Volume 48
Issue 4
Summer '17

Autocracy, Democracy, and Juristocracy: The Wax and Wane of Judicial Power in the Four Asian Tigers

Written By: Chien-Chih Lin


Recent decades have witnessed the expansion of judicial power not only in advanced democracies, but also in nascent democracies and even semi-authoritarian regimes. Conventional wisdom has long held that political competition is the major cause of this trend. Albeit persuasive, this argument cannot explain the nuanced differences between countries in which political powers are equally fragmented or concentrated. Focusing on the development of judicial power in the four Asian Tigers—Hong Kong, Singapore, South Korea, and Taiwan—this Article contends that the judicialization of politics can be better understood through the lens of historical institutionalism. This explains why the judicial power is more progressive in Korea than in Taiwan despite the two countries’ political and institutional similarities. It also elucidates why the judiciary in Hong Kong is more active than its counterpart in Singapore.

Keep Reading Autocracy, Democracy, and Juristocracy

Subscribe to GJIL