The Political role of the judiciary : The Belgian case

  • Lode Van Outrive


We set out by tracking the political vicissitudes of the administration of justice and their connections with a range of phenomena: the neglect by politicians; a series of events and scandals and the very curious reactions of the judicial apparatus; several parliamentary investigation commissions without much effect. Then we take a critical look at partisan politicisation of the magistrature: negative evalution of their output thrives to it; but there are also partisan appointments and promotions, even absence and refusal of training. Many contextual factors hinder a normal, acceptable process of politicisation: over- and underregulation, bad legislation, misconception on contra! over the administration of justice and over judges, non-democratic decisionmaking within the organisation of the magistrature, the development of wrong relationship inside the trias politica; but also other more external conditions were not met neither.  We wind up with an examination of the assesment of recent governmental proposals: an improvement of criminal and judicial inquiries; foundation of a national advisory body for the magistrature; simplification of the legislation; modernisation of the courts activities; a more objective recruitment and selection system; more easy access to justice etc. The question raises as to wether it suffices to tinker with the sy stem of the administration of justice alone ... Between the Belgian and the Italian situations are similarities and relevant differences. 

How to Cite:

Van Outrive, L., (1996) “The Political role of the judiciary : The Belgian case”, Res Publica 38(2), 371-384. doi:

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Published on
29 Jun 1996
Peer Reviewed