At least now they have started to review the quality of lower court decisions to supervise the lower courts. The Judicial Commission reported in its year-end review last week that many judges were dishonest in exercising their judgments and fell short of applying proper court procedures. The Commission also found that 70-80% of judges in the country fell short of applying strict judicial processes, including by taking into consideration only two pieces of legitimate evidence. One of its commissioners said “They are concerned with procedural justice rather than substantive justice. The doctrine [they are using] is the due process of law, instead of the total justice approach.” 160 judges came under investigation for ethics violations in 2012.
Whilst the Supreme Court publishes its decisions, the lower courts still do not. The media is active in reporting cases but journalists do not know how to read cases and rarely comment on them. There is a clear need to measure and benchmark legal decisions. There are moves afoot to publish more IP case reports, coming from private industry rather than government. The sooner that more steps can be taken to pierce the opaque nature of court decisions, the better. Meanwhile, the Judicial Commission is to be commended for helping to improve matters through publication of its report.