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Reading: Minding the Court: Enhancing the Decision-Making Process

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Minding the Court: Enhancing the Decision-Making Process

Authors:

Pamela Casey ,

Principal Court Research Consultant of the United States’ National Center for State Courts
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Kevin Burke,

judge of the Hennepin County District Court in the State of Minnesota
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Steve Leben

judge of the State of Kansas Court of Appeals in the United States
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Abstract

A compelling and growing body of research from the fields of cognitive psychology and neuroscience provides important insights about how we process information and make decisions. This research has great potential significance for judges, who spend much of their time making decisions of great importance to others. For most judges, this research literature is not part of their judicial education.

This article reviews cutting edge research about decision making and discusses its implications for helping judges and those who work with them produce fair processes and just outcomes. It builds on a 2007 American Judges Association paper that encouraged judges to incorporate the principles of procedural justice (see side bar) to help ensure a decision-making process deemed fair by litigants. Procedural fairness increases compliance with court orders and is critical to positive public perceptions of the court system.

Implementing procedural-justice principles in the courtroom demands the judge's "mindful" or conscious focus and attention. Understanding how the brain processes information and the various factors that can influence decisions and courtroom behaviors is a first step to practicing more mindful decision making that is consistent with the principles of procedural justice.

Keywords: decison-making court judges 
How to Cite: Casey, P., Burke, K. & Leben, S., (2013). Minding the Court: Enhancing the Decision-Making Process. International Journal for Court Administration. 5(1), pp.45–54. DOI: http://doi.org/10.18352/ijca.8
Published on 20 Feb 2013.
Peer Reviewed

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