How and why do networks of judges make a difference in judicial politics in patronage-based systems? Judicial networks provide important benefits to both patrons and judges by sharing information about the exchange of concrete rewards and sanctions, generating expectations about the staying power of the patrons and mobilizing judges when needed. These informational and mobilizing practices are at the heart of collective judicial autonomy. Yet judges exercise this autonomy in different ways depending on the presence of a dominant patronage network, the rigidity of the judicial hierarchy with the supreme court on top, and the intensity of intra-judicial conflict. I explore the informational and mobilizing practices of judicial associations – the most visible judicial networks – in post-Soviet Ukraine, a country with a large number of these associations, varying numbers of ruling patronage networks and two attempts at the abolition of the supreme court. Lessons from Ukraine’s judicial clientelism may help explain why competitive politics with vibrant judicial associationalism fail to entrench judicial independence.
- Judicial autonomy
- judicial networks
- judicial politics
- supreme courts
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Sociology and Political Science
- Political Science and International Relations