Date: 23May 2016

Judges exercising the power of judicial review engage in policy determination, thus, encroaching upon the tradition domain of the executive and legislative branches of government. Executive branches of emerging democracies exhibit an observable resentment towards judicial interference. Courts which are deemed to have abused their decisional independence are subjected to institutional attacks by impeaching judges antagonistic to the regime in order to neutralise the judiciary.

This seminar seeks to determine the relationship between the exercise of the decisional independence of judges and abusive demands for judicial accountability in emerging democracies. It proceeds from the assumption that although impeachment and similar proceedings are administrative in nature, they are highly political and are consequently politicised. In this seminar, the speaker will compare identified trends between in impeachment (and similar) proceedings in Malaysia, Peru, Pakistan, the Philippines and Sri Lanka, identifying specific areas that should be addressed.

Despite recognising that an impeachment proceeding is a domestic political matter, the speaker also argues that the international community must step up its efforts to protect judicial independence by safeguarding the fundamental rights of judges facing impeachment proceedings.

Leah Angela Robis is a PhD candidate at the University of Hong Kong Faculty of Law, under the supervision of Prof. Michael Davis and Ms. Kelley Loper. Her dissertation examines the effect of judicialization of politics on intergovernmental relations in emerging democracies, and pays particular attention to why and how impeachment proceedings are used to enforce judicial accountability. Angela has also researched and published articles on the rights to free expression, privacy and self-determination.

Angela holds a BS in Management and JD degrees from the Ateneo de Manila University in the Philippines and an LLM in Human Rights from the University of Hong Kong. Prior to commencing her graduate studies, Angela was a law clerk for the Supreme Court of the Philippines and briefly engaged in private practice. She was a participant at the 4th China ASEAN Leadership Forum at Guangxi University for Nationalities in Nanning, China and was a Wong Family Human Rights Scholar.