Soh and Goh, ‘How and Why Do Judges Cite Academics? Evidence from the Singapore High Court’

ABSTRACT
Legal academics were once thought to be parasitic on the work of judges, so much so that citing academic work was said to weaken a judgment’s authority. Recent times have however seen prominent academics appointed to the highest courts, and judicial engagement with academic materials appears to have increased. In this light, this article empirically studies academic citation practices in the Singapore High Court. Using a dataset of 2,772 High Court judgments, we show that citation counts have indeed increased over time, even in this first-instance court. This increase was distributed across most legal areas, and was not limited to, though more pronounced in, judgments authored by judges with post-graduate law degrees. Books, not journal articles, have consistently accounted for the bulk of the court’s citations. The study sheds new statistical light on the evolving relationship between judges and academics, particularly in the context of an Asian court.

Soh, Jerrold and Goh, Yihan, How and Why Do Judges Cite Academics? Evidence from the Singapore High Court (Aug 1, 2021), forthcoming, Asian Journal of Comparative Law.

First posted 2021-11-08 13:00:57

Leave a Reply