It is almost universally acknowledged that one of the hallmarks of a democracy is the independence of the Judiciary. A Judiciary which exists merely to do a Government's bidding or to implement Government policy provides no guarantee of liberty. What do we mean by independence of the Judiciary? The former Chief Justice of Tasmania, Sir Guy Green has defined it as "the capacity of the courts to perform their constitutional function free from actual or apparent interference by, and to the extent that it is constitutionally possible, free from actual or apparent dependence upon, any persons or institutions, including, in particular, the executive arm of government, over which they do not exercise direct control."

The maintenance of public confidence in the impartiality of Judges is essential to public acceptance of the law and the legal system. A loss of that public confidence can lead to instability and even a threat to the very existence of society. In the late seventeenth century in England, the politicisation of the Judiciary and its subservience to the Crown was a material factor in the Revolution of 1688. One of the complaints against George III recited in the American Declaration of Independence was that, "He has made Judges dependent on his will alone, for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries."


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