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The judiciary (also known as the judicial system or judicature) is the system of courts which interprets and applies the law in the name of the sovereign or state. The judiciary also provides a mechanism for the resolution of disputes. Under the doctrine of the separation of powers, the judiciary generally does not make law (that is, in a plenary fashion, which is the responsibility of the legislature) or enforce law (which is the responsibility of the executive), but rather interprets law and applies it to the facts of each case.

This branch of government is often tasked with ensuring equal justice under law. It usually consists of a court of final appeal (called the "supreme court" or "constitutional court"), together with lower courts.

The judicial branch has the power to change laws.

The term "judiciary" is also used to refer collectively to the personnel, such as judges, magistrates and other adjudicators, who form the core of a judiciary (sometimes referred to as a "bench"), as well as the staffs who keep the system running smoothly.

History

After the French Revolution, lawmakers prohibited any interpretation of law by judges, and the legislature was the only body permitted to interpret the law; this prohibition was later overturned by the Code Napoléon.

In France, along with other countries that Napoleon had conquered, or where there was a reception of the Civil Code approach, judges once again assumed an important role, like their English counterparts. In civil law jurisdictions at present, judges interpret the law to about the same extent as in common law jurisdictions – though it may be acknowledged in theory in a different manner than in the common law tradition which directly recognizes the limited power of judges to make law. For instance, in Francemarker, the jurisprudence constante of the Court of Cassation or the Council of State is equivalent in practice with case law.

In theory, in the French civil law tradition, a judge does not make new law; he or she merely interprets the intents of "the Legislator." The role of interpretation is traditionally approached more conservatively in civil law jurisdictions than in common law jurisdictions. When the law fails to deal with a situation, doctrinal writers and not judges call for legislative reform, though these legal scholars sometimes influence judicial

See also



Further reading

  • Cardozo, Benjamin N. (1998). The Nature of the Judicial Process. New Haven: Yale University Press.
  • Feinberg, Kenneth, Jack Kress, Gary McDowell, and Warren E. Burger (1986). The High Cost and Effect of Litigation, 3 vols.
  • Frank, Jerome (1985). Law and the Modern Mind. Birmingham, AL: Legal Classics Library.
  • Levi, Edward H. (1949) An Introduction to Legal Reasoning. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
  • Marshall, Thurgood (2001). Thurgood Marshall: His Speeches, Writings, Arguments, Opinions and Reminiscences. Chicago: Lawrence Hill Books.
  • McCloskey, Robert G., and Sanford Levinson (2005). The American Supreme Court, 4th ed. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
  • Miller, Arthur S. (1985). Politics, Democracy and the Supreme Court: Essays on the Future of Constitutional Theory. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press.
  • Tribe, Laurence (1985). God Save This Honorable Court: How the Choice of Supreme Court Justices Shapes Our History. New York: Random House.
  • Zelermyer, William (1977). The Legal System in Operation. St. Paul, MN: West Publishing.


Footnotes

  1. Hamilton, Marci. God vs. the Gavel, page 296 (Cambridge University Press 2005): “The symbol of the judicial system, seen in courtrooms throughout the United States, is blindfolded Lady Justice.”
  2. Fabri, Marco. The challenge of change for judicial systems, page 137 (IOS Press 2000): “the judicial system is intended to be apolitical, its symbol being that of a blindfolded Lady Justice holding balanced scales.”
  3. Cappelletti, Mauro et al. The Italian Legal System, page 150 (Stanford University Press 1967).



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