A high degree of de facto judicial Independence (JI) functions as a crucial precondition of governments to credibly commit to legislative decisions, such as respecting private property rights. Thus, de facto JI should improve the allocative efficiency and may therefore contribute positively to economic growth. But JI as formally written down in legal texts is an imperfect predictor for de facto JI. This paper tries to identify the forces which determine de facto JI. A distinction between factors that can be influenced in the short run and those that are the result of historical development and that are exempt from short-term modification is made. Ascertaining the relative relevance of these two groups of variables promises to be policy-relevant. A rigorous empirical model reduction process is used in order to cope with the potential excess of explanatory variables. The explanatory variables for de facto JI that survive the reduction process are de jure JI, legal confidence of the public, extent of democratization, degree of press freedom, and the religious beliefs of the population.