Judges should only follow the law and not be influenced by anyone else.

The court examining your case must be independent. This means that in making a decision the judges should only follow the law and not be influenced by anyone else. 

Independent court system

Independence means that the court system is separate from the government (executive power) and the parliament (legislative power). Certain unavoidable influence in the functioning of the court system will not automatically make the courts unfair. What matters is that judges are not influenced while making decisions in any particular case they are hearing. 

example This means that although the President appoints judges or the Ministry of Justice develops policy in judicial matters, it does not mean that the courts are not independent. 

Independent judges

Independence also means that other participants in the case cannot exercise their influence or pressure judges in their decision making. 

example A judge cannot consider a case if he also works at the university and one of the parties to the case is the dean of that university.

Disqualification of a judge

It is not sufficient for the court to be formally independent; it also has to work in a way that the parties to the case or the public have no doubts about its independence. Where you can show that you have well-grounded doubts about the independence of a judge, it should be enough to have a judge disqualified. 

The Code of Misdemeanour Procedure provides for the possibility of disqualifying a judge if you think he/she is not independent. Generally, the judges in your case will be announced to you before the start of the trial. If you know any reasons for why a judge should not hear your case, you should ask the court to remove that judge from the panel before they have started examining your case. Such application can only be submitted after the trial has started if you found out about such reasons at a later stage. In that case you have to submit this application as soon as possible. 


Last updated 04/05/2019