Susan Daicoff, ‘Apology, Forgiveness, Reconciliation, and Therapeutic Jurisprudence’

In 2010, public apologies underscored the power of contrition. Professional golfer Tiger Woods apologized for his marital unfaithfulness by saying, “I want to say to each one of you simply and directly I am deeply sorry for my irresponsible and selfish behavior I engaged in”. The chairman of BP Oil Company apologized for referring to local individuals and businesses as “small people” and said, “I spoke clumsily this afternoon, and for that, I am very sorry”. Toyota Motor Corporation’s president apologized for the braking defects in the company’s cars by saying, “First, I want to sincerely apologize to Toyota owners. I know that our recalls have caused many of you concern and for that I am truly sorry.” One reporter in 2004 asserted that “[t]he power of the words, ‘I’m sorry’ – too little heard in daily life and all but forgotten in modem politics – may be stronger than we know”.

Daicoff, Susan, Apology, Forgiveness, Reconciliation, and Therapeutic Jurisprudence (2013). Pepperdine Dispute Resolution Law Journal, Vol 13, 2013; Arizona Summit Law School Research Paper.

First posted 2014-06-06 12:24:59

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