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Letelier: Institutional und ideological influences on judicial decision making of judges in Chile

Nov 23, 2022 | 12:00 PM s.t.

Seminar with Cristián Letelier (Universidad de Chile)

23 November 2022, 12:00 p.m., hybrid event (join here via Webex)

Value preferences are, at some point, inevitable in judicial decision making, even in hierarchical judicial systems where discretion may be considered anathema. The institutional reforms carried out in many countries - especially in Latin America - to justice systems at the end of the twentieth century challenged the role of judges and gave them more responsibility for substantive justice considerations, allowing the existence of explicit ideologies. On the other hand, however, at the core of democratic societies are the institutional arrangements oriented to ensure impartiality and independence of the judiciary. It emerges, then, a trade-off for judges between personal values (ideologies) and institutional incentives to behave hierarchically.

Through the review of judicial decisions made by criminal judges in Chile during the last decade regarding issues known to be value-dependent, the intended research aims to clarify whether personal ideologies are consistent over time or if they accommodate to the preponderant criteria of the courts where judges are promoted. Initial findings are presented considering custody before trial in juvenile offender and probation maintenance under new offenses. A quantitative methodological approach is presented and discussed.

Cristian Letelier. Attorney at law (Universidad de Chile). Master of Public Administration (London School of Economics). PhD Student in Law (Universidad de Chile). He is currently Senior Researcher at the Centre of Justice Studies, Faculty of Law of University of Chile, since 2019.  He has been external advisor for civil judicial reform in Chile, and expert evaluator for Chilean government of public spending programs regarding access to justice, offender resettlement programs, and alternative dispute resolution mechanisms. He has led many studies for different public institutions from a multidisciplinary approach. His research areas are: access to justice, judicial organization, and reforms to the justice system.

Time & Location

Nov 23, 2022 | 12:00 PM s.t.

Konferenzraum II
Garystraße 35
14195 Berlin