Past Research: JurisprudenceEver since I studied philosophy I was fascinated by judges – by their power, discretion and responsibility towards the society at large. I graduated from a BA in philosophy of law with a thesis on the internal and external constraints upon judicial discretion. I then graduated from an MA in legal and political theory with a dissertation which argued that jurisprudence and empirical judicial studies must collaborate into accurately depicting the role and duties of a judge in the 21th century. While genuinely interested in jurisprudence topics such as legal reasoning, the concept of law, judicial discretion, law and morality, I have suffered an ’empirical turn’ during the past few years, being more and more influenced by legal Realism and by ‘descriptive jurisprudence’ rather than ‘normative jurisprudence’. This is why I have decided to ‘get my hands dirty’ and do some legal empirical research of my own. For all my past research please visit my Academia.edu webpage.
This article aims to inform judges, legal scholars and philosophers of law on new developments in psychology and neuroscience that prove judicial “hunches” or intuitions are all-pervading in judicial decision-making. Unlike the “legal reasoning” paradigm taught in law schools and in judicial training, which overemphasises the rational, conscious, syllogistic nature of reasoning, new theories show that intuitions naturally take place in all minds that have amassed enough professional expertise.
More particularly, this essay argues that intuitions appear in judges’ minds in all types of cases, easy or hard, at all levels of the judiciary; and that this is neither something to ignore not something to denigrate. Neurological and psychological research shows intuitions are not necessarily irrational and unwanted, but most likely the most effective way in which the judge’s brain adapts to the immense pressures of the job – be it increasing workloads, limited time to spend on a case, or the limited information available. This article aims to change the paradigm in judicial decision-making by making judicial intuitions reasonable, accepted, and even desirable.When Judges Have a Hunch: Intuition and Experience in Judicial Decision-Making
Current Research: Judicial StudiesI am currently running a socio-legal research on the attitudes and expectations of judges towards the judicial training they receive in criminal law, based on their level of expertise. The research was so far conducted in one European jurisdiction (470 respondents) and aims to be extended to other jurisdictions as well. This research is part of my doctorate in law at University College London, and I am kindly supported by UCL Laws. I have now completed my fieldwork (observation sessions, semi-structured interviews with trainers and trainees and a large-scale survey on hundreds of judges and prosecutors) and the data analysis stage and I am writing up my findings. If you would like to explore any research collaborations please drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org
This paper aims to present an innovative type of empirical research in judicial studies. It focuses on assessing the attitudes and perceptions judges have towards the way they learn how to sentence throughout the course of their judicial careers. The first main assumption is that judges learn all throughout their lives, both through the formal training offered and other informal sources of learning (such as the practice of sentencing, or peer advice). The second main assumption is that the judges’ learning needs and perceptions towards training change as they gain more experience and they are exposed to various learning contexts. So far the study was conducted in one European jurisdiction (Romania), totalling 510 judicial respondents ranging from 0 to 40 years judicial experience. This paper presents the findings with regards to their views on the judicial training they receive.Learning to Sentence: An Empirical Study of Judicial Attitudes towards Judicial Training in RomaniaLearning to Sentence: A European Study of Judicial Attitudes and Perceptions Towards Judicial Training
Research on Judicial Conflict Resolution
I have just concluded my position as UK Lead Researcher in the European Research Council (ERC)-funded international research project “Judicial Conflict Resolution” taking place in 3 world jurisdictions for 5 years. The project’s Principal Investigator is Prof Michal Alberstein from Bar-Ilan University. My role began in Oct 2015 and ended in Dec 2016. I was in charge with conducting preliminary desk research on judicial conflict resolution framework and practices in the UK, in all trial courts, in all areas of law (civil and criminal). I gathered, reviewed and reported on 470+ documents (legislation, caselaw, reforms, statistical information, academic research). I have reported my findings at the Law and Society Conference 2016 (New Orleans USA), the Biennial Meeting of the International WorkingGroup for the Legal Profession 2016 (Andorra), and as an invited speaker at the Institute of Advanced Legal Studies 2017 (London, UK)