In 2020, Asia Democracy Research Network (ADRN) selected an efficient system of checks and balances of the constitutional division of powers as the key element to assess the state of judicial freedoms in Asia.


Against this background, ADRN published this special report to evaluate the current state of the trends and trajectories of judicial powers in the region by studying the phenomenon and its impact within three different countries in Asia, as well as their key reforms in the near future.


The report investigates contemporary questions such as: What are the key constitutional and legal provisions ensuring judicial independence? What are key mechanisms to ensure judicial accountability? Have the courts or judicial processes tuned themselves to modernization and technological transformations such as e-courts or online arbitration? How can we evaluate the performance of judiciary on key parameters like upholding separation of powers? What are the major challenges to judicial independence in the country?


Drawing on a rich array of resources and data, this report offers country-specific analyses, highlights areas of improvement, and suggests policy recommendations to strengthen the autonomy and effectiveness of the judiciary in their own countries and the larger Asia region..


Quotes from the Paper


“The long established constitutional “separation of powers” is under great stress today notwithstanding several landmark judgments by some individual judges in recent times. In addition, there are equally critical concerns with regard to reforms in terms of the manner that judges are appointed and the growing backlog, accountability, corruption, pendency, issues of access and affordability of justice for average citizens, and so on. In short, India’s judiciary is in the spotlight today, albeit for many of the wrong reasons.” – Observer Research Foundation


“Judicial independence is an important concept in modern day democracy. It heralds the principle of separation of powers, and serves as a check on the possible abuse of executive and legislative action through judicial review. But if the judiciary is independent, are they free to do anything? To what standard should they also be held accountable in order to ensure proper behavior and fealty to the rule of law?” – International Center for Innovation, Transformation and Excellence in Governance


“With the evolution of democratic values, the judiciary has taken on a wider role as a key institution that serves as a custodian of public power and a protector of the people’s sovereignty. Thus, the judiciary is expected to safeguard human rights and function as the sole arbiter of legal disputes (Swart 2019). Therefore, both positive and negative duties are cast on political and non-political actors to respect and promote judicial independence and integrity.” – Verité Research




Various researchers from Observer Research Foundation, International Center for Innovation, Transformation and Excellence in Governance, and Verité Research.


EAI provided support in the form of typesetting and proofreading for the production of the reports.



Typeset by Juhyun Jun Research Associate
    For inquiries: 02 2277 1683 (ext. 204) |

Major Project

Center for Democracy Cooperation

Detailed Business

Asia Democracy Research Network

Related Publications