The global norm is that, by law or by practice, judges will be citizens of the state they serve. Yet, in Pacific island states foreign judges regularly sit on the highest domestic courts and determine constitutional matters.
In this podcast, Anna Dziedzic presents her PhD research, in which she undertook the first in-depth study exploration of the use of foreign judges in the Pacific region and its effects on Pacific judiciaries. The podcast outlines the findings of an empirical study of the numbers of foreign judges serving in the Pacific, their nationality and professional background, the processes by which they are recruited, and the terms and conditions of their service. This study reveals a transnational movement of judges from common law jurisdictions to Pacific states, and a form of judicial service that is affected by the legal frameworks and practices of the Pacific states that use foreign judges and the policies of the external states and organisations that provide foreign judges.
The podcast also considers the implications of the use of foreign judges for the ways in which courts approach constitutional adjudication; judicial independence; and the representative qualities of judges and judiciaries. This analysis of the practice of foreign judging and its implications provides the basis to assess the rationales for the use of foreign judges, to identify challenges that the practices poses to the legitimacy of Pacific judiciaries, and to propose good practice initiatives that might inform the laws and policies that regulate the use of foreign judges.