Seminarios del IPP: “Beyond the Myth of Legality? Framing Effects and Public Reactions to High Court Decisions in Europe”
Sala José Gaos 3C
Por Pedro Magalhães (Universidad de Lisboa)
Coordina: Francisco Herreros (IPP-CSIC)
Abstract: How do decision-making processes in high courts affect the public response to judicial decisions? One prevalent view suggests that citizens expect courts to be neutral arbiters of legal controversies. However, the relevance of such “myth of legality” has been challenged. Furthermore, we know little about how different forms of judicial decision-making affect public attitudes in civil law countries. We explore these questions in a pair of pre-registered experiments in Norway and Portugal where we isolate the effects of procedure and outcome favourability. We find that citizens in both countries are not adversely affected by depictions of decision-making that emphasize policy goals. Legalistic frames are not the only source of fairness perceptions or even of decisional acceptance. The results suggest that, even in civil law systems, preserving the myth of legality may not be a necessary condition to elicit public support for judicial decisions.
Pedro C. Magalhães is a Research Fellow at the Institute of Social Sciences of the University of Lisbon, studying public opinion, elections, voting behaviour and judicial politics. His work has appeared in journals such as the American Journal of Political Science, Comparative Political Studies, European Journal of Political Research, Political Psychology and many others, and in books published by Cambridge University Press, Oxford University Press, Routledge and others. He currently coordinates PASSDA, the Portuguese research infrastructure in charge of implementing the European Social Survey and the Portuguese Election Study. He is also one of the co-editors of the forthcoming Oxford Handbook of Portuguese Politics.