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Speaker Series: Jennifer K Robbennolt - Law and Psychology, University of Illinois, Urbana - Champaign

  • When: April 24, 2019, 12–1:30 pm
  • Where: ABF Woods Conference Room, 750 N. Lake Shore Drive, 4th Floor, Lakeside, Chicago IL 60611

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Service Members' Reactions to Amends for Lawful Civilian Casualties

Co-Author:  Lesley Wexler, University of Illinois College of Law

Paper can be found: here

When states engage in armed conflict, civilians may be killed or seriously injured. Sometimes the actions that lead to these deaths and injuries violate the law, but often they are allowed by the laws of war that govern collateral damage.  As a practical matter, when civilians are lawfully killed during armed conflict, states tend neither to directly acknowledge causal responsibility nor to make promises of non-repetition, though may provide small monetary payments as an expression of sympathy to affected families—disbursements known as condolence or solatia payments. But more robust amends are an appropriate response to lawful harm to civilians and are practically justified from the perspectives of the civilian populations, the relevant military or state, and individual soldiers (Wexler & Robbennolt, 2017). Amends making for lawful harm offers both the injured and the injurer a mechanism for addressing that harm. Civilians and their families and communities may benefit from a recognition of their loss, an explanation of the circumstances that led to the harm, attention to the prevention of future harm, financial repair, and respect. From states’ perspectives, offering amends has the potential to further important military objectives, address soldiers’ moral injuries, and contribute to the professionalization of the military.  In this project we focus on the perspective of individual service members. We use survey methods to explore service members’ views of amends making generally and also their reactions to different forms of responding in the aftermath of a lawful civilian casualty.

Photo and bio courtesy of University of Illinois

Professor Jennifer Robbennolt is an expert in the areas of psychology and law, torts, and dispute resolution. Her research integrates psychology into the study of law and legal institutions, focusing primarily on legal decision-making and the use of empirical research methodology in law.

Professor Robbennolt is co-author of several books, including The Psychology of Tort Law; Psychology for Lawyers: Understanding the Human Factors in Negotiation, Litigation, and Decision Making; a textbook on Empirical Methods in Law (with Illinois colleagues Robert M. Lawless and Thomas S. Ulen); and the influential casebook, Dispute Resolution and Lawyers.

She has served as secretary of the American Psychology-Law Society and as the chair of the AALS section on law and the social sciences and is on the editorial boards of Psychology, Public Policy, and Law; Law and Human Behavior; and Law and Society Review.

Professor Robbennolt has twice been awarded the Wayne R. LaFave Award for Excellence in Faculty Scholarship and the Shook, Hardy, & Bacon Excellence in Research Award, and has received the Professional Article Prize awarded by the CPR International Institute for Conflict Prevention & Resolution. She has been awarded the John E. Cribbet Excellence in Teaching Award, the Blackwell Sanders Peper Martin Distinguished Faculty Achievement Award for outstanding teaching, and the Gold Chalk Award for dedication and service to the advancement of graduate student education.

A graduate with highest honors of the University of Nebraska College of Law, she also earned master’s and doctoral degrees in social psychology from the University of Nebraska. In 2016 she was presented with the inaugural Distinguished Alumni Award from the University of Nebraska Law-Psychology Program. Before joining the faculty at the University of Illinois, Professor Robbennolt was associate dean for faculty research and development, associate professor, and senior fellow in the Center for the Study of Dispute Resolution at the University of Missouri-Columbia School of Law. She has also served as a research associate and lecturer at the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs and at Princeton University’s Department of Psychology and as a law clerk to the Honorable John M. Gerrard of the Nebraska Supreme Court.

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