The Truth-Justice Tradeoff: Perceptions of Decisional Accuracy and Procedural Justice in Adversarial and Inquisitorial Legal Systems
20 Psychology, Public Policy, & Law 2014, Forthcoming
49 Pages Posted: 17 Feb 2014
Date Written: February 16, 2014
Two studies provide empirical support for Thibaut and Walker’s (1978) theory that inquisitorial and adversarial dispute resolution systems are associated with different psychological values: the pursuit of truth and the pursuit of justice. Study 1 suggests that, in civil and criminal disputes, the adversarial system is perceived to produce less truth than it does justice, and less truth than does the inquisitorial system. Conversely, the inquisitorial system is perceived to produce less justice than it does truth, and less justice than does the adversarial system. Study 2 examines how legal outcomes moderate litigants’ perceptions of the truth and justice produced by these dispute resolution systems. Study 2 suggests that perceptions of the truth and justice provided by the adversarial system are highly sensitive to the outcome of the dispute, whereas perceptions of the truth and justice provided by the inquisitorial system are not affected by dispute outcomes. Implications for Thibaut and Walker’s theory are discussed.
Keywords: dispute resolution, comparative dispute systems, procedural justice, decisional accuracy, courts
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