This book is a critical study of the work of legal psychologists, particularly in the United States, and the assumptions upon which the work is based. It rejects an experimentalist model of legal psychology and claims that the use of such a model is not scientific and therefore superior to other ways of analysing the legal system. It proposes ultimately an approach based upon the interpretive nature of human social experience and its effects upon behavior.


Of interest to law students, psychology students, magistrates, probation officers, and others interested in the interaction between psychology and the law.

Table of Contents

Making ends meet. Legal psychologists at work. Science and the legal system. Theoretical dilemmas. The fictions of legal behaviour. The challenge of research. The future of law and psychology.


© 1986
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About the author

Reviews interesting and thoughtful critique of widely held assumptions and methods in 'legal psychology'; as such, his book should be of interest to everyone who reads the literature in this area. @source:British Psychological Society Bulletin, Volume 40 @qu:A valuable counterpoint to recent interest in legal psychology...of interest to graduate students and researchers. @source:Choice @qu:Following a short introduction, King provides brief and accurate descriptions of several psycho-legal studies as exemplars of contemporary legal psychological research. Having 'set the scene' he launches a concerted and detailed critique of the theoretical and methodological underpinnings of experimental psychology as applied to criminal justice systems...much of the criticism King levels at psychologists is justifiable on the basis of legal psychology's past performance, and many psychologists' apparent unwillingness to 'get their hands dirty' by studying the criminal justice system in vivo. @source:Social Behaviour