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date: 30 June 2022

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter critically reviews the behavioral literature on judicial decision-making. Among other things, it presents general theories of judicial decision-making, such as the story model and coherence-based reasoning. It also describes the reflection of a series of well-known cognitive phenomena in judicial decision-making, including the compromise and contrast effects, the effect of legally irrelevant information, the hindsight bias, the omission bias, and the role of anchoring in converting qualitative into quantitative judgments. The chapter examines fact-finders’ reluctance to impose liability based on certain types of evidence. It further reviews the contribution of behavioral studies to better understanding judicial prejudice. Special attention is given to judicial application of legal norms to facts and the effect of the choice between rules and standards on the predictability of judgments. Finally, the chapter provides an overview of two fundamental questions in the behavioral analysis of judicial decision-making: group decision-making and judges’ versus laypersons’ decision-making.

Keywords: judicial decision-making, story model, compromise and contrast effect, hindsight bias, omission bias, anchoring, circumstantial evidence

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