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Irish Child Health Database - Peer Reviewed Papers

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  • What happens in court? The development of understanding of the legal system in a sample of Irish children and adults

    Published in:

    Irish Journal of Psychology, Vol: 21, Page: 215-226,Psychological Society of Ireland/Cumann Siceolaithe Eireann

    Publication Date:


    Aims & Objectives:

    The aim of this study was to describe what children and adults know about the legal process and which legal terms and concepts are a part of the conceptual repertoire at different ages.


    Examined what children and adults know about the legal process and which legal terms and concepts are a part of the conceptual repertoire at different ages. 360 Irish 4-75 yr olds (mean age 21.6 yrs) in 9 age groups completed the specially designed Legal Knowledge and Perception of Court Interview Schedule. The measure elicited information on sociodemographic characteristics, understanding of court procedures, understanding of court personnel, understanding of and common legal terms and concepts, and sources of information about the legal system. Results of ANOVA show a main effect for age; knowledge of the legal system increased with age. The overall findings suggest that Irish children, particularly those under 9 yrs of age, do not possess sufficient understanding of the legal system to enable them to participate as effectively as they might as witnesses. Implications for developing a systematic program of preparing child witnesses for their involvement in the legal process is discussed. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2008 APA, all rights reserved)


    Catherine Maunsell; Howard V. Smith; Clifford Stevenson

    Study Type:

    Study Papers » Case Study » Descriptive Studies - Without a comparision


    0303-3910 Accession Number: 2002-10476-009. First Author & Affiliation: Maunsell, Catherine; Trinity Coll, Dublin, Ireland. Other Journal Title: Irish Journal of Psychology. Release Date: 20020313. Publication Type: Journal, (0100) Peer Reviewed Journal, (0110). Media Covered: Print. Media Available: Electronic; Print. Document Type: Journal Article. Language: English. Major Descriptor: Adjudication; Age Differences; Concept Formation; Legal Processes. Minor Descriptor: Legal Personnel; Terminology. Classification: Cognitive & Perceptual Development (2820) Forensic Psychology & Legal Issues (4200) . Population: Human (10) Male (30) Female (40) . Location: Ireland. Age Group: Childhood (birth-12 yrs) (100) Preschool Age (2-5 yrs) (160) School Age (6-12 yrs) (180) Adolescence (13-17 yrs) (200) Adulthood (18 yrs & older) (300) Young Adulthood (18-29 yrs) (320) Thirties (30-39 yrs) (340) Middle Age (40-64 yrs) (360) Aged (65 yrs & older) (380) . Methodology: Empirical Study. References Available: Y.


    knowledge on the legal process

    International Classification:

    Legal or care issues



    Republic of Ireland (Republic of Ireland)