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Exporting the Attitudinal Model: Preliminary Evidence from the UK Supreme Court

Dates:
  • Tue 22 Jan 2019 17.15 - 19.00
  Add to Calendar 2019-01-22 17:15 2019-01-22 19:00 Europe/Paris Exporting the Attitudinal Model: Preliminary Evidence from the UK Supreme Court

In a recent address to a law school audience, one US Supreme Court Justice stated: “judges are human like everyone else”. This should not be a surprising claim, but this apparent truism is often forgotten when contemplating the role of judges in society. Whilst it is difficult to imagine that any of us, even in our most professional capacity, could act completely independently of our predilections, motivations and biases, judges are depicted as doing just that: acting as neutral, objective arbiters of the law. However, research into the attitudes of judges, stemming largely from the USA, has shown what intuitively must be correct: judges, like all of us, harbour individual attitudes towards law, policy and politics. The so-called “attitudinal model” has shown that these preferences affect the way judges behave in the US Supreme Court. It is less clear that this model has a strong application outside of that idiosyncratic jurisdiction. This paper will show, however, that there are positive signs to suggest that the attitudinal model can be ‘exported’ into other jurisdictions, and that it has at least the potential to tell us interesting things about the individual judges of the United Kingdom Supreme Court. This paper uses a small dataset to determine whether judges exhibit meaningfully distinct attitudes towards things like state deference, methods of statutory interpretation and sympathy for weaker socio-economic parties. Some tentative conclusions, ongoing developments and signposts for further study are set out.

Seminar Room 3 DD/MM/YYYY
  Seminar Room 3

In a recent address to a law school audience, one US Supreme Court Justice stated: “judges are human like everyone else”. This should not be a surprising claim, but this apparent truism is often forgotten when contemplating the role of judges in society. Whilst it is difficult to imagine that any of us, even in our most professional capacity, could act completely independently of our predilections, motivations and biases, judges are depicted as doing just that: acting as neutral, objective arbiters of the law. However, research into the attitudes of judges, stemming largely from the USA, has shown what intuitively must be correct: judges, like all of us, harbour individual attitudes towards law, policy and politics. The so-called “attitudinal model” has shown that these preferences affect the way judges behave in the US Supreme Court. It is less clear that this model has a strong application outside of that idiosyncratic jurisdiction. This paper will show, however, that there are positive signs to suggest that the attitudinal model can be ‘exported’ into other jurisdictions, and that it has at least the potential to tell us interesting things about the individual judges of the United Kingdom Supreme Court. This paper uses a small dataset to determine whether judges exhibit meaningfully distinct attitudes towards things like state deference, methods of statutory interpretation and sympathy for weaker socio-economic parties. Some tentative conclusions, ongoing developments and signposts for further study are set out.


Location:
Seminar Room 3

Affiliation:
Department of Political and Social Sciences

Type:
Working group

Contact:
Sophia Hunger - Send a mail

Speaker:
Lewis Graham (Pembroke College, Univ. Cambridge)
 
 

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