Judgesplay an important function in our judicial system in as much assolving disputes is concerned. First of all, the judges are mandatedwith the responsibility of interpreting the law. Interpreting the lawexist when a piece of legislation places ambiguity in its meaning andapplication. As such, the differing groups may require an impartialparty that gives clear direction by interpreting the law to theeffect of its applicability. Once the law has been interpreted in aparticular manner, it is expected that the same will continue in thesame manner. However, in most circumstances, interpretation of apiece of legislation is granted by a bench of judges. A bench refersto a panel of judges who gives their individual objectiveinterpretation, and the majority direction is taken. Judges schedulecourt proceedings and effectively mediate in the agreement of modelof evidence delivery (Weinstein, 2008).
Judgesalso play an important role in giving judgment to those who offendthe law. Many forms of law breaking exist, and they are categorizedinto two major groups namely the civil and criminal offense. Acriminal offense is a wrong against the state, and the state becomesthe party seeking to be relieved. A civil right is a wrong againstfellow citizens and the law of torts comprehensively covers suchissue. In determining the petition presented by the differentparties, judges have to listen carefully to the evidence presented bythe two parties. Each party, the defendant and the plaintiff, aresupposed to be given sufficient time to dispense their evidence foror against the case. This way, the judge can authoritatively give afair judgment having clearly understood the matter at hand. The judgewould then scrutinize the law and determine the party that actedagainst its stipulation. After that, prudently and diligently, thejudge would determine the judgment objectively respecting the rightsof each party and the law in general. Other functions performed byjudges include presiding over court hearing and giving each partysufficient time to present its evidence. They also grant or deny bailon request by the relevant party (Haynes, 2005).
Tohold a position of a judge, various academic, personal and moralqualification have to be established. Not anyone can occupy theoffice of a judge, and the Constitution clearly stipulates theminimum qualification expected for a person to hold such an office.The Constitution of the United States does not specifically determinethe academic qualification, but it is expected that a candidate for aposition of a judge is to a high academic qualification. It is notnecessarily a prerequisite to holding a degree in law or the relateddiscipline. It is upon the office of the president to draft itsstandard on the requirement and appoint a judge appropriately.However, the nominee in such a position must be vetted and verifiedby the Senate before the nominee so formally appointed and designatedduties. A person who is highly qualified in any profession can beappointed to serve as a judge as it may seem fit.
Nevertheless,the most important aspect of judgment delivery and interpretation ofthe law is that it requires a fair and objective mind. As such,another personal qualification supersedes academic qualification inappointing a judge. As such, a background check into the characterand record of the candidate is made with the aid of the Department ofJustice and the FBI. This may include a scrutiny of the past rulingby those serving the judicial and delicate decisions made by thoseoutside the judiciary. Their public writing including collegeprojects can be scrutinized. The American bar association committeethen conduct an analysis to determine the candidate competence,integrity and experience and temperance which can affect theperformance of a judge duties. Other qualifications may include thepolitical affiliation, soberness of mind and financial ability (Glick& Emmert, 2006).
Foreffective functioning in a courtroom, various parties are involvedwho ensure successful delivery of justice. One of these parties isprosecution and defense attorneys. The state prosecuting attorneystands in for the state and act as the plaintiff in criminal cases.The defendant in that cases may appoint his lawyer to act as thedefense attorney, or the court may delegate public defense attorneyif the defendant lacks one. The attorneys help in the interpretationof directions given by judges because they are familiar with thelanguage of the court. They hasten the process of communication. Thedefense attorney also ensures that the defendant is awardedsufficient time to dispense their evidence and that the trial is fair(Gibson, 2008).
Thecourt assistants or popularly known as court clerks are an essentiallot that act the custodian of records of proceeding in the courts.They help judges to schedule a court hearing and management of time.They also help in the administration of the oath to witness and otherparties giving evidence in a court. Lastly, we have the witnesses whoare, by the way, the most important parties. Witnesses provide thejudge with an opportunity to have a clue of what went on fromindependent sources. The evidence provided help judges to make anobjective and rational decision because they narrate the events ofthe crime as it happened. As such this party of the court isimportant in as much as the role of a judge to provide an objectiveruling is concerned. However, many other parties are involved in theproceeding of the court and help the judges in making the relevantdecisions.
Inperforming their duties, judges are likely to be faced by variousethical and moral issues that are likely to interfere with theirobjective delivery of rulings. It is upon an individual judge toensure that the preceding issues do not at all determine the decisionmade in their ruling. One of the most burning issues is the conflictof interest. A judge has a conflict of interest in an issue if therational outcome of a judicial proceeding will affect the financialor social life of the judge or their close associates. As such, thejudge may be forced to award the parties different awards to favourtheir position or those of their close associates. This will become acrime in law and it is a matter of integrity. To ensure that anobjective rule of law is awarded, the most prudent step to undertakefor judges in such a situation is to distance themselves from thecase and leave it to be determined by other parties without conflictof interest. This enhances fair administration of justice to allpeople. If a judge has any interest in any cases, they ought towithdraw from the same citing their interest or even perceivedinterest (Posner,2003).
Theother ethical issues and concerns could emanate from such issuesconcerning finances as bribery. One party in the cases may bribe thejudge to determine a case in a certain way that favours theirposition. The integrity of a judge may be compromised by thefinancial benefits likely to be received by the judge. The ethicalstandards of practice are breached in such a situation, and the judgecan face criminal charges following such events. The judges have aprofessional conduct that respect protect and uphold the rule of lawand any other integrity ethical or moral breach that can interferewith the smooth delivery of services compromise the level ofdecisions made. Ethical issues continue to affect the level ofservice delivery of judges, and it is upon the judicial organ of thegovernment to formulate strict measure that govern its application(Yoon,2006).
Judgesare an important group of people in as much as the justice system,and the rule of law is concerned they help in various function insociety including interpreting a piece of legislation and deliveringjudgements in criminal and civil cases. In performing their duties,judges are expected to be people of high moral and ethical integrity,professions with high academic qualification, a good background andfuture record and exhibit competence in whatever they do. Judgescannot accomplish this role alone and are normally assisted tofunction by various parties like the witnesses, defence andprosecution attorneys and the court assistant. However, some factormay compromise the level of service delivery of judges, and thisfactor includes the probability of the existence of a conflict ofinterest, bribery and favours however for objective and rationaldecision making in a court of law, the judiciary should formulatepolicies that support its independence and freedom of delivery ofjustice.
Gibson,J. L. (2008). Judges` role orientations, attitudes, and decisions: Aninteractive model. AmericanPolitical Science Review,72(03),911-924.
Glick,H. R., & Emmert, C. F. (2006). Selection Systems and JudicialCharateristics: The Recruitment State Supreme Court Judges.Judicature,70,228.
Haynes,E. (2005). TheSelection and Tenure of Judges.The Lawbook Exchange, Ltd..
Posner,R. A. (2003). What do judges and justices maximize?(The same thingeverybody else does). SupremeCourt Economic Review,1-41.
Weinstein,J. B. (2008). Role of Judges in a Government of, by and for thePeople: Notes for the Fifty-Eighth Cardozo Lecture, The. CardozoL. Rev.,30,1.
Yoon,A. (2006). Pensions, politics, and judicial tenure: An empiricalstudy of federal judges, 1869–2002. AmericanLaw and Economics Review,8(1),143-180.