ERIC Number: ED209138
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1981
Reference Count: 0
Magisterial Decision-Making: How Fifteen Stipendiary Magistrates Make Court-Room Decisions.
Lawrence, Jeanette A.; Browne, Myra A.
This report describes the cognitive procedures which a group of Australian stipendiary utilize in court to make decisions. The study was based on an assumption that magistrates represent a group of professionals whose work involves making decisions of human significance, and on an assumption that the magistrates' own perceptions of their ways of making decisions would provide a useful base for studying processes of judicial information processing. Fifteen volunteer magistrates were interviewed by the same female educational psychologist using the clinical interview technique. The magistrates responded to specific questions about how they select and use information. Results include the following. Two types of strategies were specified as ways of establishing initial approaches to a case: (1) treating each case individually and adopting a fresh start each time; (2) determining what could and could not be admitted as evidence. The magistrates acknowledged the following constraints of judicial decision making: the laws of evidence, the availability of limited information, the acknowledgement of personal perspectives, and time constraints. The magistrates identified four specific operations that were used for receiving evidence, and for processing it as the basis for judgement making. They are building up the evidence, forming early hypotheses and opinions, selecting and sifting evidence, and concurrent evaluation of information. Several examples of final summation and evaluation of material are provided. (Author/RM)
Publication Type: Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Sponsor: Australian Education Research and Development Committee, Canberra.
Authoring Institution: Murdoch Univ., Western Australia. School of Education.
Note: The last sentence is missing on page 13.