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Political Bias in Court? Lay Judges and Asylum Appeals

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  • Martén, Linna

    () (Department of Economics)

Abstract

Several countries practice a system where laymen, who lack legal education, participate in the judicial decision making. Yet, little is known about their potential influence on the court rulings. In Sweden lay judges (namndeman) are affiliated with the political parties and appointed in proportion to political party representation in the last local elections. This paper investigates the influence of their partisan belonging when ruling in asylum appeals in the Migration Courts, where laymen are effectively randomly assigned to cases. The results show that the approval rate is affected by the policy position of the laymen's political parties. In particular, asylum appeals are more likely to be rejected when laymen from the anti-immigrant party the Swedish Democrats participate, and less likely to be rejected when laymen from the Left Party, the Christian Democrats or the Green Party participate. This indicates that asylum seekers do not receive an impartial trial, and raises concerns that laymen in the courts can compromise the legal security in general.

Suggested Citation

  • Martén, Linna, 2015. "Political Bias in Court? Lay Judges and Asylum Appeals," Working Paper Series 2015:2, Uppsala University, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:hhs:uunewp:2015_002
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Shamena Anwar & Patrick Bayer & Randi Hjalmarsson, 2015. "Politics in the Courtroom: Political Ideology and Jury Decision Making," NBER Working Papers 21145, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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    3. Eric Zitzewitz, 2006. "Nationalism in Winter Sports Judging and Its Lessons for Organizational Decision Making," Journal of Economics & Management Strategy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 15(1), pages 67-99, March.
    4. Shamena Anwar & Patrick Bayer & Randi Hjalmarsson, 2014. "The Role of Age in Jury Selection and Trial Outcomes," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 57(4), pages 1001-1030.
    5. Shamena Anwar & Patrick Bayer & Randi Hjalmarsson, 2012. "The Impact of Jury Race in Criminal Trials," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 127(2), pages 1017-1055.
    6. repec:cup:apsrev:v:102:y:2008:i:04:p:417-433_08 is not listed on IDEAS
    7. Jacob K. Goeree & Leeat Yariv, 2011. "An Experimental Study of Collective Deliberation," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 79(3), pages 893-921, May.
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    9. Moses Shayo & Asaf Zussman, 2011. "Judicial Ingroup Bias in the Shadow of Terrorism," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 126(3), pages 1447-1484.
    10. repec:cup:apsrev:v:107:y:2013:i:01:p:159-187_00 is not listed on IDEAS
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Political attitudes; Decision making; Court; Immigration; Legal system;

    JEL classification:

    • D72 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Political Processes: Rent-seeking, Lobbying, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior
    • D79 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Other
    • K10 - Law and Economics - - Basic Areas of Law - - - General (Constitutional Law)
    • K37 - Law and Economics - - Other Substantive Areas of Law - - - Immigration Law
    • K40 - Law and Economics - - Legal Procedure, the Legal System, and Illegal Behavior - - - General

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