We explain what the Judiciary is, who makes it up and what its structure is like. Also, what are its features and functions.

Power of attorneyPower of attorney
The judiciary represents the highest authority in juridical or legal matters.

What is the Judiciary?

The judiciary is called public authority in charge of enforcing the law. It is the wing of the State that is dedicated to studying, interpreting and exercising the law. It applies its principles to all kinds of conflicts or situations that require it.

The judicial power represents the highest authority in juridical or legal matters, that is, it is the final decision regarding the interpretation and application of the laws of the nation. To this end, it has various bodies of courts.

Each court is dedicated to a specific aspect of the law. In them, judges specially trained in the different branches of law make decisions on behalf of the State. The bases of its actions are the constitutional texts (criminal and civil codes, etc.) and international justice treaties (such as human rights).

The judicial power It is different from the legislative branch and the executive branch., to whom it serves as a counterweight. In fact, it can annul acts of other powers, considering them contrary to the spirit of justice.

See also: Constitutional power

Who makes up the judiciary?

Power of attorneyPower of attorney
The judiciary is in charge of criminal justice.

The judiciary is made up of the total set of judges, courts and lawyers.

All of them work on the resolution in accordance with the laws of conflicts derived from the operation of the Republic.

On the one hand, work at elementary levels such as criminal justicewhich has to do with crimes.

But also at complex levels, such as constitutional justice, which ensures compliance with the constitution by other public and private authorities.

How is the judiciary composed?

The exact composition of the various judiciaries of the world depend to a large extent on the model assumed in its constitution. At a general level, they are usually made up of courts or tribunals, that is, bodies of judges and legal scholars who are dedicated to a specific area of ​​expertise.

You may be interested:  Jurisprudence

These scholars are generally organized in specialized courts in Constitutional, Electoral, administrative matters. In addition, there are other courts that are necessary to attend to all aspects of its operation.

Structure of the judiciary

judiciary supreme courtjudiciary supreme court
The Supreme Court is the highest authority in legal matters.

The judicial power It is structured in a series of instances or courts. each of them constitutes a rung of a pyramid: the higher ones have more authority than the lower ones, so the decisions of the former cannot be counteracted by the latter. These courts are:

  • Supreme Court of Justice or Supreme Court. It is the nation’s highest authority on legal matters. Her decisions are basically final. For this reason, he deals with matters of maximum security, national interest or public operation. This court is made up of a group of judges or ministers, from among whom a president emerges who directs it. It operates based on a certain number of specialized rooms (to address specific topics) or in full, with all its members.
  • Courts of appeals or federal courts. Instances or intermediate courts, which have a higher hierarchy than the courts of first instance, but submit to the designs of the Supreme Court. They deal with particularly complicated cases, generally obeying a federal distribution (by states or provinces). Each appeals court in turn has a president and a variable number of members, who can operate in full or through specialized chambers, and in an ordinary or extraordinary way.
  • Courts of first instance. The least authoritative of all. It is where legal disputes begin and where citizens who wish to have the decision of a legal body on a given matter go. In general, these first instance judges have an area of ​​municipal jurisdiction, with competence to deal with the most specific legal matters: family, corporate law, labor law, mortgage law, financial law and a huge etcetera.

Functions of the judiciary

The judicial power deals with the exclusive administration of justice. This means that no other person or institution in the national territory can decide in favor of or against any cause or legal dispute that exists. Not even another public power can usurp its functions.

You may be interested:  Roman Colosseum

His actions attends to all areas of law and operates based on judgments. The latter are investigations in which other State agencies cooperate to make a specific decision in a case that requires interpretation of the law, or in which one of the parties has broken what is established in it.

How are members of the judiciary appointed?

Power of attorneyPower of attorney
Judges can be removed by judges of higher rank.

The designation of the members of this power depends on the legal regime. Usually, members of the judiciary are appointed by the other two branches (executive and/or legislative).

This is because an election by popular vote would make it difficult to maintain the impartiality of those who exercise justice. In the same way, judges are not immune: they can be dismissed by judges of superior rank (up to reaching the Supreme Court of Justice).

Why is the judiciary important?

The judiciary has always been regarded as the least dangerous of the three public powers, since it does not administer public goods. On the other hand, he does not have the commanding gift of the executive either.

However, it is a power indispensable for the peaceful functioning of the Republics. Only a solid, impartial institution of justice, in which citizens can believe and whose designs they abide by, guarantees the submission of the population to public order.

If justice is partial or inefficient, sooner or later the political system as a whole tends to fail. This is because people withdraw their trust and bet on less institutional options to assert their rights.

The rule of law

Power of attorneyPower of attorney
If the same rule is not applied to everyone, the justice system would be unfair.

The rule of law is a fundamental characteristic of modern democratic republics. It implies the equality of all citizens before the law, with the same opportunities to defend themselves and to be heard by the judiciary.

If the same rule does not apply to everyone, then there are favoritisms and the justice system is partial, that is, unfair. For there to be a rule of law, the application of the law must be the same in all cases, respecting all rights and demanding all the duties of the case.

Origin of the judiciary

In ancient times, councils of wise men or even monarchs administered justice in the name of the State. These decisions were always subject to the will of the powerful and to his arbitrariness, since the King was appointed by God to make the decisions of the State.

You may be interested:  Greek Mythology

With the rise of modern states this changed. The separation of powers required the creation of a legal institution to exercise justice independently. In this way, it would not be influenced by the other powers of the State.

The independence of the judiciary from political concerns is essential for its functioning. This way he is even guaranteed to be able to judge a powerful official who committed a crime.

The study of law and its historical considerations arose in the 17th century. Then the field of justice began to be thought of in a different way, giving rise to the training of professionals. Because of their specialized knowledge, they can guarantee the rule of law for both defendants and accusers.

The legislative branch

legislative powerlegislative power
The legislative power elaborates, discusses and sanctions the laws.

The legislative power is another of the three powers of the State. It is composed of public election legislators Congress (deputies and senators).

Its main function is the elaboration, discussion and sanction of laws that govern the different aspects of national life. In addition, he is in charge of the administration of public budgets, of the interpellation and eventual investigation of the other powers.

The executive power

The executive branch is the “head” of the state, and is another of the powers that govern it. He is in charge of running the Republic and making strategic decisions, like the captain of a ship.

It is made up of the figures of the president, vice president, ambassadors and the ministerial train. They are the ones in charge of external relations, maintenance and strategic planning of state resources.


  • “Judicial branch” on Wikipedia.
  • “Judiciary (Government)”in The Encyclopaedia Britannica.
  • “How the Judicial Power is Organized” in the Judicial Information Center of Argentina.
  • “The judicial power” in Hemispheric Network for the Exchange of Information for Mutual Assistance in Criminal Matters and Extradition (OAS).
  • “Judicial power” in Digital Public School.
  • What is Judicial Power? In The Law Dictionary (2nd ed.).
  • “Structure of the judicial power” (Video) in Poder Judicial Chile.

Would you like to share it?