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The Judicial Trilemma visits Latin American Judicial Politics

  • Mauricio Guim (a1)
Abstract

The Judicial Trilemma, by Jeff Dunoff and Mark Pollack, studies the dynamic relations between accountability, transparency, and independence, and suggests that designers can only maximize two of these three values at once. They can create a court that has high levels of (1) independence and accountability, (2) transparency and independence, or (3) accountability and transparency, but only at the cost of having a low level of the third value. The article explores these ideas using four different international tribunals, but its insights are not limited to international courts. Domestic designers also have to decide what levels of accountability, independence, and transparency their courts should have, and in making a decision they will face the Judicial Trilemma and confront the hard choice of selecting primarily two out of three values.

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Copyright
This is an Open Access article, distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution licence (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
References
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1 Jeffrey Dunoff & Mark Pollack, The Judicial Trilemma, 111 AJIL 225 (2017).

2 Rafael La Porta et al., Judicial Checks and Balances, 11 J. Pol. Econ. 445 (2001).

3 The events of this period of Ecuadorian history are told in Corte Suprema de Justicia v. Ecuador, Preliminary Objection, Merits, Reparations, and Costs, Inter-Am. Ct. H.R. (ser. C) No. 226, 11 (Aug. 23, 2013).

4 Rebecca Bill Chávez et al., A Theory of the Politically Independent Judiciary: A Comparative Study of the United States and Argentina, in Courts in Latin America 219, 232–40 (Gretchen Helmke & Julio Ríos Figueroa eds., 2011).

6 Tamir Moustafa & Tom Ginsburg, Introduction: The Functions of Courts in Authoritarian Politics, in Rule by Law: The Politics of Courts in Authoritarian Regimes 1, 27 (Tom Ginsburg & Tamir Moustafa eds., 2008).

7 See Karen Alter, Agents or Trustees? International Courts in their Political Context, 14 Eur. J. Int'L Rel. 33 (2008).

8 Nathaniel C. Nash, Peru's Invisible Judges: A Faceless Tyranny?, N.Y. TIMES (Sept. 27, 1992).

9 Edgardo Torres, Jueces sin Rostro: Una Ingenuidad, El Tiempo (Apr. 6, 1991) (describing the operation of faceless judges in Colombia). See also Carlos Odriozola, Aún no es momento para jueces sin rostros, Forbes (Nov. 16, 2016) (discussing a similar initiative in Mexico and comparing it with further undertakings in Italy, Peru, and Colombia).

10 Apitz Barbera y Otros v. Venezuela, Preliminary Objection, Merits, Reparations, and Costs, Inter-Am. Ct. H.R. (ser. C) No. 182, paras. 119–21, 186, 193–98, 204 (Aug. 5, 2008).

11 See Chávez et al., supra note 4, at 232–40.

14 Siri Gloppen et al., Courts and Power in Latin America and Africa 63 (2010).

15 Gretchen Helmke & Julio Ríos-Figueroa, Introduction: Courts in Latin America, in Courts in Latin America 1, 9 (Gretchen Helmke & Julio Ríos-Figueroa eds., 2011).

16 Gloppen et al., supra note 14, at 80.

17 Gretchen Helmke, The Origins of Institutional Crises in Latin America, 54 Am. J. Pol. Sci. 737 (2010).

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