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Legal culture: an experiment

Cite as:

Reinders Folmer, Dr. C.P. (Erasmus University Rotterdam) (): Legal culture: an experiment. DANS. https://doi.org/10.17026/dans-xbh-6awv

2015-10 Reinders Folmer, Dr. C.P. (Erasmus University Rotterdam) 10.17026/dans-xbh-6awv

This project concerns an empirical investigation of legal culture: the (hypothesized) phenomenon that differences between countries’ legal systems reflect differences between the legal preferences of their populations.
The present study concerns a follow-up to an initial empirical investigation of this phenomenon by Van Os (2015). Van Os presented Dutch participants with descriptions of torts and their solution according to Dutch law, or rather according to English law (details below). Her vignettes concerned cases where Dutch and English law make opposite verdicts (i.e., responsibility for children, responsibility for bystanders to intervene, provision for compensating grief). Contrary to the theory of legal culture, Van Os observed no consistent preference for solutions according to Dutch law.
In the present study, we extend the study of Van Os by complementing it with a sample of English participants. By doing so, we aimed to examine whether English participants would show opposing preferences to Dutch participants, in line with the differences between their legal systems, or rather, whether their preferences would correspond. Thereby, this study aimed to further investigate whether national differences in legal preferences may be observed on subjects where national legal differences diverge, as suggested by the theory of legal culture.