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Perils of Judicial Self-Government in Transitional Societies


  • 6 b/w illus. 32 tables
  • Page extent: 488 pages
  • Size: 228 x 152 mm
  • Weight: 0.82 kg


 (ISBN-13: 9781107112124)

Judicial councils and other judicial self-government bodies have become a worldwide phenomenon. Democracies are increasingly turning to them to insulate the judiciary from the daily politics, enhance independence and ensure judicial accountability. This book investigates the different forms of accountability and the taxonomy of mechanisms of control to determine a best practice methodology. The author expertly provides a meticulous analysis, using over 800 case studies from the Czech and Slovak disciplinary courts from 1993 to 2010 and creates a systematic framework that can be applied to future cases.

• Expertly combines a deep knowledge of legal doctrine with political science methods • Based on robust and verifiable evidence, this is the only scholarly work that tests the effects of a judicial council empirically • Challenges the view of judicial accountability as an exclusively positive quality and shows its negative side-effects


Introduction; Part I. Judicial Accountability: Theoretical Framework: 1. The concept of judicial accountability; 2. Mechanisms of judicial accountability; 3. Judicial accountability and judicial councils; Part II. Holding Czech and Slovak Judges Accountable: 4. Prologue to the case studies: methodology and data reporting; 5. The Czech Republic; 6. Slovakia; 7. Evaluation: the Czech Republic and Slovakia compared; Part III. Conclusions and Implications: 8. Judicial accountability and judicial councils: critical appraisal; Annexes.


'Kosař … relies on more than 800 case studies from the Czech and Slovak disciplinary courts from 1993 to 2010 to analyze differing forms of accountability of the least accountable branch of government: the judiciary. The volume's first part lays the theoretical framework that informs the empirical analysis presented in chapters 4 to 7. It defines judicial accountability, describes its mechanisms, and overviews the role of judicial councils in insulating the judiciary from politics, enhancing its independence, and thus ensuring judicial accountability. Chapter 4 comments on the methodology of the empirical research, explaining case selection and case analysis, whereas chapters 5 to 7 compare cases from the Czech and Slovak Republics. The final chapter serves as a conclusion, arguing that the judicial council increases judicial autonomy without necessarily improving the independence of individual judges. Recommended.' L. Stan, Choice

'Perils of Judicial Self-Government in Transitional Societies serves as a fine cautionary tale about unforeseen consequences and about the perils of sloganizing the sophisticated semantics of constitutionalism and imposing top-down, ready-made policy solutions adopted on the basis of such slogans.' Bogdan Iancu, European Constitutional Law Review

'Kosař's thoroughly researched book is one of the most comprehensive accounts on judicial accountability written in comparative judicial scholarship, providing a solid basis for further discussions of this concept in academic circles. The book offers a springboard for future analyses on judicial accountability mechanisms and their operation, including their informal dimension, in the post-communist world and beyond.' Raul A. Sanches-Urribarri, I-CONnect (

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