Constructing the Center for Law and Psychology | Creating a judiciary based on human understanding by combining law and psychology

Promoting a New Trans-disciplinary Structure: Collaboration between Law and Psychology

Since the launch of the Saiban-in system (Japanese mixed jury system), in which lay citizens participate in the judiciary system, the importance of collaboration between law and psychology has been widely recognized. Our project aims to address some of the issues which extend in these two fields through trans-disciplinary perspective.

Our major advantage is that we have established a structure for a trans-disciplinary model in which solutions can be shared, rather than the conventional inter-disciplinary model which only shares problems. We have realized diverse collaborations in order to conduct joint research and held workshops regularly. We have also established strong partnerships with the members of local bar associations in order to enhance the tie between the researchers and practitioners. In order to attain substantial debate, we work with professionals in foreign countries such as South Korea, Canada, and Australia, who have an interest in law and psychology.

Tackling the Modern Issues of Lay Judges and Clinical Justice

Our team of talented researchers is conducting various research projects on various themes. One area of our study looks into the influence that media might have on the citizens who are potential lay judges. We carry out psychological experiments, using multiple newspaper articles, to investigate their influence on lay citizens, and consider how some of the findings can be applied to the current criminal procedures.

We also carry out research into clinical justice. There is of widespread concern for our juvenile justice system, which was established more than half a century ago, and is no longer compatible with the rapid increase in juvenile crime. The question here is how to integrate calls for severe punishment and ago adequate support for victims into the prevention of crime through the clinical study of justice and offense. In order to provide new proposals for these issues, we are not only trying to clarify the present situation in our country, but to investigate that of other countries such as Canada and Australia as well, which have implemented problem-solving courts.

Advantages and Disadvantages of "Transparency" of the Trials

The third theme of our investigation is the "transparency" of trials under the Saiban-in system. Visual and audio recording of the interrogation process is considered to implement the transparency of investigations. However, studies show that the recording of interrogation needs to be conducted with great care. One study shows, for example, that the mere difference of the video camera angle affects the viewers' evaluation of the credibility of the confession which is being recorded. Our own experiments have also confirmed similar results.

Concerning confessions made during police interrogation, in order to evaluate the credibility, the time line of the interrogation should also be carefully examined. Whether the confession is made only once or made repeatedly in a consistent manner needs to be considered. To this end we are developing a 3D viewer, known as the KTH Cube system which enables to present debatable issues and transitions of confessions in a visible manner.

In the Forefront of International Research

Other areas of our study include issues such as the relationship between extinctive prescription and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and the effects of psychiatric evaluations on lay judges' decisions in the Saiban-in system. It is important to note that a research structure such as ours is very unique even on a global scale. Our ultimate goal is to create a research and educational base where experts on law and psychology can conduct trans-disciplinary studies on even broader range of issues and transfer their findings to the prospective law students, who will then be able to apply them to society in the future.

law and psychology, legal clinics, clinical justice, Saiban-in system(Japanese mixed jury system), trans-disciplinary approach

Professor Tatsuya Sato

Professor Tatsuya Sato

College of Letters
03/1985 Tokyo Metropolitan University Faculty of Humanities Graduated
03/1987 Tokyo Metropolitan University "Graduate School, Division of Humanities" Master course Completed
03/1989 Tokyo Metropolitan University "Graduate School, Division of Humanities" Doctor course Withdrawn before completion

Ritsumeikan University Research Database : Tatsuya Sato
Tatsuya Sato, Ph.D. Personal HP
Constructing the center for Law and Psychology website (Japanese Page)

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