In a considerable number of situations in both developed and developing countries, the independence of the court is severely curtailed or non-existent, often in contradiction to the constitutional guarantees for the independence of the judiciary. Conviction and sentencing may be influenced or predetermined by the executive, who directly control the status of judges. Sometimes ordinary courts have been deprived of jurisdiction over certain categories of cases without any legal justification, and the cases later tried by military or special courts. In some instances, judges are intimidated to make decisions favourable to the executive.
The course of justice may also be affected by judicial activism whereby the legal elite, supported by academia, may develop sophisticated re-interpretations of the significance of the law in the light of particular ideologies and personal preferences.