Procedural Preferences, Perceptions of Fairness, and Compliance with Outcomes: A study of Alternatives to the Standard Adversary Trial Procedure

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Mental health professionals (N=198) read a vignette describing malpractice case and were asked to imagine themselves in the role of defendant. Using a between-subjects design, each subject was offered two possible trial procedures for resolving the case, the standard adversary procedure (ADVERS) and one of five possible hybrid procedures. Using scales that juxtaposed these two procedures, subjects provided judgments on 12 procedural justice dimensions. A series of regression analyses examined the most important determinants of PREFERENCE judgments, FAIRNESS ratings, and ratings of imagined COMPLIANCE with trial outcomes. PREFERENCE raings were significantly influenced by perceived FAIRNESS of the procedures and by OUTCOME CONTROL. Perceived ACCURACY of the available trial procedures contributed most of the unique variance explained for dependent measures of FAIRNESS AND COMPLIANCE. Results are discussed in terms of the procedural justice attributes of alternatives to the standard adversary process for resolving medical malpractice cases.

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Law and Human Behavior, v. 18, issue 4, p. 361–376