The Jordanian Senate’s Legal Committee has endorsed a bill that would give the country’s judiciary an independent budget and improve the judicial appointment process. The marked bill now goes back to the Lower House for review, and to rationalize any inconsistencies between the two versions.
Budgetary independence is a central, and often overlooked, component of judicial independence. Courts are already dependent on other arms of the government for funding; to also be restricted in how the money is spent creates the obvious risk of quid pro quo justice. Budgetary independence was a major project for the United States Courts in the first part of the twentieth century, and it finally met with success in the 1930s. Other jurisdictions around the world are right to seek the same, and the Jordanian legislature is right to grant it here.
Jordan’s King Abdullah has endorsed the recommendations of the Royal Committee for Developing the Judiciary and Enhancing the Rule of Law.
The King outlined the priorities of the council; namely, accelerating litigation and the execution of court rulings, establishing specialised courtrooms and better harnessing technology to serve the set goals of judicial reform.
His Majesty stressed that the economic and investment environment cannot be improved without an effective and independent judiciary.
He underlined the importance of supporting judges and improving their competence with continuous training.
Other Arab countries have similarly recognized in recent years that a stable and competent judicial system is critical to economic growth. But it is one thing to support judicial independence and the rule of law in principle, and quite another to maintain those values in a challenging political climate.