27 September 2018

Louise Victoria Johansen invited speaker at international seminar on Remorse and Responsibility in the criminal process

The seminar has invited a range of international researchers who have written on emotions within law. It will focus on the expression of a particular kind of emotion that is critical to criminal processes, namely that of remorse. Explicitly, or often implicitly, judges, prosecutors, probation officers and other decision-makers afford remorse, or the absence of remorse, a pivotal role in decision-making. Yet there is no common understanding of why remorse matters, of what remorse is, or of how, (or whether), remorse can be evaluated in different settings.

Moreover and distinctively, the seminar seeks to connect remorse with the broader question of how judgements of the character or personality of a defendant are made in the light of his or her expressions of guilt and acceptance of responsibility (or otherwise). Thus, it will investigate the various ways in which cultural expectations as to expressions of remorse shape, and are shaped by, the construction of the 'ideal defendant' and his or her role in pre-trial, trial and post-trial settings.