Does Legitimacy Necessarily Tame Power? Some Ethical Issues in Translating Procedural Justice Principles into Justice Policy

18 Pages Posted: 24 May 2016 Last revised: 6 Aug 2016

See all articles by Mike Hough

Mike Hough

University of London - Institute for Criminal Policy Research

Ben Bradford

University College London - Jill Dando Institute of Security and Crime Science

Jonathan Jackson

London School of Economics & Political Science (LSE) - Department of Methodology

Paul Quinton

National Policing Improvement Agency

Date Written: May 24, 2016

Abstract

This article examines some of the ethical dilemmas associated with research on procedural justice. Most of this research has involved surveys of the public, involving attitude measurement amongst random samples of adults. These tend not to give rise to the more common ethical dilemmas that criminological researchers encounter, to do with coerced consent and the preservation of anonymity and confidentiality. However, there are significant ethical issues in the application of this research to policy and practice. They relate largely to the risks in providing utilitarian justifications for the adoption of values, and in the use of low-visibility behavioural techniques to nudge people into compliance with the law. These ethical dilemmas offer ‘knowledge tools’ that could be misused in the pursuit of consent to authority – even if individual research subjects are not exposed to any harm in the research process. These – resolvable – dilemmas need to be surfaced and discussed.

Keywords: Policing, Procedural Justice, Ethics, Compliance, Nudges

JEL Classification: K11

Suggested Citation

Hough, Mike and Bradford, Ben and Jackson, Jonathan and Quinton, Paul King, Does Legitimacy Necessarily Tame Power? Some Ethical Issues in Translating Procedural Justice Principles into Justice Policy (May 24, 2016). LSE Legal Studies Working Paper No. 13/2016. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2783799 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2783799

Mike Hough (Contact Author)

University of London - Institute for Criminal Policy Research ( email )

Strand
London, WC2B 2LS
United Kingdom

Ben Bradford

University College London - Jill Dando Institute of Security and Crime Science ( email )

35 Tavistock Square
London, WC1H 9EZ
United Kingdom

Jonathan Jackson

London School of Economics & Political Science (LSE) - Department of Methodology ( email )

Houghton Street
London, WC2A 2AE
United Kingdom
+0044-207-955-7652 (Phone)

Paul King Quinton

National Policing Improvement Agency ( email )

Fry Building
2 Marsham Street
London, SW1P 4DF
United Kingdom

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