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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 118865 Add to Shopping cart Find in a Library
Title: Perception of Justice: Tort Litigants' Views of Trial, Court-Annexed Arbitration, and Judicial Settlement Conferences
Author(s): E A Lind; R J MacCoun; P A Ebener; W L F Felstiner; D R Hensler; J Resnik; T R Tyler
Corporate Author: Rand Corporation
The Institute for Civil Justice
United States of America
Date Published: 1989
Page Count: 93
Sponsoring Agency: National Institute of Justice/
Rockville, MD 20849
Rand Corporation
Santa Monica, CA 90406
Publication Number: ISBN 0-8330-0961; R-3708-ICJ
Sale Source: National Institute of Justice/
NCJRS paper reproduction
Box 6000, Dept F
Rockville, MD 20849
United States of America

Rand Corporation
The Institute for Civil Justice
1700 Main Street
Santa Monica, CA 90406
United States of America
Type: Research (Applied/Empirical)
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This study investigated the attitudes and perceptions of individual plaintiffs and defendants in relatively small personal injury tort cases in three State courts, with a focus on trial procedures, court-annexed arbitration, and judicial settlement conferences.
Abstract: A total of 286 litigants were interviewed: 122 in Fairfax County, Va.; 74 in Bucks County, Pa.; and 90 in Prince Georges County, Md. Findings indicate that tort litigants are sensitive to procedural variations, and their impressions of the litigation process are significant in determining their beliefs about fairness and their satisfaction with the court. The litigants apparently wanted a dignified, careful, and unbiased hearing of their cases and desired some control over the handling of their cases and over the ultimate outcome. Litigants' positive attitudes about procedures and about the court system were closely linked to their perception that their lawyers were trustworthy and competent. Litigants did not have much interest in informal, highly participative, simplified procedures. Arbitration was viewed favorably by the litigants because it was dignified and careful, not because it was informal compared to trial procedures. Findings suggest that litigants perceptions of justice and satisfaction are more likely to come from changes in the tone of the judicial process rather than from innovations designed to cut costs or reduce delay. 3 figures, 6 tables, 101 references.
Main Term(s): Torts
Index Term(s): Court-administered arbitration; Pretrial conferences; Trial procedures
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