Should judges reflect the society in which they live?

Essay by tinkabelle18College, UndergraduateA, May 2003

download word file, 5 pages 4.0

Justice that is absolutely impartial is a cornerstone of democracy. Judges are the highest officials of the judiciary, as independent arbitrators they are relied upon to perform their judicial duties according to the law and Constitutional principles, autonomously of social, political and ideological concerns.

In democratic nations, as that of Australia, it is not appropriate for judges to reflect their society in the performance of their judicial role. Ultimately it is the detachment of the judge which enables the litigation process to fairly administer justice.

First of all it is important to point out that judicial independence as the third arm of government, separate from the Legislative and Executive branches plays a vital role in Australia's working democracy and is an institution that must be preciously guarded, "Without the guarantee of such independence, the very essence of any justice system- that it be just and fairly administered- cannot be ensured."

It is the support and respect of the citizenry which enable such an establishment to function at its utmost.

More importantly, it is the independence of the individual judge that is vital to our legal system and our democracy. On entering the courtroom as a litigant, there is an egalitarian right to expect that the judge is fair, impartial and knowledgeable about the law. One of the most imperative values of our legal system is the right to a fair trial as such the judge must desist from imposing his own subjective values within the courtroom so as the case is tried justly. Society's confidence in the judiciary implies its trust in our judges to act impartially, neutrally and in fairness inclusive to the law and that the court is" independent, apolitical and strictly legal institution."

In addition, within our adversarial system of justice the judge accepts a responsibility to...