Hubert Smekal on judges and media

Thursday, December 21, 2023 - 09:30

Hubert Smekal co-authored the article “The Influence of Public Opinion and Media on Judicial Decision-Making: Elite Judges’ Perceptions and Strategies” (with Monika Hanych and Jaroslav Benák), which was published in the International Journal for Court Administration.

Based on interviews with justices of the Czech Constitutional Court, the authors suggest a typology of judicial approaches to media. The first group of judges refuses to communicate with media and claim that the judgments should speak for themselves. The second group of judges take the opposite position: they are forthcoming to the media and do not refuse media attention. The third, most populated, group of judges takes an intermediary position, and considers that interaction with media is a necessary evil. Group one (the refusing judges) and group two (the forthcoming judges) disapprove of each others’ positions. Group one does not like seeing other judges appearing too often in media, while group two criticises the “the-decision-speaks-for-me” approach of judges as outdated or unprofessional.

Hubert Smekal is an Associate Professor at the School of Law and Criminology, Maynooth University.  His research focuses on the interplay between law and politics, especially concerning the EU, courts and human rights issues.