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

Published: Jan 18, 2006

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

Version V1

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.

Schubert, Glendon. Comparative Judicial Study: Switzerland and South Africa, 1970-1971. Ann Arbor, MI: Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research [distributor], 2006-01-18.

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York University (Canada)

Canada Council

Social Science Research Council

1970 -- 1971

1970 -- 1971

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.

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

personal interviews

event/transaction data

observational data

survey data



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.


  • Data in this collection are available only to users at ICPSR member institutions.

  • The citation of this study may have changed due to the new version control system that has been implemented.
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