Emotions in Court

Project leader

Funding source

Swedish Research Council - Vetenskapsrådet (VR)

Project Details

Start date: 01/01/2012
End date: 31/12/2015
Funding: 5960000 SEK


The purpose is to study emotions and emotion management in Swedish courts, focusing:

1) The process of learning and mastering emotion management;

2) The influence of power, status and collegiality;

3) The strategic use of emotion.

Data will be collected by tape-recorded qualitative interviews with judges, prosecutors and lawyers of both sexes and at different career stages, and by observations of trials at two large, one small, and one mid-size, district courts. A select number of professionals will be followed for shorter periods, enabling close observation of individual strategies. Document analysis of relevant in-service training syllabuses will be undertaken. Previous research has been carried out mainly on the Anglo-Saxon legal systems. It was found that emotions are highly pertinent to the Law, and that legal professionals? ways of managing their own, as well as associated laymen?s (jurors, witnesses, plaintiffs, defendants) emotions are crucial for the performance of justice in democratic societies. Previous research in Sweden is very limited but indicates that emotions are as relevant a topic here, though the requirement to ?keep them out of court? may be stricter than in e.g. the US. This project will contribute to opening up the black box of the emotional skills and competences tacitly required by the Swedish judicial system. Outcomes will be relevant for educational purposes (in Law) and will contribute methodologically and theoretically to emotion research.

External Partners

Last updated on 2017-31-05 at 14:31