The judge on Facebook; neglecting a persistent ritual?

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


In many social realms, social media are employed by institutions to establish direct relations between their representatives and their clients or customers. In this article I explain why the civil law judge cannot be expected to begin using social networking sites to advance the transparency of the judicial decision-making process and establish a relatively open, form-free interaction with his or her ‘clients’. The hybrid character of social media does not allow judges to utilize this form of communication to open up the ‘backstage area’, revealing the actual complex dynamics of the decision-making process, and transparently connecting the judicial ‘onstage’ performance in the courtroom session with the judicial ‘onstage’ performance when issuing a decision. On the one hand, social networking sites are direct, interactive, informal, and personalized communications media; but on the other, they are publicly available, open and basically perpetual record sites. Their direct, interactive, informal and personalized character is highly compatible with the multimodal, form-free self-representation of the modern judge in the courtroom. However, the media’s public character makes them also part of the public performance of a judge issuing a decisions. This performance is characterized by a unimodal, formal self-representation. Legal sociologists as well as discourse scholars stress how heavily this continual process of public judicial self-representation is part of a persistent ritual that conflicts with direct, interactive, informal and personalized communication.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)18-26
Number of pages9
JournalInternational Journal for Court Administration
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2015


  • Judiciary
  • communication
  • legal sociology
  • civil law judge
  • social media
  • self-representation


Dive into the research topics of 'The judge on Facebook; neglecting a persistent ritual?'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this