Document Type

Book Chapter

Publication Date


Source Publication

The Edward Elgar Research Handbook on Law and Emotion


The role of emotion in law has long been shrouded in mystery. The legal system is built on assumptions about human behavior, including assumptions about emotion. Thus, unavoidably, understanding emotion is an essential part of building a fairer, more effective system. Yet the emergence and growth of Law and Emotion as a field of study has been slowed by the belief that merely by acknowledging emotion, scholars and jurists would undermine the rule of law. It has been further hampered by the suspicion that emotions are too ephemeral or subjective to be understood in any systematic way. For too long, the result has been a strange, unproductive stasis: a legal system buffeted by emotional influences it refuses to investigate—or even to name.