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Democracy and the State in the New Southern Europe$
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Richard Gunther, P. Nikiforos Diamandouros, and Dimitri A. Sotiropoulos

Print publication date: 2006

Print ISBN-13: 9780199202812

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2009

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199202812.001.0001

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Democratic Consolidation, Judicial Reform, and the Judicialization of Politics in Southern Europe

Democratic Consolidation, Judicial Reform, and the Judicialization of Politics in Southern Europe

Chapter:
(p.138) 4 Democratic Consolidation, Judicial Reform, and the Judicialization of Politics in Southern Europe
Source:
Democracy and the State in the New Southern Europe
Author(s):

Pedro C. Magalhães

Carlo Guarnieri

Yorgos Kaminis

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199202812.003.0004

This chapter presents the results of judicial reform in the new Southern Europe in the context of the legacies of the nondemocratic past and the strategies of political actors. The democratic transition involved the restitution of judicial independence, limited purges of the judicial personnel, and lack of change in the courts' administration. Internal independence and individual autonomy of judges increased, while judicial hierarchy was eroded. With the exception of Greece, in the rest of Southern Europe judicial review was centralized and entrusted to constitutional courts, which diffused a “culture of constitutionality” to the judiciary. In Portugal and Spain, constitutional courts were insulated from the narrow will of political majorities and thus contributed to democratic consolidation. Judicial activism was present in all four countries, but the judicialization of politics became particularly important in Italy because of an institutionally strong prosecutorial branch and the presence of a politically factionalized judiciary at a time of stagnation and crisis of the party system.

Keywords:   judicial reform, judicialization of politics, civil law judiciaries, judicial independence, judicial activism, strategies of elites, constitutionalism, judicial review

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