Project Information

Kurt Lewin Instituut
Heidelberglaan 1
Room Number H1.42
The Netherlands
T: +31 (0)30 - 253 3027

Project Information

Project Title
"A Critical Test of the Role of Perceived Procedural Justice among Criminal Defendants: Implications for Trust in and Perceived Legitimacy of the Criminal Justice System and Compliance with the Law"

University of Groningen - Faculty of Law, Economics and Governance

PhD Student
Lisa Ansems

Prof. Kees van den Bos
Prof. Elaine Mak

1 December 2016 - 30 November 2020

NWO Onderzoekstalentbeurs, granted after successful application


One of the areas where law and social psychology meet is research on perceived procedural justice. When people experience a high level of procedural justice – that is, when they feel they are treated fairly by authorities – this has positive effects on trust in and perceived legitimacy of these authorities and compliance with the law. Our research examines this "fair process effect" by focusing on criminal defendants’ experiences during their court hearings. For some defendants, these court hearings presumably constitute a strong evaluative context, which leads to interesting predictions regarding the fair process effect.  We adopt an original, multi-method approach, consisting of interviews with defendants to better understand the concepts “perceived procedural justice” and “strong evaluative context”; survey research among defendants to examine the relations between the different variables; and a field experiment in court to gain more precise insight into the influence of feeling strongly evaluated on the operation of the fair process effect.

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