Judicial Audiences and Reputation: Perspectives from Comparative Law

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Whether judges are motivated to make good law or maximize policy goals, they need to develop and maintain a good reputation with some audience. We distinguish internal and external audiences for individual judicial decision-making: internal audiences are those within the judiciary itself, while external audiences include lawyers, the media or the general public. Different legal systems emphasize different audiences: some rely on external audiences that encourage judges to invest in their individual reputations, while others emphasize internal audiences that facilitate the collective reputation of the judiciary as a whole. The article analyzes the interaction between internal and external audiences over time, using case studies from both common law and civil law jurisdictions to illustrate how the concept of judicial audiences illuminates institutional reforms of the judiciary.