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Student Research Projects

The Effects of an Independent Judiciary on Democracy

Student Laura Jackson
Faculty Mentor(s)
Department Political Science
Course POLS 499: Senior Seminar


This article examines the role of the independent judiciary over time in the development and stability of democracy. Many recently transitioned nations have undergone significant judicial reform, primarily the establishment of a judiciary separate and unaffected by other branches of government. I hope to determine the extent to which establishing an independent judiciary is critical to the rule of law, and to identify the effects of independent judiciaries on the success of democracy. Democracy is defined in this study by the existence of civil and human rights and through the participation of voters and non-governmental organizations. Judicial independence will be measured through judgeship tenure, the appointment process, and frequency and type of alteration in the number of judges. Contrary to those who consider judicial independence irrelevant, I expect to find that the nations whose judiciary is more independent have a stronger democracy.

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