A judicracy (alternatively juridicary, from judicial and juridical - "of or relating to judicial proceedings and the administration of the law") is a rare form of government whereby judges, referred to as judicials, hold political and governing power in society. This form of government is also commonly referred to as "rule by precedent" as most judicratic states adhere to the doctrine of stare decisis, while the other minority of states operate by "patternless rule", where precedent is irrelevant. Judicracy can be described as a subsidiary system of oligarchy as it is customary for there to be a small elite unit of judges, commonly referred to as the Supreme Court, which make out the top part of the power structure and hierarchy.
Judicracies are generally undemocratic and exhibit meritocratic characteristics, whereby the judicials with the most experience and meritorious record become part of the so-called Supreme Court. These appointments or selections are usually done by a conclave of sitting judicials where the Supreme Court and the Chief Justice (which goes by different names and incarnations in different states) are elected. Judicracy is regarded as the modern form of kritarchy.
The "Supreme Court" is usually the name used to refer to the apex of political and governing power in a judicracy. The Supreme Court is usually led by a Chief Justice, who sits on the bench along with an uneven amount of other judicials, commonly called "justices". It is customary for the bench to be equal, in that the Chief Justice is simply the chairman of the bench, but not higher on a hierarchical map than any of the other justices.
Other common names include "High Court", "Command Court", "Ruling Court" or "Court of Governance".
Conclave of Judicials
Most judicracies have a gathering where new judicials are chosen and others are promoted to higher office. Usually, a new Chief Justice is elected from the senior judicials, sometimes along with and sometimes separately from the other Supreme Court justices. New judicials in the lower courts are phased in from lawyers who had met the respective judicracy's requirements - usually much experience in the law and an appropriate personality. The most common terminology for this gathering is "Conclave of Judicials" or "Conclave of Judges", however, many other names have also been used.
All judicracies have lower courts beside the Supreme Court, however, vary heavily from jurisdiction to jurisdiction, depending on context and circumstance. Lower courts can be geographically spread, and or spread across certain fields. Therefore, "County Courts" or "Regional Courts" can exist, as well as "Tax Courts" and "Family Courts".
The judicratic aristocracy of a typical judicracy are referred to as "judicials". This came about mostly due to judges in usually democratic states not wanting to be associated with this more dictatorial form of government.
Forms of judicracy
Stare decisis judicracies
Stare decisis in Latin means "to obey previous decisions". Thus, judicracies adhering to this tradition allow precedents to be set. Therefore, this system is also referred to as "rule by precedent". What this means is that lower courts must apply the decisions made by higher courts, such as the Supreme Court, thereby limiting the judicials in that court's discretion. These judicracies are the most common, as they provide for an orderly and certain system where the law is ascertainable. These systems are also the "more democratic" and "more liberal" judicracies as they subject themselves to limitations.
Nullum dictandi judicracies
Nullum dictandi in Latin means "no pattern". These judicracies follow "patternless rule", giving their judicials on any level, Supreme Court or lower courts, wide discretionary power in the application of the law and justice. Previous decisions by the same court or even the same judicial are not binding on that specific court in other cases. This has led to double standards in cases where judicials apply the law in a manner that is regarded unorganized and uncertain. These judicracies are often associated with the "more authoritarian" and "more dictatorial" states, where the government does not self regulate itself besides its Constitution.