Korean lawyers publish judges’ report cards

I came across an interesting story about lawyers in Korea publishing report cards evaluating performance of judges. You can read the report here. The report suggests that nearly 500 lawyers assessed the performance of judges across eight courts in Seoul on four criteria- attitude, integrity, fairness and knowledge. The results showed the top judge received 93 points, while the lowest received 45. Overall, Seoul’s judges averaged 75 points. The report is not clear about the maximum points. A couple of interesting things to note- the report was only handed over to the Supreme Court of Korea and not made public. The lawyers hope that judges will also join the evaluation committee in the future.

I wonder if such a thing can happen in India. DAKSH, an organisation I work with is currently working on evaluating performance of elected representatives which is a difficult challenge. But I think performance assessment of judges is easier to carry out. I doubt however if our courts will permit such a thing to happen. More than likely they will invoke the sacred judicial independence argument. I understand that for the lower judiciary, some High Courts have instituted a points based evaluation system. However, I do not know if there is publicly available information on this.

Written by
Harish Narsappa
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  • while we are debating judicial performance, this disturbing case on recusal of a judge from a gujarat riots case needs attention. should a judge be allowed to do this without objecting from parties or without citing legitimate reasons (like being an interested party)? if the judge is under pressure, it is a serious matter concerning judicial independence. whatever is the matter, we need to know the reasons. in an apparently comparable incident in south africa, the judge who was pressurised went public and complained to higher judiciary. surely, this is a better course of action than recusal.