ENHANCING JUDICIARY`S ABILITY TO CURB CORRUPTION - A PRACTICAL GUIDE
1.3 CAUSES AND REMEDIES TO JUDICIAL INEFFICIENCY IN
The global fight against corruption depends upon the effectiveness of judicial systems. Only an
independent, accountable, impartial judiciary, adequately empowered to adjudicate all the cases in
is able to uphold individual rights and prevent abuse of power by state and non-state
actors. Yet, TI Chapters’ work, as well as that of other organizations, has shown that the judiciary
is often unable or unwilling to fulfil its mandate effectively. Corruption continues to distort judicial
processes in many countries and effective interpretation and application of anti-corruption laws and
standards is often still lacking.
The causes for judiciary`s failures in sanctioning corruption are extremely diverse and range from
lack of independence, integrity and accountability, to lack of courage, will, appropriate instruments or
adequate resources. Yet, these causes can be structured into two major categories:
Core vulnerabilities that hamper the effectiveness of the judiciary as a whole,
the legal nature of the cases.
The core vulnerabilities are those aspects that affect the due process and overall functioning and
performance of the judiciary the result of an improperly established rule of law in the country.
In these cases, the constitutional safeguards for the judiciary are not sufficient to secure its
independence, transparency, accountability or institutional capacity, or they are not implemented into
a comprehensive legal framework that ensures their adequate application in practice. For instance,
the appointment of judicial officials creates biases that affect the independence and impartiality of
the newly appointed judges. Or the separation of powers is not adequately ensured and political
interference by the Parliament affects the independence and impartiality of the judiciary. Or conflict
of interest laws are not adopted further compromising the integrity of the judiciary. Or the lack of
accountability mechanisms allows judicial officials to abuse their decision-making power in favour
of a few. The core vulnerabilities must always be assessed against the national context where they
happen, in order to determine their real scope and appropriate solutions.
Structural and functional gaps and loopholes that affect the phases of the criminal justice
Loopholes exist when regulations or institutional instruments are missing. Gaps exist when there
is a discrepancy between existing legal provisions and current judicial practices. Both loopholes
and gaps prevent corruption cases from being effectively processed by criminal justice systems.
Loopholes are usually the result of a poor legislative process or the lack of executive allocation of
resources. Gaps are often the result of little judicial accountability in practice, despite the existence of
the formal framework. If occurring, either gaps or loopholes prevent cases from following the normal
course of the criminal justice system and are usually left unsanctioned due to procedural trickiness.
It is important to note that the judiciary may still fail to effectively accomplish its role in sanctioning
corruption caused by gaps and loopholes, despite the existence and enforcement of constitutional
7. Guidance Note of the Secretary-General, UN Approach to Rule of Law Assistance, April 2008, page 6