Erin O'Connor

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Law and Contemporary Problems

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In the past few years a number of scholars in a variety of intellectual disciplines have contributed to a better understanding of dyadic conflicts and their resolution. In particular, sociologists, psychologists, anthropologists, lawyers, and others have explored the dynamics of apology and its role in deescalating disputes and promoting forgiveness and reconciliation. Furthermore, we have a better understanding today of the benefits to individuals from forgiveness and reconciliation. Victims who are able to forgive their transgressors have better psychological and physical health and lead richer lives. Because lawyers tend to focus their attentions on legal disputes, a growing body of legal scholarship attempts to apply these insights to help promote apology, forgiveness, and reconciliation in courts and alternative dispute-resolution fora. This scholarship has in turn provoked a debate among legal scholars regarding the proper use of apology and apology-promoting tools in the context of legal disputes.

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