Norms, Normativity, and the Legitimacy of Justice Institutions: International Perspectives

Posted: 29 Oct 2018

See all articles by Jonathan Jackson

Jonathan Jackson

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

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: October 2018

Abstract

This article reviews the international evidence on the potential nature, sources, and consequences of police and legal legitimacy. In brief, I find that procedural justice is the strongest predictor of police legitimacy in most of the countries under investigation, although normative judgements about fair process may—in some contexts—be crowded out by public concerns about police effectiveness and corruption, the scale of the crime problem, and the association of the police with a historically oppressive and underperforming state. Legitimacy tends to be linked to people's willingness to cooperate with the police, with only a small number of national exceptions. There is also a fair amount of evidence that people who say they feel a moral duty to obey the law tend also to report complying with the law in the past or intending to comply with the law in the future. The main argument is, however, that international enthusiasm for testing procedural justice theory is outpacing methodological rigor and theoretical clarity. On the one hand, the lack of attention to methodological equivalence is holding back the development of a properly comparative cross-national analysis. On the other hand, the literature would benefit from ( a) greater delineation between legitimation (the bases on which citizens judge the rightfulness of an institution) and legitimacy (the acceptance or rejection of the rightfulness of an institution and the normatively grounded duty to obey), ( b) stronger differentiation between police and legal legitimacy, and ( c) more attention given to isolating the mechanisms through which rightfulness and consent motivate cooperation and compliance.

Suggested Citation

Jackson, Jonathan, Norms, Normativity, and the Legitimacy of Justice Institutions: International Perspectives (October 2018). Annual Review of Law and Social Science, Vol. 14, pp. 145-165, 2018. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3273817 or http://dx.doi.org/10.1146/annurev-lawsocsci-110316-113734

Jonathan Jackson (Contact Author)

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

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

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