Tactics of resistance and post-conflict judicial independence

Jessica Maves Braithwaite, Joseph M. Cox, Margaret Farry

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Scholars have found that nonviolent resistance is more effective than violence at promoting post-campaign democratization. We explore whether this relationship extends to judicial systems, specifically. Courts have been shown to be important for promoting and protecting economic development and political rights, yet they have been largely ignored in quantitative studies of post-conflict democratization. We posit that leaders who hold power after domestic unrest will be more inclined to use independent courts as a mechanism to prevent future campaigns–but they do so primarily when fearing a significant mobilization threat and when expecting legal action to be an acceptable channel for dispute resolution by dissidents. As such, we anticipate that levels of judicial independence are higher following nonviolent campaigns as compared to violent conflicts. Using quantitative data from violent and nonviolent campaigns globally, we find that judicial independence is indeed higher in the aftermath of nonviolent, as compared to violent, resistance campaigns. Furthermore, a campaign’s outcome does not matter; post-conflict judicial independence appears to be associated with tactics, not dissident success.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)779-793
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Peace Research
Issue number6
StatePublished - Nov 2022


  • civil war
  • courts
  • democratization
  • nonviolent civil resistance
  • post-conflict recovery

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Safety Research
  • Political Science and International Relations


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