Conclusion: Multifactor Explanations
This book has addressed the puzzle of why, over the last two decades, some superior courts in less developed, democratic countries have increasingly exercised an accountability function, while others have remained relatively deferential to the popular branches of government. Our examination of the high courts in ten countries on two continents has shown that similar judicial and/or constitutional reforms have produced dissimilar outcomes. At one end of the spectrum are the highly assertive superior courts of Costa Rica and Colombia demonstrating a willingness and ability to hold political power to law in controversial political cases.1 At the other end, superior courts in Chile, Tanzania, and Mozambique have remained politically deferential. Our ten case studies also reveal that superior courts’ exercise of their accountability functions is not constant over time, within countries, across the regions, or in the areas of accountability actions taken by courts. In this concluding chapter, we first discuss the observable patterns that emerge from our cases both within and across regions. We then draw some conclusions to explain the variance in judicial behavior.
KeywordsCivil Society Opportunity Structure Legal Tradition Constitutional Court Judicial Independence
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