Center for Interdisziplinary Research

ZiF Workshop

Genesis, correction and prevention of wrongful convictions

Date: 23 - 24 November 2017

Convenors: Stephan Barton (Bielefeld, GER), Marieke Dubelaar (Leiden, NED), Ralf Kölbel (München, GER), Michael Lindemann (Bielefeld, GER)

Every legal system is prone to mistakes. Therefore, the German justice system, too, is not immune to miscarriages of justice. Some judicial errors which have been revealed in the recent past bear witness to the legitimacy of this assumption. Nevertheless, the prevalence of misjudgments has been poorly explored so far. Instead, we must be content with more or less reasoned estimates. Disciplines like criminology and social psychology have at least accumulated some knowledge about the genesis of judicial errors and (more seldom) about prospective corrective and preventive mechanisms, but the findings stand beside each other in an unconnected way and still need to be elaborated systematically. Against this background, the first objective of the workshop will be to find out the current state of research regarding miscarriages of justice and to categorise the knowledge gained so far. The workshop should provide a forum which allows the integration of international, interdisciplinary and interprofessional perspectives on the general topic, thereby creating impulses for further research activities regarding judicial errors. To achieve these aims, the discussion should be as broad as possible, involving speakers and discussants from different jurisdictions and with a juridical, psychological and sociological background. Speakers from abroad will provide an international dimension for the German discussion. Finally, the results of the workshop should be mirrored back to legal practice and politics in order to point out measures with the potential to prevent miscarriages of justice.

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