The Legal Process from a Behavioral Perspective

By Stuart S. Nagel | Go to book overview

SECTION II
The Factual Stimuli

T his section is designed to discuss the role of the main factual stimuli in shaping legal policies and adjudications. These factual stimuli include the cultural context, the competing contestants, and evidence- type facts.

Chapter 7 discusses the role of technological, political, and economic characteristics of societies as determinants of judicial structure and procedure. Five preliterate societies and five literate ones are used as the sample of entities on which the hypotheses are tested. There is elsewhere a growing body of related cross-cultural judicial studies.1 Unfortunately, however, those studies nearly always deal with only one country per study and generally do not attempt to scientifically test causal or bivariate hypotheses. In order to determine the relation between socioeconomic variables and legal variables, what is needed is a bank of relevant data on nearly all the countries of the world. Such data is already available for the socioeconomic variables.2 Likewise, data on the legal variables in basic fields such as contracts, torts, property, and criminal law can be found summarized for numerous countries in the international volume of the Martindale-Hubbell legal directory.3 By correlating the socioeconomic and the legal variables, one can obtain a better appreciation of the restraint and the stimulus that culture has on law reform and legal change, especially if data can be obtained historically as well as cross-culturally.

____________________
1
See C. SZLADITS, A BIBLIOGRAPHY ON FOREIGN AND COMPARATIVE LAW BOOKS AND ARTICLES IN ENGLISH ( 1963); and L. Nader, The Ethnography of Law: A Bibliographical Survey, 1964 (mimeographed paper available from the Behavioral Sciences Center at Stanford).
2
A. BANKS & R. TEXTOR, A CROSS POLITY SURVEY ( 1963); B. RUSSETTet al., WORLD HANDBOOK OF POLITICAL AND SOCIAL INDICATORS ( 1964); and R. RUMMEL et al., DIMENSIONS OF NATIONS ( 1966).
3
MARTINDALE-HUBBELL LAW DIRECTORY-LAW DIGESTS ( 1967).

-67-

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