Should Judges Reflect The Society In Which They Live?

1239 words - 5 pages

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"...an independent, apolitical and strictly legal institution."In addition, within our adversarial system of justice the judge accepts a responsibility to guard the rights of the citizenry, a duty which can only be successfully achieved if the judge stands as an impartial actor. The judge's principle constitutional role is combined within a pursuit and fervent obligation to conserve and protect the state's democratic character, at the same time safe-guarding the Separation of Powers. The latter in itself constitutes an essential democratic value, its endeavor being to defend liberty. At the core of the judge's role, lies the responsibility to uphold human rights, in relation to both other human beings and the state. It is the sovereignty of the judge that positions him as an individual who can best protect the citizens and provide expression to our legal system's basic values.Judges should not represent their society because the living constitutions already reflect the will of the people. The sole motive of the judge is the protection and maintenance of the Rule of Law, rights guaranteed by our Constitution, ensuring that all citizens are subject to and aware of the same publicly communicated rules, for example; that the act of smoking is prohibited in the workplace....

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