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Word Count: 1,070
At first or even second glance one might answer the question whether the judiciary can be both independent and accountable negatively However there is evidence showing that not only is this possible but there are methods that can guarantee it This essay will firstly give reasons as to why one could doubt that judicial independence could co-exist with judicial accountability It will then discuss and explain a number of methods that can ensure that co-existence Unlike with Legislature the people do not democratically elect the South African judiciary Its function thus does not include representing and fulfilling the wishes of the majority In fact it is one of the principles of independence that the majoritys view of an issue should not play a decicive role in the decisions of judges Therefore in the name of independence trhe judiciary is not accountable to the majority Accountability to the Executive and the Legislature is only briefly mentioned in the Constitution Section 177 states that a judge may only be removed from office if the judge suffers from an incapacity is grossly incompetent or is guilty of gross misconduct Even then a vote of two thirds majority of the National Assembly members is needed to get the judge removed To embark on such a rigid and drastic measure is so much of a mission that most people would shy away from it So here one sees the judiciary having great accountability powers of constitutional and judicial review over the executive and legislature who in turn would have to go to great lengths and make the judiciary accountable to them as a whole Judicial neutrality as a form of judicial independence could further increase judicial inaccountability because in claiming to comply only with the formal rules of law judges shirk the responsibility of the effects that their own values and preconceptions have on their judgement claiming that they were based objectively on legal
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