Can Judges Really Assess Credibility ?

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Can Judges Really Assess Credibility ?When the only evidence in a case is the testimony of themosaic . In a 2003 program called " The Challenge of Diver -disputing parties , the case becomes a " credibility contest . "sity , " the N’T grappled with this challenge for adjudicatorsThe judge has to assess the credibility of the witnesses andThe presentation pointed out that " access to justice will bedecide whose version seems more reasonable . ( Most trials\diminished if the adjudicator fails to recognize and deal withare heard by a judge without a jury . ! Credibility includes both*such issues as : cultural difference ; language; disability; sys-truthfulness and reliability . One person may not have seen or*temic discrimination . "heard clearly , may not remember well , or may have observedonly part of an event . Even though a witness is honest , hisQUESTIONS TO CONSIDERtestimony might not be reliable .It is widely accepted in the legal system that the trial1 .if judges are no better than average at assessing thejudge is in the best position to assess the witnesses’ cred -truthfulness of witnesses , what are the implicationsibility . Lawyers and judges seem to believe that years offor the interpretation of contracts in which the par-experience on the bench equip judges to evaluate witnesses"ties" testimony conflicts and there is no independentcredibility better than most people can . Even appeal courtsEvidence ?hesitate to question a trial judge’s assessment because the2 .How do you think judges , who , like all of us , have theirjudge had the opportunity to see and hear the witnessesown inherent (and perhaps unconscious ) biases , canand observe their demeanour . However , recent social science*better assess testimony in a diverse society like Canada ?"research does not support this belief .In particular , studies have shown that judges are no3 .What steps might a business person take to reduce thebetter than average at assessing the truthfulness of wit -likelihood of problems in interpreting contracts ?"nesses . Also interesting in our increasingly diverse Canadian*Sources : Alvin Esau , " Credibility and Culture , " Comments at Judi-society , researchers have pointed out cultural differencescial Workshop , September 24, 1988, www. "manitoba. caifaculties !in people’s behaviour that may affect perceptions of cred -law` / Courses/esquilegal_ sistunits_culture. html; George Thompson,ibility . If the judge was raised in the belief that looking an" The Challenge of Diversity , " National Judicial Institute , COBAauthority straight in the eye is a sign of truth- telling , and theConference , November 6, 2003 , available online at www. soar. on . callwitness was raised in the belief that downcast eyes showCOBA` ZO P a per’s ! Thompson . pdf . SEE also MY. Justice I.D. Rooke,respect – or Vice versa – the judge may misinterpret the wit -"Assessing Credibility in Arbitrations and in Court : A Difficult Taskness’s demeanour and wrongly assess his credibility , without*for Judge , Jury or Arbitrator(‘s ), " Presentation to Canadian Barhaving any conscious bias against the Witness .itssociation , Edmonton, AB, March 20, 19:50, as discussed in "ASSESSINGThe National Judicial Institute IN ! ! ) seems to be payingthe Credibility of Witnesses : A Practical Guide," Council of CanadianAdministrative Tribunal’s Conference, June 1 1, 2000, W` Chat- Clad.org !"attention to the issue of assessing credibility in a multiculturaldownload s /conference_ text . puff.