Virtual Kollage: The definition and functions of Judiciary

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The definition and functions of Judiciary



THE JUDICIARY DEFINED
The judiciary is the third main organ of government, apart from the executive and the legislature. It has the power to settle disputes and administer justice.

FUNCTIONS OF THE JUDICIARY
Interpretation of Laws
One of the functions of the judiciary is to interpret the laws made by the legislature. In the course of the discharge of their functions, as arms of government, conflicts may arise as to what exactly the constitution is saying. It is the judiciary that determines what exactly the law is saying by its power to give interpretations.

Protection of Rights
Another function of the judiciary is to protect the rights of the citizens. The constitution of the land stipulates that when someone violates the law, the person must be brought before the law for fair trial. Where the person is found guilty he/she is punished according to the books but where he is found to be innocent, he/she is set free. Also an individual can seek redress from the judiciary when he/she thinks his/her rights have violated.

Settlement of disputes
Another fundamental function of the judiciary is to settle disputes that arise between or among parties. In every society, there is bound to be misunderstandings between countrymen and women, between individuals and agencies of government. The function of the judiciary is to settle these disputes amicably. 

Power to Review Laws
Another function of the judiciary is to declare the actions of the executive and the legislature null and void if it violates any aspect of the constitution. It does this through the power of Judicial Review.

Punishes Offenders
It is the function of the judiciary to punish those who violate the laws of the land. Offenders are hauled before the judiciary and it the judiciary that prescribes the appropriate punishment for those who are found culpable.

Makes Laws 
In a sense, the judiciary also makes laws, though that is not its core mandate. Whenever an aspect of the law is taken to the judiciary to review, the outcome of the court's deliberation becomes the new law. This means, going forward that particular aspect of the law shall be seen as has been so interpreted by the judiciary. One can therefore conclude that, through Judicial Review, the judiciary also makes laws.

Ceremonial Functions
The judiciary also performs ceremonial functions. The judiciary swears in Heads of State. People go to the courts to get married, and it is the same court that has the power to dissolve marriages contracted under the ordinance.

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