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Judicial Independence: Some Evidence from the English Court of Appeal

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  • Salzberger, Eli
  • Fenn, Paul

Abstract

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.

Suggested Citation

  • Salzberger, Eli & Fenn, Paul, 1999. "Judicial Independence: Some Evidence from the English Court of Appeal," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 42(2), pages 831-847, October.
  • Handle: RePEc:ucp:jlawec:v:42:y:1999:i:2:p:831-47
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    File URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1086/467444
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. 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 257-281, June.
    2. 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.
    3. 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.
    4. 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 215-228, April.
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    Cited by:

    1. Gilat Levy, 2005. "Careerist Judges," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, pages 275-297.
    2. Christian Almer & Timo Goeschl, 2011. "The political economy of the environmental criminal justice system: a production function approach," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 148(3), pages 611-630, September.
    3. Smyth, Russell & Bhattacharya, Mita, 2003. "How fast do old judges slow down?: A life cycle study of aging and productivity in the Federal Court of Australia," International Review of Law and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 23(2), pages 141-164, June.
    4. Pushkar Maitra & Russell Smyth, 2004. "Judicial Independence, Judicial Promotion and the Enforcement of Legislative Wealth Transfers—An Empirical Study of the New Zealand High Court," European Journal of Law and Economics, Springer, vol. 17(2), pages 209-235, March.
    5. Fiorino, Nadia & Gavoille, Nicolas & Padovano, Fabio, 2015. "Rewarding judicial independence: Evidence from the Italian Constitutional Court," International Review of Law and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 43(C), pages 56-66.
    6. Russell Smyth & Magnus Söderberg, 2010. "Public interest versus regulatory capture in the Swedish electricity market," Journal of Regulatory Economics, Springer, vol. 38(3), pages 292-312, December.
    7. Jarosław Kantorowicz & Nuno Garoupa, 2016. "An empirical analysis of constitutional review voting in the polish constitutional tribunal, 2003–2014," Constitutional Political Economy, Springer, vol. 27(1), pages 66-92, March.
    8. Padovano, Fabio & Fiorino, Nadia, 2012. "Strategic delegation and “judicial couples” in the Italian Constitutional Court," International Review of Law and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 32(2), pages 215-223.
    9. Sofia Amaral-Garcia & Nuno Garoupa, 2017. "Judicial Behavior and Devolution at the Privy Council," Discussion Papers of DIW Berlin 1643, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research.
    10. Pablo T. Spiller & Sanny Liao, 2006. "Buy, Lobby or Sue: Interest Groups' Participation in Policy Making - A Selective Survey," NBER Working Papers 12209, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    11. Charles Goodhart & Ellen Meade, 2003. "Central Banks and Supreme Courts," FMG Special Papers sp153, Financial Markets Group.

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