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Document Type

Essay

First Page

229

Abstract

This Essay describes the phenomenon of cultural bias in judicial decision making, and examines the use of testimonies and opinions of cultural experts as a way to diminish this bias. The Essay compares the legal regimes of the United States and Israel. Whereas in the United States, the general practice of using cultural experts in courts is well developed and regulated, the Israeli legal procedure has no formal method for admitting cultural expert testimony, and examples of opinions or testimonies of cultural experts in the Israeli legal system are sporadic. The Essay further argues that social science evidence is an essential but insufficient means of reducing the cultural bias of judges. Judges’ reliance on cultural experts can also be fueled by a preexisting cultural agenda disguised as an informed judgment. The Essay concludes with a suggestion of measures that can be implemented alongside the use of cultural experts in order to increase judges’ awareness of the cultural bias and mitigate its consequences.