Legal Culture on Justice and Truth: The Tribunals of Inquiry about Bloody Sunday


  • Josefa Dolores Ruiz Resa Universidad de Granada, Spain



Legal Culture, Bloody Sunday, Tribunal of Inquiry, Justice, Truth, Legalism, Colonialism, Legitimacy


Almost 50 years ago, in the events that happened during the so-called Bloody Sunday (Derry 1972, 30th January), 13 Catholic civilians were killed because of the actions of the British army during a civil rights march against internment without trial in Northern Ireland. Other 13 civilians were injured. While the circumstances were unclear, these civilians were considered to be terrorists, which seemed to justify the gunfire. The findings on Bloody Sunday from two Tribunals of Inquiry (1972 and 1998-2010), and the reactions that their resulting reports raised are an excellent example of cultural impregnation in law. In this regard, it is possible to find a general notion of justice as truth. Guaranteeing such notion (or, at least, the willingness to ensure it) seemed to facilitate the peace process in Northern Ireland. Under the light of these events, the following pages aim to analyse how that legal culture of justice as truth is displayed in the two Bloody Sunday Tribunals of Inquiry as well as its contribution to the contestation of the British legal system or its legitimacy. This paper starts by reviewing previous studies about the conceptual framework of the analysis — it examines the concept of “legal culture” and the understanding of justice as truth, as well as the definition of Tribunal of Inquiry. Next, it argues cultural perceptions regarding Bloody Sunday Inquiries. The conclusions exposed reveal that the legal culture of justice as truth is also embodied in legalism and colonialism.


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How to Cite

Ruiz Resa, J. D. . (2020). Legal Culture on Justice and Truth: The Tribunals of Inquiry about Bloody Sunday. The Age of Human Rights Journal, (15), 73–104.