Who's to judge? Understanding issues of auditor independence versus judicial independence

Gary Kleinman, Asokan Anandarajan, Dan Palmon

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


We explore differences in the roles of auditors and judges in the United States, emphasizing the issue of independence for each group. We examine factors that influence the independence of US judges and auditors. We use examples to highlight the potential impact of various factors on each profession and explore how they are affected by differences in the nature of their responsibilities. Based on these examples, we find generalized lessons that are applicable to each profession and explore further questions that should be asked. While much research has been done on factors that could potentially influence auditor independence, no research to date has examined lessons that auditors can learn from the judicial profession with respect to independence in the United States setting, and vice versa. This paper is a contemplation of the different threats that exist to independence and the difficulty in achieving it in two differently structured fields where its attainment was important for achieving societal ends associated with the professional roles. We hope through this discussion and presentation to broaden the perspective of both professions (judges, auditors) by furthering their understanding of the independence dilemmas facing occupants of the other's role.

Original languageEnglish
Article number4
JournalAccounting, Economics and Law
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2012


  • Actual independence
  • Auditor conflicts of interest
  • Auditor independence
  • Judicial conflict of interest
  • Judicial independence
  • Perceived independence


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