Adjudication and Emotion

Florida Coastal Law Journal, Vol. 3, p. 205, 2002

14 Pages Posted: 26 Mar 2009

See all articles by Laura E. Little

Laura E. Little

Temple University - James E. Beasley School of Law

Date Written: 2002


This article explores the role emotion in adjudication, an important issue related to the therapeutic jurisprudence movement. The therapeutic jurisprudence movement uses the goal of psychological well being to explore the role of human nature and psychology in law and the legal process. In light of the burgeoning practical and scholarly interest in therapeutic jurisprudence, Professor Laura Little examines the relationship between emotions and specific adjudicative values. Professor Little begins by describing the three adjudicative values that provide the article's focus: 1) impartiality; 2) independence; and 3) competence. Next, she explores these values in relationship to four representative sets of emotions: 1) empathy and sympathy; 2) loyalty and gratitude; 3) jealousy and envy; and 4) disgust and hate. In her analyses, Professor Little shows how the different emotions play a role in general adjudication, as well as the potential effects these emotions can have in the specific context of therapeutic jurisprudence. Professor Little concludes by recommending further scholarly research on how emotions affect adjudicative values, thereby expanding our knowledge about the complex interplay between the two topics.

Keywords: law and emotion, adjudication, judiciary, therapeutic jurisprudence, jealousy, envy, disgust, hate, loyalty, gratitude, empathy, sympathy, law and psychology, decision making, psychology, emotion theory, human nature, impartiality, judicial independence, judicial competence

JEL Classification: K19, K39, K49

Suggested Citation

Little, Laura E., Adjudication and Emotion (2002). Florida Coastal Law Journal, Vol. 3, p. 205, 2002, Available at SSRN:

Laura E. Little (Contact Author)

Temple University - James E. Beasley School of Law ( email )

1719 N. Broad Street
Philadelphia, PA 19122
United States
215-204-8955 (Phone)
215-204-1185 (Fax)

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