American Judges Association


Date of this Version



Court Review - Volume 57


Used by permission.


What constitutes good judging has long been a matter of discussion.1 Models of good judging contain norms about judicial demeanor and emotion, especially in court, though typically not expressed in those terms.2 The conventional model of the impartial judge characterises emotion as incompatible with, and potentially undermining, impartiality and so threatening the legitimacy of judicial authority and the rule of law.3 However, judicial work necessarily engages a wide range of emotions and requires considerable emotion capacities, which can (appear to) conflict with this expectation of dispassionate, impersonal, and detached judging.4 Performing judicial authority can entail considerable emotion work5 on the part of the judicial officer, managing the judicial officer’s own felt and displayed emotion, as well as those of other courtroom participants.6