18 Wis. Int'l L.J. 353 (2000)
Attacking Corruption in the Judiciary: A Critical Process in Judicial Reform

handle is hein.journals/wisint18 and id is 363 raw text is: ATTACKING CORRUPTION IN THE JUDICIARY:
States without justice are but bands of robbers enlarged
-Saint Augustine
In general, under a system of good governance the courts are
expected to be impartial and fair institutions. In this regard, the judicial
system is intended to be apolitical, its symbol being that of a blindfolded
justice holding balanced scales. Indeed, it is such ajudicial system that can
uphold the rule of law and protect human rights. Societies aspire to create and
enforce laws universally applicable on both public and private individuals
without the arbitrary use of power. While the organization of courts may vary
from country to country, this is the basic premise upon which societies seek
to construct their judicial systems.
In order to guarantee this judicial system, judicial independence is
necessary. Judicial independence is probably the single greatest institutional
support for the rule of law. Courts are supposed to be non-partisan in the
political process, free to make their decisions unhindered by the political
influences of daily life. Put another way, courts that are used by political
regimes to further partisan or even private ends cannot be thought of as
institutions of good governance and as such are illegitimate. Indeed, law is
an element of social control; when the courts apply the law to the settlement
of disputes, it is a way to enforce this control. If law or the courts are
perceived as arbitrary in their application, then the social control objective
may be distorted. Thus, the law and those that apply it must be perceived as
impartial and equitable at all times if order is to be maintained in society.
Maria Dakolias is counsel in the World Bank's Legal Department where she advises and
manages legal and judicial reform projects. The views expressed in this article are her own and
are not necessarily those of the organization she represents. She is a graduate of Haverford
College (B.A.), George Mason University School of Law (J.D.), and the University of
Amsterdam (L.L.M.). Kim Thachuck works on issues related to corruption and organized crime
in the Americas. She has a doctorate in criminology and political science from Simon Fraser
University, Canada, and a B.A., M.A. from the University of British Columbia, Canada. The
authors wish to thank Louis Forget for his comments and Shana Lee for her research
Much of this material in this article stems from the authors' own special expertise and practical
experience working with reformers arounds the world. Their direct personal knowledge, thus,
at times, substitutes form formal citation to supporting written documents.

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