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Judicial Decisionmaking and the Use of Panels in the Canadian Supreme Court and the South African Appellate Division

Lori Hausegger and Stacia Haynie
Law & Society Review
Vol. 37, No. 3 (Sep., 2003), pp. 635-658
Published by: Wiley on behalf of the Law and Society Association
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/1555081
Page Count: 24
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Judicial Decisionmaking and the Use of Panels in the Canadian Supreme Court and the South African Appellate Division
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Abstract

Research on the U.S. Supreme Court suggests that judges' decisions are influenced by their policy preferences. Moreover, judges behave strategically to facilitate outcomes that conform as close as possible to those preferences. We seek to generalize this assertion to judicial actors in two very diverse social systems: Canada in the post-Charter years and apartheid-era South Africa. Specifically, we analyze the use of panel assignments by the chief justices in both countries. We find that chief justices do behave strategically. Chief justices in both countries do not assign judges to panels randomly but rather are influenced by the tenure and ideology of the sitting judges and the issues presented in the case.

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