Making Judges in a Recognition Judiciary

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Judiciaries in Commonwealth jurisdictions like New Zealand are still constituted through the “recognition” of pre-existing merit within the pool of senior lawyers. The state does not take proactive responsibility for the generation of competence to judge in advance of appointment. That is, increasingly, a pressure point for the long-term maintenance of justified public confidence. This article considers the ongoing sensitivity in discussing judicial professional competence, and the value in confronting that sensitivity prior to the moment of “recognition”, when the veil of judicial independence descends. Developments in judicial appointments, oversight and post-appointment education speak to mounting pressures on the inherited model but cannot wholly relieve those pressures. To do so requires the embrace of specialised professional preparation for judging. In exploring the scope for legitimacy-enhancing change within the existing New Zealand system, the article advocates greater academic engagement with the professional lives of future judges.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)217-228
JournalJournal of Judicial Administration
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2022


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