The Emotional Labour of Judges in Jury Trials

Colette Barry, Chalen Westaby, Mark Coen, Niamh Howlin

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Abstract

Judges are required to suppress and manage their own emotions as well as those of other court users and staff in their everyday work. Previous studies have examined the complex emotional labour undertaken by judges, but there is limited research on the emotion management performed by judges in their interactions with jurors. Drawing on a qualitative study of judge-jury relations in criminal trials in Ireland, we illustrate how judges learn and habituate emotional labour practices through informal and indirect processes. Judges describe managing their emotions to demonstrate impartiality and objectivity. Their accounts also underline the importance of balancing presentations of neutrality with empathy, as well as being mindful of the potential emotional toll of jury service on jurors.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Law and Society
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 26 Jun 2023

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