Who controls the judiciary? The social accountability in the Brazilian judiciary

Who guards the guardians? The political role of the Judiciary implies the need to rebalance independence and accountability, through the qualification of judicial policy. A combination of the European Networks of Councils for the Judiciary’s (ENCJ) indicators and Sherry Arnstein’s Ladder of Citizen Participation seems to be useful to provide a more in-depth analysis of social accountability on the Brazilian judiciary. To test this hypothesis, we analyzed the judicial policy operated in Brazil by the National Council of Justice (CNJ), according to the indicators of the ENCJ and the Ladder of Participation. Our achieved reveal that the ENCJ’s indicators can be met without increasing social accountability, because the level of participation and social control considered in the accountability mechanisms favor mainly passive citizens, putting them away from social responsibility. Thus, improving social accountability depends on the mechanisms that favor active citizenship.