Irremovability of Judges

The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Irremovability of Judges


in the capitalist countries, one of the principles of judicial procedure, according to which a judge may be removed from office only upon reaching a maximum age, because of physical incapacity, by a court judgment, or at his own request. The principle of irremovability of judges became established during the period of absolutism, for example, in Spain and France in the process of strengthening royal power in the early 15th century. Later, state offices, including judicial offices, were sold by the king. The Great French Revolution abolished the principle of inheriting judicial offices in France and proclaimed the principle of the election of judges while preserving the irremovability of judges. Subsequently, the practice of appointing judges was restored.

To ensure the operation of courts in the direction desired by the ruling class, judges are appointed for life, or a maximum term of office (very long) is established. In Great Britain, for example, only Parliament may raise the question of removing judges, and the maximum age for members of the county courts is set at 72. In the USA, federal court judges are appointed for life by the president with the consent of the Senate. There is no maximum age for remaining in office, so that the only way to remove judges from office is by a special procedure carried out by Congress called impeachment (a judicial examination by Congress in instances of flagrant crimes committed by high government officials).

In France, with the exception of the personnel of commercial courts, all judges are appointed by the president upon the recommendation of the Supreme Council of the Magistracy. The maximum age for performing judicial functions is 65 (70 in the court of appeals). In Belgium, Denmark, the Netherlands, Norway, and Sweden, judges are appointed by the monarch for life. Judges in Japan may not be removed from office without a public hearing by the impeachment procedure.

Bourgeois ideologists assert that the irremovability of judges ensures their independence in deciding court cases. In actuality, the irremovability of judges, combined with the principle of appointing judges, attests to the nondemocratic nature of the bourgeois court. Having first introduced the principle of irremovability of judges in its struggle against feudalism, the bourgeoisie has used it to keep representatives of its class in judicial offices.

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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