HAND in hand with the new codes of law has gone a general revision of the structure and composition of the judiciary. Between one third and one half of all lawyers, judges and employees of the judiciary have been disbarred or otherwise purged. Their places have been taken by Communists and dependable fellow travelers from whom no old-fashioned nonsense about the "independence of the judiciary" need be feared.
The proper role of judges in the new legal order was explained in May 1949, by the Deputy Minister of Justice, Dr. Antonin Dresler, as follows: "The independence of judges once had a progressive meaning. But it has become senseless in the People's Democracy. We want our people to be independent of the bourgeoisie. The new judge serves the working people, because their interests are also his interests." Other Communist leaders have admonished judges to abandon their tradition of "detachment." They and the entire judiciary must be brought "close to the people." They must avoid a formalistic attitude and learn that it is not the letter of the law that counts, but the interest of the working class. (The revolt against formalism is perhaps illustrated by the informal way in which the Communists equate "the people" and "the working class.")
A new generation of judges and prosecutors imbued with these principles is now being turned out by a special school in Prague at the rate of eighty to one hundred per year. Devoting ten hours daily to lectures and seminars the workers selected for these important functions are supposed to cover four years work in two years.
Defense lawyers, too, have been warned to mend their ways. They must understand that their first duty is not to win cases for their clients but to serve the general interest by helping the court.
As reorganized by the Communists, all courts are now composed of