Erasmus Law Review

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Issue 1, 2023 Expand all abstracts

Access_open Experimental Insight Into the Fair Process Effect and Its Boundary Conditions

External Attributions May Moderate Reactions to Procedural Justice in Legal Contexts

Keywords procedural justice, fair process effect, boundary conditions, external attributions, experiment
Authors Lisa Ansems, Kees van den Bos and Elaine Mak
AbstractAuthor's information

    The perception of being treated fairly during decision-making processes is an important topic in the research literature on law and society. Many studies have indeed found that perceived procedural justice affects people’s reactions, for instance, by increasing their trust in legal authorities and lowering their intentions to protest against these authorities’ decisions. Here, we reveal support for this fair process effect and point to some of its potential boundary conditions. In our experimental study, 239 participants imagined being the defendant during a single-judge criminal court hearing that used either a fair or an unfair procedure. Following the experience of a fair as opposed to an unfair procedure, participants showed more trust in judges and were less inclined to protest against the judicial ruling. Interestingly, the effect of the procedure manipulation on trust in judges was moderated by the extent to which participants attributed their case outcomes to external causes. We found a fair process effect among participants with relatively low external attribution ratings, while this effect attenuated and was not statistically significant among participants whose external attribution ratings were relatively high. These findings point to the possibility that attributional processes can moderate people’s responses to procedural justice in legally relevant contexts.

Lisa Ansems
Lisa F.M. Ansems, PhD, is researcher at Leiden University, Leiden, the Netherlands.

Kees van den Bos
Kees van den Bos is Professor of Empirical Legal Science and Professor of Social Psychology at Utrecht University, Utrecht, the Netherlands.

Elaine Mak
Elaine Mak is Professor of Jurisprudence at ,Utrecht University, Utrecht, the Netherlands.

Access_open ‘Le vent nous portera’: Rescue and Confinement at Sea under Human Rights Law

Keywords search and rescue, European Court of Human Rights, inhuman and degrading treatment, interim measures, closed ports
Authors Mariagiulia Giuffré
AbstractAuthor's information

    As a response to the pandemic, sea-rescue operations in the Mediterranean have either come to a halt or have been perilously delayed. Since then, policies of port closure and semi-closure have been undertaken under different forms. Nevertheless, States have an obligation to assist ships’ masters in delivering any shipwreck to a place of safety, even in times of COVID-19 or any other public emergency. This article explores whether State responsibility under international human rights law might be engaged whenever rescuing boats are compelled to lengthy standoffs with no coastal State allowing disembarkation. Therefore, in discussing the interim measures issued by the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) in cases of prolonged confinement at sea – following port closures and refusals of a place of safety – it suggests that the ECtHR should have ordered disembarkation of all shipwrecked onboard. Indeed, the actual conditions of migrants and asylum-seekers compelled to exhausting and unlawful standoffs at sea, in addition to their precarious physical and mental health, may amount to inhuman and degrading treatment and to a de facto deprivation of personal liberty under Articles 3 and 5 of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR). While contesting the increasing use of a language of ‘crisis’ and the recent ‘practical and effective’ approach of the Court of Strasbourg, aimed at preventing ‘foreigners [including asylum seekers] circumventing restrictions on immigration’, this article concludes highlighting the risks of such an approach, thereby exhorting the Court to challenge what may become a perpetual (rather than exceptional) emphasis on a migration crisis.

Mariagiulia Giuffré
Mariagiulia Giuffré is a Reader (Associate Professor) in Law at Edge Hill University, United Kingdom.

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