Law and Method

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Access_open Studying Unrepresented Defendants in the Lower Criminal Courts

Methodological Lessons Learned

Trefwoorden misdemeanor court, right to counsel, methodology, qualitative research
Auteurs Alisa Smith, Natalie Mousa en Sarah K. Stice

    This article focuses on the methodological lessons learned while conducting a legal research study of the lower criminal courts by gathering observational and interview data to understand why many defendants charged with misdemeanor or summary offenses proceed without counsel. The present study describes the socio-legal methodology employed and draws from project memorandums and research assistants’ field notes gathered during court observations and written reflections following defendant interviews. The present article addresses the methodological obstacles and lessons learned from gathering complex data on rights waivers and focuses on how we might improve the legal study of the lower criminal courts and answer critical constitutional and procedural questions by improving our legal methods.

Alisa Smith
Dr. Alisa Smith, Professor at the University of Central Florida, USA.

Natalie Mousa
Natalie Mousa, BA, Law Student, University of Colorado, College of Law, USA.

Sarah K. Stice
Sarah K Stice, MA, University of Georgia, USA.

Access_open Aims and Methods of Legal History – The Case of the Roman Dictatorship

Special Issue Progress in Legal Scholarship, Marnix Snel, Sanne Taekema & Gijs van Dijck (eds.)

Trefwoorden Roman dictatorship, crisis government, emergency powers, legal historical research
Auteurs Lukas van den Berge

    Doctrinal approaches to Roman law are currently often supplemented by contextual legal-historical scholarship that aims to expose Roman law’s connections with its socio-political, religious and broader intellectual environment. This article draws attention to the relevance of such contextual research for modern legal problems. An analysis of the Roman dictatorship and its reception history in legal and constitutional scholarship serves as a case in point. Contrary to common belief, the far-reaching powers of the Roman dictator – acting to save the Roman Republic in times of great peril – were controlled by informal rather than formal legal restraints. A corrected understanding of the Roman dictatorship is arguably not only important for an appropriate assessment of the Roman constitution itself but also for current debates on the limits of legality in times of emergency.

Lukas van den Berge
Mr. dr. Lukas van den Berge is assistant professor of legal theory at Utrecht University. Thanks go out to my two anonymous reviewers for their valuable remarks and to Dennis Wegink for excellent proofreading.

Access_open Systematisch literatuuronderzoek

De toegevoegde waarde van een scoping review voor juridisch literatuuronderzoek

Trefwoorden Scoping review, systematisch literatuuronderzoek, rechtsgeleerdheid
Auteurs Loran Kostense

    In some scientific fields, such as the medical and social sciences, systematic literature reviews are frequently conducted. A systematic search for literature minimizes the risk of overlooking information or drawing conclusions based on an incomplete overview. This article focuses on a type of systematic literature reviews, the scoping review method, that may be of interest to legal scholars. This method can be used to answer an exploratory research question aimed at identifying important concepts or knowledge gaps by systematically searching, selecting and synthesizing literature. In seven steps, following the PRISMA guideline, the scoping review method is outlined. Concrete examples are outlined using a case example: a scoping review on divorce­-related relocations in the context of doctoral research at the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam.

Loran Kostense
Mr. Loran Kostense is PhD-student at the Faculty of Law at the Vrije Universiteit (VU) Amsterdam, The Netherlands.