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German Working Papers in Law and Economics
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Volume 2008

AUTHOR:
Manfred J. Holler and Martin A. Leroch

TITLE:
Jury on Stage: A Common Law Play

SUGGESTED CITATION:
Manfred J. Holler and Martin A. Leroch (2008) "Jury on Stage: A Common Law Play", German Working Papers in Law and Economics: Vol. 2008: Article 6.
http://www.bepress.com/gwp/default/vol2008/iss1/art6


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ABSTRACT:

Legal processes have a theatrical component to them. They offer an audience (the spectators) and actors (the legal parties, lawyers, as well as the jury and judge) who perform a play on the stage of the courtroom. In this paper we focus on the role of the jury, which appears to be simultaneously audience and actor. As audience, it assures that the power of the judge is limited. As actor, the jury is able to play its role in such a way as to incorporate social attitudes into the verdict. Exploring this theatrical component may shed new light on the debate whether juries are a “good” way of finding legal settlements. Further, it could indicate how legal processes are perceived by the public. As our line of argument builds on Adam Smith’s moral and legal philosophy, the analysis may also contribute to the understanding of one of the building blocks of Smith’s philosophy, namely the impartial spectator.




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