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Comparative Judicial Study: Switzerland and South Africa, 1970-1971 (ICPSR 7365)

Principal Investigator(s): Schubert, Glendon, University of Hawaii


This study contains eight files of data on the effects of background training and socialization, and attitudes on court decisions of judges in the highest courts in Switzerland and the Republic of South Africa in the period 1970-1971. The study is a collection of several different integrated datasets, designed to facilitate crosscultural and subcultural anthropological, sociological, psychological, and legal analyses of the political behavior and performances of judges in these two nations. The two nations were selected because of the direct representation of subcultures in their court systems, and because of the putative vast differences in their ecological settings. The datasets were collected by the use of several different methods. The primary method was field survey research, with one- to two-hour interviews. The interview consisted of three major parts: background characteristics, open-ended questions dealing with the decision-making process of the courts, and a 72-item attitudinal inventory. The second method used was direct observation of social interaction during the decision-making process, which was only possible in Switzerland. A total of almost two hundred decisions were observed over a period of several months. The third method was not invoked until substantially later. This consisted of analysis and coding of the reported decisions of the Swiss and South African courts, in each instance for a three-year period: the year before and the year after, as well as the year during which the six months of field survey was undertaken (July-December, 1970, for Switzerland, and January-June, 1971, for South Africa). Swiss and South African respondents were asked questions about the decision-making process of the Tribunal in Switzerland, and the putative effects of cultural differences on judicial performance in South Africa. Open-ended questions probed the effects of different background legal training, cultural upbringing, and religious orientation on the judges' court decisions and on public policy issues that were presented to the courts. Also examined were respondents' political, social, economic, and psychological attitudes. Demographic items provide background characteristics of respondents, such as age, date and place of birth, religion, education, job status, political experience and party affiliation, and native tongue.

Access Notes

  • Data in this collection are available only to users at ICPSR member institutions. Please log in so we can determine if you are with a member institution and have access to these data files.


DS0:  Study-Level Files
DS1:  SW110 File - Download All Files (2.981 MB)
DS2:  SA110 File - Download All Files (2.984 MB)
DS3:  SW210 File - Download All Files (2.954 MB)
DS4:  SA210 File - Download All Files (2.954 MB)
DS5:  SA320 File - Download All Files (3.175 MB)
DS6:  SW320 File - Download All Files (3.008 MB)
DS7:  SW421 File - Download All Files (2.978 MB)
DS8:  SW422 File - Download All Files (3.17 MB)

Study Description


Schubert, Glendon. Comparative Judicial Study: Switzerland and South Africa, 1970-1971. ICPSR07365-v1. Ann Arbor, MI: Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research [distributor], 2002. https://doi.org/10.3886/ICPSR07365.v1

Persistent URL: https://doi.org/10.3886/ICPSR07365.v1

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This study was funded by:

  • York University (Canada)
  • Canada Council
  • Social Science Research Council

Scope of Study

Subject Terms:    court system, courts, cultural pluralism, ethnic groups, judges, judicial decisions, judicial process

Geographic Coverage:    Global, South Africa, Switzerland

Time Period:   

  • 1970--1971

Date of Collection:   

  • 1970--1971

Universe:    High Courts and judges and judicial assistants in Switzerland and South Africa in the period 1970-1971.

Data Type(s):    event/transaction data, observational data, survey data


Sample:    A total of 24 judges and 17 judicial assistants of the Federal tribunal in Lausanne, Switzerland, and 47 judges of the Supreme Court in South Africa, in the period 1970-1971.

Data Source:

personal interviews


Original ICPSR Release:   1984-05-03

Version History:

  • 2006-01-18 File CB7365.PDF was removed from any previous datasets and flagged as a study-level file, so that it will accompany all downloads.

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