A variety of motives may inspire a leader to support a delegation of powers to a nonpartisan body in the short run. Semi-democratic and authoritarian governments sometimes recognize the advantages of having an independent and effective court system for internal control purposes. For example, when corruption in the lower levels of administration incites popular anger and impedes investment, courts potentially provide a cheaper means to control such transgression than does better supervision. Regular administrative review, a form of ‘police patrol’ is costly in both monetary and political terms. Especially when a state is relatively weak, it may be more sensible to let aggrieved individuals and firms bring their complaints to courts and sound a ‘fire alarm’ (McCubbins and Schwartz 1984) than try to curtail corruption by other means. Rosberg (1995), Moustafa (2007), and Gingsburg (Chapter 2) have made this point.
There are other reasons why having a court popularly perceived as independent, fair, and effective may make sense. Independent courts may help resolve local disputes that might otherwise end up in the street. If lower ranks of the ruling party are on the take or locked in conflict, then the judgment of a neutral third party may do less political damage to the head of state than the intervention by the party leadership. (…)
Jennifer Widner, Daniel Scher
(Building Judicial Independence in Semi-Democracies: Uganda and Zimbabwe în T. Ginsburg & T. Moustafa (Eds.), Rule by Law: The Politics of Courts in Authoritarian Regimes (pp. 235-260). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2008, la p. 236)