A little hopping on the niqab bandwagon

Lawyer Watch

In the widespread debate about the recent niqab in court controversy,* one of the things that strikes me is how little anyone participating in the debate actually knows about the influence of demeanour on the accurate assessment of evidence. I add myself to that group. I know little about it either. I do know that there is a significant body of work in such fields which can and should inform judgments about whether a woman wearing a niqab in court to give evidence would make the jury’s job harder. So I have had a quick look and came across this study. It is a meta-analysis of jury research by Michael Saks (6 S. Cal. Interdisc. L.J. 1 (1997-1998) What Do Jury Experiments Tell Us about How Juries (Should) Make Decisions). A key passage says this:

Trial courts put enormous stock in assessment of the credibility of witnesses as a…

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