Document Type


Publication Date


Publication Citation

25 Law and Society Review 155 (1991)


Empirical research demonstrates that jurors have difficulty understanding and following traditional instructions about the law. The social science literature recommends several procedural reforms, including giving important instructions at the start of the trial and providing jurors with written instructions. This article examines changes in the law following the publication of this social science research, comparing courts, legislatures and rule-making commissions. Analysis reveals that although all three institutions are dominated by lawyers, they have acted differently. Commissions have made substantial changes in the law consistent with the recommendations of social scientists, legislatures have made few changes, and courts have changed case law in the opposite direction, suggesting support for a theory of institutional context.

Included in

Courts Commons