Lay Decision-Makers in the Legal Process

Neil Vidmar

in The Oxford Handbook of Empirical Legal Research

Published in print November 2010 | ISBN: 9780199542475
Published online September 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks in Law

 Lay Decision-Makers in the Legal Process

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Laypersons serve at critical junctures in the legal process. This article provides an overview of research about layperson roles and draws attention to the research methodologies used in studying them. It also discusses the jury system because, in addition to the fact that this institution has attracted the greatest quantity of empirical research on lay participation in legal processes, the studies have also involved the greatest range of methodological approaches, thus allowing exploration of their various strengths and weaknesses. Research on mixed tribunals, lay magistrates, justices of the peace and other forms of lay participation are also discussed in the article. There are literally hundreds of empirical studies bearing on jury competence and behavior. More systematic research surveying the extent of layperson roles in different cultures and countries is needed and studies of how laypersons actually perform in these roles is crucial.

Keywords: laypersons; legal process; research methodologies; jury system; lay participation; lay magistrates

Article.  11919 words. 

Subjects: Law ; Comparative Law

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