one of those models, while only the post-branch type secures sufficient checks and balances and prevents the capture of the judiciary by political or internal forces.