Zhang, C. (2019). Spatial cognition in the courtroom: A quasi-experimental study of the influence Canadian courtroom design has on jury cognition. The Young Researcher, 3 (1), 33-49.
As efforts to reform the Canadian criminal justice system progresse, there has been a rise in attention towards legal realist jurisprudence and the realm of legal architecture. This study aims to identify the degree of influence Canadian courtroom design has on a juror's perceptions of the defendant. Through a quasi-experimental research method, 44 high school students aged 14-18 served as jury members across a series of four trial recreations, each with a different layout. Afterward, they were then required to complete a post-test questionnaire. Three trials resulted in guilty verdicts, while one received a verdict of innocent. From the data gathered, it was concluded that the layout of Trial C had a significant degree of influence over a juror’s cognition and worked to attract higher rates of innocent verdicts in comparison to other courtroom designs.
Keywords: courtroom layout, legal architecture, spatial cognition, Canadian criminal justice system, juror, trial