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12 October 2012

Trust in Justice and the Legitimacy of Legal Authorities: Topline Findings from a Comparative European

By: Mike Hough, Jonathan Jackson, Ben Bradford
The present article addresses the existing relationship between trust in justice and the legitimacy of legal authorities, with particular regard to the police activities.

The study is based on findings drawn from the fifth European Social Survey(ESS), carried out in 28 countries in 2010-11. The dataset used here covers 26 of the 28 countries, and has a total sample size of almost 51.000 people.
As a result of the analysis of the data collected, it was possible to point out the existence of a relationship across countries between dimensions of trust in the police and dimensions of perceived police legitimacy. The feeling of trust in the police is likely to affect the trust in police fairness as well. As a consequence, the main purpose of the work is to outline that an effective implementation of policies aimed at improving a sense of police legitimacy in the public – especially in Eastern and Southern European countries, whose citizens tend to be less trustful in this institution –might be possible only if it was focused on procedural fairness.