What factors influence the judge’s decision?

When judges make court decisions, what are they guided by, apart from the law? What influence do judges have by their nature, which is not related to the legal one – judicial hierarchy, organization of courts, professional subculture, interests, workload, opinion of colleagues? 


So, what factors influence the judge’s decision?  

Does the subjective opinion of the judge, formed as a result of the analysis of the appearance of the defendant, influence the decision of the court?

The decision of the judge, if it is not obvious, is influenced by many factors: weather, mood, traffic jams and red light at the last traffic light on the way to work. The appearance is a very significant factor. Yet, again, a cute face and an excellent suit will help only in very uncertain situations where the decision is extremely unclear.  As an ordinary person, the judge will pass the arguments of the defender through the perception filter, including appearance. 



What do judges say about that?

Let’s take the survey into the account.

What influences you more when making a decision: facts or law?

 Law 3.5%

Facts 25.3%

Same effect 71.2%

The preponderance of trust in the facts, reflected in the survey responses, confirms the emphasis on the fact that lawyers – if they want to win a case – should develop a sympathetic “story” that will find a response among the judges. 



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What factors influence the judge’s decision: Narrative theory

 Judges instinctively think in terms of stories, turning narration into an effective method of narrative justification in the process of legal argumentation. The law always begins with a story.

Narrative theory influences how lawyers and judges behave in a real situation. A narrative rationale motivates the decision-maker to the need to make a favorable decision in favor of the party. The lawyer should be focused on the client and focused on the facts. 

Let’s talk more about the validity of this act, and its reflection on the decision. Does the judge have the legal right to refer to the personal opinion about the defendant and starting from this to draw own conclusion? 

Well, it would be not rational to brush aside the fact of evaluating a person’s appearance and claiming that the judge is a “superhuman” and takes into account only the bare facts, acting always indifferently.

Yet, it is illegal to make a court decision on the basis of an assessment of a person’s appearance and indicate this in the motivated reasoning in legal decision-making.

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What factors influence the judge’s decision: Judge’s independence

The judicial formation is the result of self-restraint of the state, allowing control of an independent court. In administering justice, judges are independent of external and internal factors, but their independence cannot be absolute, as judges are subject to the Constitution and the Law. A judge will never become truly independent until he or she fully realizes the complete dependence only on the law.



Lawyers seek to win the case. Understanding how judges think, what they prefer, how they make decisions and how they interact, can be a guide for lawyers when they develop a strategy and prepare a defense speech. The judges, in turn, seek to ensure a fair hearing that meets the needs of the parties. Awareness of how other judges deal with different procedural aspects, which influences their thinking and what they prefer can help the lawyers conduct their strategies in the most efficient way.

You should take into account that not all the attorneys fight till the end. Sometimes the decision of the judge can be really biased and inappropriate; sometimes you are simply not satisfied with the verdict and outcome of the case. Make sure your issue is not over until all the means are applied. Our lawyers and attorneys use unique strategies to get the most positive outcome. If you are not satisfied with the verdict – we can change it. That is the skill of a seasoned attorney with reach experience in the area.  

Attorneys at the Law Office of Yelena Sharova, P. C. are experienced litigators and defenders. We use all possible methods to get you the result you want.

Contact us for the efficient representation in the court. 

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