Judicial Performance and Experiences of Judicial Work: Findings from Socio-legal Research

Authors

  • Sharyn Roach Anleu Sociology, Flinders University
  • Kathy Mack Flinders University Law School

Keywords:

Judicial performance evaluation, judicial work, Australian judiciary, judges and magistrates, Evaluación del rendimiento judicial, trabajo judicial, magistratura australiana, jueces y magistrados

Abstract

Judicial performance evaluation processes and programs tend to imply an abstract, normative model of the proper judge. The focus is on the individual judicial officer, identifying how judges ought to perform their judicial work and assessing any departures from the model. However, there is considerable diversity in judging which abstract models of JPE may not anticipate. Importantly, judicial performance occurs within a context – the practical and natural settings in which every day judicial work is undertaken. This entails time constraints, workload patterns, and dependence on the activities of others, factors over which the judicial officer may have little control, but which in turn may affect his/her behaviour. Often, judicial performance is taken to refer to in-court work only. Judicial work also occurs outside court and outside regular court hours and so may be less visible for judicial performance evaluation. Although there is considerable variety in judicial experiences of judging, JPE only sometimes includes self-perceptions or judges’ own reflections on their work. Social science and socio-legal research, including original empirical data from Australia, investigates judging in various contexts and explores judicial officers’ experiences of their work. Such empirical research can widen understandings of judicial performance and evaluation.

Los procesos y programas de evaluación del rendimiento judicial tienden a implicar un modelo normativo abstracto del juez competente. La atención se centra en el funcionario judicial individual, identificando cómo deben realizar su labor los jueces y determinando cualquier desviación respecto al modelo. Sin embargo, a la hora de juzgar, existe una gran diversidad que los modelos abstractos de evaluación del rendimiento judicial no pueden anticipar. Es importante destacar que el desempeño judicial se produce en un contexto – el marco práctico y natural en el que se desarrolla cada día la labor judicial. Esto conlleva falta de tiempo, patrones de carga de trabajo y dependencia de actividades desempeñadas por otros, factores sobre los que el funcionario judicial puede tener poco control, pero que, a su vez, puede afectar a su comportamiento. A menudo, se entiende por desempeño judicial únicamente el trabajo desarrollado en la sala. El trabajo judicial también se produce fuera de la sala y fuera de las horas regulares del tribunal, por lo que puede ser menos visible para la evaluación del rendimiento judicial. Aunque existe una gran variedad de experiencias judiciales a la hora de juzgar, la evaluación del rendimiento judicial sólo incluye en contadas ocasiones las percepciones o las reflexiones sobre su trabajo de los propios jueces. Las ciencias sociales y la investigación socio-jurídica, incluyendo datos empíricos originales de Australia, investigan el hecho de juzgar en diversos contextos y explora las experiencias laborales de los funcionarios judiciales. Esta investigación empírica puede contribuir a ampliar la comprensión del rendimiento y evaluación judicial.

DOWNLOAD THIS PAPER FROM SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=2533861

Author Biographies

Sharyn Roach Anleu, Sociology, Flinders University

Professor Sharyn Roach Anleu MA Tas, Ll B Adel, Ph D Conn is Matthew Flinders Distinguished Professor at Flinders University, Adelaide, a  Fellow of the Academy of the Social Sciences in Australia and a past president of The Australian Sociological Association. She was one of three editors of the Journal of Sociology (2001-2004) and is the author of Law and Social Change (2nd edition, Sage, London, 2010) and four editions of Deviance, Conformity and Control, (Pearson, Sydney 1991, 1995, 1999, 2005) as well as numerous articles on deviance, legal regulation and the criminal justice system.  She is currently undertaking research (with Professor Kathy Mack) on the judiciary and their courts funded by the Australian Research Council.

Kathy Mack, Flinders University Law School

Professor Kathy Mack, BA Rice, JD Stanford, LLM Adel  is Emerita Professor of Law, Flinders Law School. She is the author of a monograph, book chapters and articles on ADR, and articles on legal education and evidence.  With Professor of Sociology Sharyn Roach Anleu, she has conducted extensive empirical research involving plea negotiations and is currently engaged in a major socio-legal study of the Australian judiciary.

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Published

07-02-2014

How to Cite

Roach Anleu, S. and Mack, K. (2014) “Judicial Performance and Experiences of Judicial Work: Findings from Socio-legal Research”, Oñati Socio-Legal Series, 4(5), pp. 1015–1040. Available at: https://opo.iisj.net/index.php/osls/article/view/300 (Accessed: 17 October 2021).

Issue

Section

Empirical research findings