How Organization Transform Law- Sociological Thoughs on Judicial Work

Wednesday, 13 July 2016: 16:15
Location: Seminarsaal 20 (Juridicum)
Oral Presentation
Christian MOUHANNA, Centre de recherches sociologiques sur le droit et les institutions penales (CESDIP), France
Benoit BASTARD, CNRS, France
Dealing with the issue on the « quality of justice », our presentation is based on a synthesis of our different fieldworks on Justice courts these last ten years. We have observed the growing impact of managerialization inside these courts, and their consequences on the magistrates’ work. If the structures of the courts and the functions of each magistrate is governed by the Law, empirical researches show beyond doubt that organizational adaptations and assessment objectives have deeply transformed their work. Efficiency, quickness, and productivity have imposed new standards in the decision-making process. The pressure for more repression, based on law and order policies, has also had an impact on the magistrates’ choices

However, our different studies -on the criminal courts’ quick answer system, on the family justice system, or on the children courts- point out that this movement of managerialization is not leading to a single movement of standardization, but to a large range of adaptations. If some magistrates subscribe to this logic of efficiency at any price and accept a weakening of the quality in order to produce more decisions, many other resist to this movement. Admittedly individual beliefs in what is good justice play a big part in this choice, but our results underline that some functions inside the judicial system are more likely to favor the support of managerialisation whereas any others make magistrates inclined to resist to this movement. We will present a comparison of what we call « the different pattern of Justice », linking them to the magistrates’ function inside the courts and comparing public prosecution, criminal courts, family courts and youth judges.