Public Perceptions of the Legitimacy of the Law and Legal Authorities: Evidence from the Caribbean

Devon Johnson, Edward R. Maguire, Joseph B. Kuhns

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

125 Scopus citations


Research on procedural justice and legitimacy has expanded greatly across the social sciences in recent years. The process-based model of regulation, which links people's assessments of procedural justice and legitimacy to their compliance with the law and legal authorities, has become particularly influential in criminology and sociolegal studies. A review of the previous research on perceived legitimacy highlights two important features. First, legitimacy has been conceptualized and measured in many different ways. Second, most of the research on legitimacy has focused on only a handful of developed nations. Using survey data from Trinidad and Tobago, this article examines the conceptualization and measurement of the perceived legitimacy of the law and legal authorities. The findings indicate that some of the prominent conceptual and measurement models used in previous research are not empirically valid in the Trinidadian context. The implications of the results for conceptualization, theory, and future research are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)947-978
Number of pages32
JournalLaw and Society Review
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 1 2014
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Law


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