Facilitating falsification in legal decision making: problems in practice and potential solutions

Research output: ThesisDoctoral ThesisMixed; collaboration

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It is believed that tunnel vision is an important factor in miscarriages of justice. Tunnel vision can be described as an excessive focus on information or evidence that confirms your theory, while paying less attention to evidence that contradicts it. Furthermore, it also increases the tendency to interpret information in such a way that it confirms your theory. This thesis researched the role of falsification in legal decision-making. Namely, how judges consider exonerating evidence and alternative scenarios. This was researched in practice through a survey, interviews, and a case study. The researcher also conducted experimental studies to determine whether the use of falsification can be increased through changing the order of evidence presentation, changing the instruction to explain the decision, or training to focus on falsification. The findings suggested that judges understand the need for falsification, but struggle to apply it in practice. Based on the experimental data, it appeared law students have more of a focus on alternative scenarios than suggested by research with members of the general public.
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • Maastricht University
  • University of Gothenburg
  • van Koppen, Peter, Supervisor
  • Ask, Karl , Supervisor, External person
  • Horselenberg, Robert, Co-Supervisor
Award date14 Jan 2021
Place of PublicationMaastricht
Print ISBNs9789464162271
Publication statusPublished - 2021


  • tunnel vision
  • judges
  • falsification
  • alternative scenarios
  • miscarriages of justice

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