This Primer covers the systems used for appointing judges in constitutional democracies. Various commonly used systems of appointment are discussed, including career judiciaries, appointment by an independent commission and appointment by the representative or cooperative interaction of legislative and executive branches.

International IDEA’s Constitution-Building Primers are designed to assist in-country constitution-building or constitutional-reform processes by helping citizens, political parties, civil society organizations, public officials and members of constituent assemblies make wise constitutional choices. They also provide guidance for staff of intergovernmental organizations and other external actors working to provide well informed, context-relevant support to local decision-makers.

Each Primer is written as an introduction for non-specialist readers, and as a convenient aide-memoire for those with prior knowledge of, or experience with, constitution-building. Arranged thematically around the practical choices faced by constitution-builders, the Primers aim to explain complex constitutional issues in a quick and easy way.

This revised and reformatted edition was published in October 2017.


Publication date
04 August 2014
Elliot W. Bulmer
Number of pages
978-91-7671-109-5 (Print)



1. Introduction

2. What is the issue?

3. Contextual and conceptual considerations

4. Methods of appointment

5. Qualifications and criteria for appointment

6. Examples

7. Decision-making questions



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Judicial Appointments

International IDEA Constitution-Building Primer 4
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