Justice Is No Simple Matter. Case for Elaborating Our Model of Procedural Fairness
Past research has demonstrated that autocratic dispute intervention procedures (i.e., when a third party actively seeks out information about the dispute and then decides how it ought to be resolved) are perceived as less fair than arbitration procedures (i.e., when the third party makes a decision based only on arguments and evidence given to them by the disputants). From these findings, Thibaut and Walker (1975)concluded that the North American legal system, which is most similar to arbitration, should be perceived as more fair than the continental European legal system, which is purportedly most similar to autocratic procedures. Three studies reported here test the effects of two features of European legal systems that Damaska (1975)suggested mitigate some of the problems with autocratic procedures. The results suggest that (a) permitting disputants an opportunity to present their positions and (b) the presence of an option to appeal an unfair decision dramatically improve the perceived fairness of the autocratic procedure. Implications of these results for the study of procedural fairness and legal procedure are discussed. © 1985 American Psychological Association.
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