Court Delay and Judicial Wellbeing: Lessons from Self-Determination Theory to Enhance Court Timeliness in Australia

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Abstract

Drawing on the experience in Australia of media criticism of judicial timeliness, this article uses the lessons of psychology and self-determination theory to suggest how judicial performance mechanisms should be designed to align intrinsic and extrinsic judicial motivation. Most crucially, measures of judicial performance need to be crafted with an acceptance of the fact that extrinsic motivation can lead to a reduction in the intrinsic motivation of judges. This means that court structures and processes should look to service judges’ psychological needs of competence, relatedness and autonomy. These can, for example, influence more collaborative ways of assigning cases, self- regulated performance goals, and mechanisms to promote judicial collegiality and mentoring. Approaches that solely concentrate on externally derived key performance indicators are likely to be deleterious to judicial productivity and wellbeing over the long term and will negatively impact on the timeliness of courts.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)101-117
JournalJournal of Judicial Administration
Volume29
Issue numberPt 3
Publication statusPublished - May 2020

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