Judicial anarchy – 16 Apr 2023

Pakistan’s judicial system is now in a state of chaos, characterized by a lack of coherence, consistency, and predictability in legal decision-making. This is judicial anarchy, a situation where judges exceed their authority or act in an arbitrary manner. Judicial anarchy is dangerous because it erodes public trust in the justice system, undermines rule of law and leads to three things: instability, confusion, and unpredictability in the application of the law. Judicial anarchy leads to impunity for powerful individuals and groups and an increase in crime.

Judicial anarchy leads to economic instability. When a country’s judiciary goes into a state of chaos, investors lose confidence in the country’s legal system. In Ukraine, a lack of trust in the judiciary has been cited as a key factor in the country’s economic struggles.

Judicial anarchy discourages entrepreneurs from starting new businesses. In Egypt, investors have been hesitant to invest in the country due to concerns of political interference in the judiciary.

In Russia, the judiciary is seen as ineffective and corrupt. As a consequence, individuals and businesses resort to bribery and corruption to obtain the outcomes they desire. In Cambodia, a lack of respect for rule of law has been cited as a key factor in the country’s economic problems.

A country where the judiciary is in a state of chaos suffers damage to its reputation, which makes it more difficult to attract foreign investment. In the case of Venezuela, a weak, ineffective judiciary has damaged the country’s international reputation and made it more difficult to do business with other countries.

Nigeria has a history of judicial anarchy and this lack of a stable and reliable legal system has created an environment of uncertainty and unpredictability. This has deterred foreign investors and hindered economic growth.

Singapore’s judicial system is known for three key characteristics: efficiency, transparency, and impartiality. This island nation demonstrates a clear link between economic growth and a strong judicial system. Singapore has consistently been ranked as one of the easiest places to conduct business.

When judges become overly politicized or take positions on politically controversial issues they become contributors to political polarization and undermine the separation of powers between the judiciary and the other branches of government. This leads to a breakdown in the democratic process and erodes the legitimacy of the legal system.

The Iranian judiciary, being heavily influenced by the conservative establishment, has been accused of not following due process. The Venezuelan judiciary has been accused of being heavily politicized. The Turkish judiciary has also been accused of being influenced by political considerations.

When judges are perceived to be making decisions based on political affiliations or considerations, it diminishes the public’s confidence in the judiciary and the legal system as a whole. This leads to a loss of trust in the judicial system, which in turn leads to social unrest and instability.

Countries that have well-functioning judicial systems have been successful in attracting foreign investment and promoting economic growth, whereas those with a dysfunctional judicial system have faced challenges in doing so.

The writer is a columnist based in Islamabad. He tweets @saleemfarrukh and can be reached at: farrukh15@hotmail.com

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