Lawyer Monthly - June 2022

42 WWW.LAWYER-MONTHLY.COM | JUN 2022 in the judiciary serving the people better. In jurisdictions where the judicial office is taken for granted and an opinion holding that accountability compromises judicial independence prevails, it is not surprising that the judicial services lack elements of essential quality. Avoiding accountability for failing to serve the people by hiding behind judicial tenure and purported judicial independence creates a perfect environment for distrust in judiciaries. It is also a perfect environment for justices to rule according to their political agenda, led by loyalty to their appointer. Therefore, it appears that the loss of trust in judiciaries stems from the lack of accountability, and I am convinced that the root of the problem is mainly the lack of accountability combined with a lack of quality of judicial services. It is because of the accountability issues that the people mandate politicians to stand up to judges. Only if the judiciary serves the public properly and is truly accountable will the people support the judiciary and defend it against the politicians. Therefore, to earn and protect its independence, the judiciary must deliver quality services to people and be held accountable for its performance. Having analysed the issue in depth, we at the Better Justice Association feel that the optimum approach is to establish a Supreme Authority of Justice (“SAoJ”), an independent judicial regulator for quality judicial services. We propose to ensure full accountability of the SAoJ and propose an efficient judicial review of any of its decisions that could be initiated by any member of the public and at no cost. The BJA proposes to establish the Supreme Court of Justice (“SCoJ”) for this purpose. Conclusion In summary, the key to protecting judicial independence is focusing on gaining the trust of the people by providing quality judicial service whilst being truly accountable. Securing quality service provision and proper accountability will ensure the judiciary is seen as a friend of the people, rather than a group helping serving themselves – or, even worse, an “enemy” intent on meddling with serious political or social issues. Only then can the public grant full independence to the judiciary – and defend it when it comes under attack. Accountability to People, Not Politicians The judiciary must be truly accountable to the society that is legitimately entitled to expect its services, not to ruling politicians. Conflating the accountability of the judges with the politicians will seriously compromise the accountability of both, to the extent of conspiring against the very people they serve. The Better Way: Service-Oriented Regulation and Supervision Instead of creating political masters for the judiciary, a unique system of accountability needs to be devised. The judiciary should be regulated by an autonomous regulatory body dealing with all aspects of the judicial service: policy, principles, planning and operations, etc. It should be watertight against even a hint of influence by any individual, group or coalition. It should ensure that the promotion of judges and other service providers is based on their performance in providing quality judicial services, and judicial appointments should be open to all suitable candidates in open transparent competition, which should involve public debate. HOW TO PROTECT THE JUDICIARY FROM POLITICAL INTERFERENCE Public trust in the judiciary is generally higher in better-functioning societies, whereas in societies with less sophisticated and robust civic institutions there are often more complaints about judges. Avoiding accountability for failing to serve the people by hiding behind judicial tenure and purported judicial independence creates a perfect environment for distrust in judiciaries. In a professional career of almost 40 years, Mehmet Gün has developed expertise in commercial and corporate law, life sciences and pharmaceuticals, intellectual property and litigation in Turkey. He has been counted among the pioneers of the development, regulation, promotion and enforcement of modern Turkish IP laws. Most notably, he is committed to promoting greater understanding of the state of the rule of law, in Turkey, the boundaries of the Turkish Judiciary and their effects on the business and social environment. To this end, he has established both the Better Justice Association and Istanbul Arbitration Association NGOs and written a book criticising the abusive use of courtappointed experts by the Turkish judiciary. He is also the author of the book ‘Turkey’s Middle Democracy Issues and How to Solve Them’ and co-author of ‘Turkish Judicial Reform A-Z’.

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