Mariana Llanos / Cordula Tibi Weber / Charlotte Heyl / Alexander Stroh

Informal Interference in the Judiciary in New Democracies: A Comparison of Six African and Latin American Cases

GIGA Working Paper, No. 245, April 2014

Abstract
This paper assesses the extent to which elected power holders informally intervene in the judiciaries of new democracies, an acknowledged but under‐researched topic in studies of judicial politics. The paper first develops an empirical strategy for the study of informal interference based on perceptions recorded in interviews, then applies the strategy to six third‐wave democracies, three in Africa (Benin, Madagascar and Senegal) and three in Latin America (Argentina, Chile and Paraguay). It also examines how three conditioning factors affect the level of informal judicial interference: formal rules, previous democratic experience, and socioeconomic development. Our results show that countries with better performance in all these conditioning factors exhibit less informal interference than countries with poorer or mixed performance. The results stress the importance of systematically including informal politics in the study of judicial politics.

Related Research at the GIGA

GIGA Authors

Dr. Mariana Llanos

Lead Research Fellow
Head of RP 1

Dr. Mariana Llanos is a lead research fellow at the GIGA Institute of Latin American Studies and head of GIGA’s Accountability and Participation Research Programme. She is the coordinator of the German team within the PROBRAL project “The Institutional Presidency in Latin America."

Cordula Tibi Weber

Research Fellow / Doctoral Student

Cordula Tibi Weber is a political scientist and a research fellow at the GIGA Institute of Latin American Studies.

Dr. Charlotte Heyl

Research Fellow
Speaker Research Team

Dr. Charlotte Heyl is a research fellow at the GIGA Institute of African Affairs. In her doctoral thesis she investigated the influence of constitutional courts on democratic elections in Madagascar and Senegal. Currently, she works in the DFG-funded project “The (In)stability of Presidential Term Limits in Africa and Latin America: Assessing the Impact of Tenure-Rule Reforms on the Political Regime.”

Prof. Dr. Alexander Stroh is a political scientist, an assistant professor of African politics and development policy at the University of Bayreuth, and an associate at the GIGA Institute of African Affairs.

Recent Publications by the Authors

Charlotte Heyl

Senegal (1970-2016): presidential term limit reforms never come alone

in: Alexander Baturo / Robert Elgie (eds.), The politics of presidential term limits, Oxford University Press, 2019, 339-361

Charlotte Heyl

The judiciary and the rule of law in Africa

in: Oxford University Press (ed.), Oxford Research Encyclopedia , Oxford University Press, 2019

Mariana Llanos / Leany Lemos

Preferências Presidenciais? As indicações para o Supremo Tribunal Federal no Brasil Democrático

in: Marjorie Corrêa Marona / Andrés del Río (eds.), Justiça no Brasil: às margens da democracia, Belo Horizonte: Arraes Editores, 2018, 275-308

John M. Carey / Janvier Corrales / Mariana Llanos / Leiv Marsteintredet / Aníbal Pérez-Liñán

The threat of impeachment can push presidents out the door. But there’s a catch.

Washington Post, Monkey Cage, 2018