Question Zara Waiin Law

Why are Judicial and Legal Service Commissions designed to avoid political interference?

Why is the Judicial and Legal Services Commission designed without political interference?

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Answer Internal Staff

To begin this question, it is important to highlight that Judicial and Legal Service Commissions (JLSC) are commonplace across a number of jurisdictions. The UK however, does not have such a commission.

The typical purpose of JLSC’s is to exercise control over various types of position where legal qualifications are required e.g. Judges. For example, Malaysia’s JLSC is imbued with its power under Article 144(1) of their Federal Constitution, which permits the JLSC to; discipline, promote and transfer legal officers, amongst other things. Alternatively, s.110 of the Constitution of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago, establishes their JLSC, which is provided with very similar powers to the above, under s.104 and s.111 of said Constitution.

Another common trait of such bodies, is their need for non-interference from political parties i.e. Government.

Defined by numerous influential legal scholars including John Locke and Charles de Montesquieu, the separation of powers doctrine establishes that the three main bodies of power be separate from one another, in order restrict the abuse of their potential influence. The JLSC would be considered part of the Judicial branch of said powers. For clarity’s sake, the other two relevant bodies are the Executive and Legislature.

The Judiciary is tasked with interpreting the law, as is its function. Influence from a political body as to the appointment of legal personnel, could have the clear repercussion of causing misapplications of the law that better suit a political agenda. As such, JLSC’s are typically tasked with avoiding such influence, as this is the only way to permit the Judiciary to appropriately carry out their function.

Any external influence not deemed appropriate such as interference from another body, will impact the effectiveness of any judgement/decision made. Issues with the law not being applied correctly are extensive, and creating an exhaustive list these issues would be near impossible. What is guaranteed however is an unascertainable degree of uncertainty with both the laws application and judgments made, would arise as a consequence if said abuse was permitted.