2019, Volume 24, Issue 2, pp. 26-29
Abstract: The use of foreign judges is an exceptional phenomenon in world experience. That judges, particularly on a state’s highest courts, will be citizens is often taken for granted in academic and practice-oriented literature on judging. However, foreign – or non-citizen – judges sit on domestic courts in over 30 jurisdictions across the world. Given the majority of these jurisdictions are Commonwealth states in Africa, the Caribbean and the Pacific, readers of the Commonwealth Judicial Journal might be one of the rare audiences for whom the use of foreign judges is a familiar practice. The use of foreign judges is a largely under-studied phenomenon. It raises a host of practical and theoretical questions. Just how does foreign judging work in practice? How might the constitutional and judicial systems of states accommodate the use of foreign judges? To what extent, if at all, does the nationality of the judges on a domestic court matter? This short article outlines some responses to these questions, drawing on insights from the practice of foreign judging in Pacific island states. The paper can be downloaded from SSRN.