Judges, Conflict, and the Past

Kieran McEvoy, Alex Schwartz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)
944 Downloads (Pure)


Drawing upon interviews with senior judicial figures in Northern Ireland, South Africa and elsewhere, this article considers the role of the judiciary in a political conflict.1 Using the socio-legal literature on judicial performance and audience as well as transitional justice, the article argues that judges in Northern Ireland ‘performed’ to a number of ‘imagined’ audiences including Parliament, ‘the public’ and their judicial peers - all of which it is argued shaped their view of the judicial role. In light of ongoing efforts to deal with the past in the jurisdiction, and the experiences of other transitional societies, the article argues that the judiciary can and should engage in a mature, reflexive and, where appropriate, self-critical examination of the good and bad of their own institutional history during the conflict. It also argues that such a review of judicial performance requires an external audience in order to encourage the judiciary to see truth beyond the limits of legalism.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)528-555
Number of pages28
JournalJournal of Law and Society
Issue number4
Early online date08 Nov 2015
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2015

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Social Sciences


Dive into the research topics of 'Judges, Conflict, and the Past'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this