Online PhD conferral ms. Enide F.L. Maegherman
Supervisors: prof.dr. Peter van Koppen (VUA/UM), prof.dr. Karl Ask (Gothenburg University)
Co-supervisor: dr. Rober Horselenberg
Key words: tunnel vision, judges, falsification, alternative scenarios, miscarriages of justice
"Facilitating Falsification in Legal Decision-Making: Problems in Practice and Potential Solutions"
It is believed that tunnel vision is an important factor in miscarriages of justice. Tunnel vision can be described as an excessive focus on information or evidence that confirms your theory, while paying less attention to evidence that contradicts it. Furthermore, it also increases the tendency to interpret information in such a way that it confirms your theory. This thesis researched the role of falsification in legal decision-making. Namely, how judges consider exonerating evidence and alternative scenarios. This was researched in practice through a survey, interviews, and a case study. The researcher also conducted experimental studies to determine whether the use of falsification can be increased through changing the order of evidence presentation, changing the instruction to explain the decision, or training to focus on falsification. The findings suggested that judges understand the need for falsification, but struggle to apply it in practice. Based on the experimental data, it appeared law students have more of a focus on alternative scenarios than suggested by research with members of the general public.