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Judicial Independence: Some Evidence from the English Court of Appeal

  • Salzberger, Eli
  • Fenn, Paul

This paper is concerned with the existence or otherwise of conscious political interference with judicial decision taking. We produce new evidence from the English Court of Appeal to shed some light on the theoretical debate on judicial independence. This evidence rests on the fact that the procedure for promoting judges from the Court of Appeal to the House of Lords is in principle under political control: the lord chancellor, who has a key role in the promotion of judges, is a member of the cabinet and as such a political appointee. The data relate to public law decisions made by judges in the Court of Appeal over the period 1951-86. We use a competing risks survival model to establish whether the record of individual judges in deciding for or against the government was a factor that determined their promotion chances, controlling for the quality of their decision making. Copyright 1999 by the University of Chicago.

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File URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1086/467444
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Article provided by University of Chicago Press in its journal Journal of Law & Economics.

Volume (Year): 42 (1999)
Issue (Month): 2 (October)
Pages: 831-47

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Handle: RePEc:ucp:jlawec:v:42:y:1999:i:2:p:831-47
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.journals.uchicago.edu/JLE/

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  1. Landes, William M & Posner, Richard A, 1975. "The Independent Judiciary in an Interest-Group Perspective," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 18(3), pages 875-901, December.
  2. Salzberger, Eli M., 1993. "A positive analysis of the doctrine of separation of powers, or: Why do we have an independent judiciary?," International Review of Law and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 13(4), pages 349-379, December.
  3. Anderson, Gary M & Shughart, William F, II & Tollison, Robert D, 1989. "On the Incentives of Judges to Enforce Legislative Wealth Transfers," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 32(1), pages 215-28, April.
  4. Ashenfelter, Orley & Eisenberg, Theodore & Schwab, Stewart J, 1995. "Politics and the Judiciary: The Influence of Judicial Background on Case Outcomes," The Journal of Legal Studies, University of Chicago Press, vol. 24(2), pages 257-81, June.
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