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Artikel

Upperdogs Versus Underdogs

Judicial Review of Administrative Drug-Related Closures in the Netherlands

Tijdschrift Recht der Werkelijkheid, Aflevering 1 2020
Trefwoorden Eviction, War on drugs, Party capability, Empirical legal research, Drug policy
Auteurs Mr. Michelle Bruijn en Dr. Michel Vols
SamenvattingAuteursinformatie

    In the Netherlands, mayors are entitled to close public and non-public premises if drug-related activities are being conducted there. Using data from the case law of Dutch lower courts, published between 2008 and 2016, this article examines the relative success of different types of litigants, and the influence of case characteristics on drug-related closure cases. We build on Galanter’s framework of ‘repeat players’ and ‘one-shotters’, to argue that a mayor is the stronger party and is therefore more likely to win in court. We categorise mayors as ‘upperdogs’, and the opposing litigants as ‘underdogs’. Moreover, we distinguish stronger mayors from weaker ones, based on the population size of their municipality. Similarly, we distinguish the stronger underdogs from the weaker ones. Businesses and organisations are classified as stronger parties, relative to individuals, who are classified as weaker parties. In line with our hypothesis, we find that mayors win in the vast majority of cases. However, contrary to our presumptions, we find that mayors have a significantly lower chance of winning a case if they litigate against weak underdogs. When controlling for particular case characteristics, such as the type of drugs and invoked defences, our findings offer evidence that case characteristics are consequential for the resolution of drug-related closure cases in the Netherlands.


Mr. Michelle Bruijn
Michelle Bruijn is promovendus en docent aan de Rijksuniversiteit Groningen. Haar onderzoek richt zich op de regulering van cannabis en de sluiting van drugspanden.

Dr. Michel Vols
Michel Vols is hoogleraar Openbare-Orderecht aan Rijksuniversiteit Groningen. Zijn onderzoek richt zich op Openbare orde en veiligheid, en het gebruik van data science (machine learning) bij het bestuderen van juridische data.
Artikel

Understanding judges’ choices of sentence types as interpretative work: An explorative study in a Dutch police court

Tijdschrift Recht der Werkelijkheid, Aflevering 1 2016
Trefwoorden Judicial decision-making, sentencing type, (ir)redeemability, whole case approach
Auteurs Peter Mascini, Irene van Oorschot PhD, Assistant professor Don Weenink e.a.
SamenvattingAuteursinformatie

    This article critically evaluates the prevailing factor-oriented (e.g. a priori defined legal and extralegal characteristics of defendants) approach in analyses of judicial decision-making. Rather than assuming such factors, we aim to demonstrate how Dutch judges engage in interpretative work to arrive at various sentence types. In their interpretative work, judges attempt to weigh and compare various legal and extralegal features of defendants. Importantly, they do so in the context of the case as a whole, which means that these features do not have independent or fixed meanings. Judges select and weigh information to create an image of defendants’ redeemability. However, extralegal concerns other than redeemability also inform judges’ decisions. We argue that studying the naturally occurring interpretative work of judges results in a better understanding of judicial decision-making than outcome-oriented studies, which view criminal cases as collections of independent legal and extralegal factors.


Peter Mascini
Peter Mascini holds a chair in Empirical Legal Studies at the Erasmus School of Law of the Erasmus University Rotterdam, where he is also associate professor of sociology at the Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences. His research focuses on the legitimization, implementation, and enforcement of laws and policies.

Irene van Oorschot PhD
Irene van Oorschot is a PhD candidate at the Faculty of the Social Sciences at the Erasmus University Rotterdam and will soon start as a postdoctoral researcher at the Anthropology Department of the University of Amsterdam. Drawing on actor network theory and feminist studies of knowledge, her research focuses on legal and scientific modes of truth-production.

Assistant professor Don Weenink
Don Weenink is assistant professor of Sociology at the Department of Sociology at the University of Amsterdam. He has published work on, among other subjects, ethnic inequalities in judicial sentencing.

Gratiëlla Schippers
Gratiëlla Schippers has studied Sociology at the Erasmus University Rotterdam. For her master thesis she has done research about the understanding of judges’ choices of sentence types.
Artikel

The legacy and current relevance of Cappelletti and the Florence project on access to justice

Tijdschrift Recht der Werkelijkheid, Aflevering 3 2015
Trefwoorden definition and dimensions access to justice, recommendations, historic context access to justice, current context access to justice
Auteurs Bernard Hubeau
SamenvattingAuteursinformatie

    This contribution explains what access to justice can encompass and how the ideals about access to justice have developed in time. The way to do this is going back to the work of the famous scholars Cappelletti and Garth, who were responsible for a worldwide project on access to justice in the 1970s. Their main issue was to explain access to justice is more than the access to a judge and the organization of courts. Primarily, the system must be equally accessible to all, irrespective of social or economic status or other incapacity. But it also must lead to results that are individually and socially just and fair. Equal access and effective access are the central notions. Their work is put in perspective. The importance of their legacy and the question how we can get along with their work are stressed. Their definition is compared to a few other authoritative definitions. The waves in the history of access to justice are described and putting them in the current context illustrates why a fourth waved can be observed. The major question to be answered is how one can assess the challenges and obstacles of access to justice in the current context. Therefore, some recent dimensions and developments within access to justice are presented: the democratic dimension, the effectiveness of new social rights, the attention for poor and vulnerable people, further juridification, expanding frontiers of and monitoring access to justice, e-justice, and self-help. Finally, a few building blocks for reforms are presented.


Bernard Hubeau
Bernard Hubeau is a full-time Professor in Sociology and Sociology of Law at the Faculty of Law of the University of Antwerp. He also teaches at the Faculty of Social Sciences of the University of Antwerp and the Faculty of Law and Criminology of the University of Brussels. He is the former ombudsman of the city of Antwerp and of the Flemish Parliament.
Artikel

Social security and social welfare: barriers and retrograde policies, but cause for optimism?

Tijdschrift Recht der Werkelijkheid, Aflevering 3 2015
Trefwoorden social security, legal representation, means-testing, Britain, fees
Auteurs Amir Paz-Fuchs
SamenvattingAuteursinformatie

    This contribution addresses the limits placed on access to justice in the context of social services, with a particular, but not exclusive, focus on the UK, across five central platforms: legal representation, the financial barriers, the structure of the programme, the attitude of the bureaucracy, and the personal attributes of the client. The contribution finds that there exist, for decades, problematic elements that constitute barriers to justice in this area: the means-tested element in the programmes and the bureaucracy’s double role as provider of services and detector of fraud. But to them, in recent years, significant barriers were added: recent cuts in legal aid and the imposition of tribunal fees in the UK are retrograde steps, reverting 40 years of impressive achievements in the field.


Amir Paz-Fuchs
Amir Paz-Fuchs (D. Phil Oxford) is a Senior Lecturer at the School of Law, University of Sussex, where he teaches employment law, public law, and legal theory. In addition, he is a Visiting Research Fellow at the Centre for Socio-Legal Studies and a Research Associate at Wolfson College, both at the University of Oxford. He is also Co-Director of the ‘The Limits of Privatization’ research project, based at the Van Leer Institute in Jerusalem. He also served on the board of several human rights and social justice NGOs.
Artikel

Merits testing in the English legal aid system: exploring its impact in asylum cases

Tijdschrift Recht der Werkelijkheid, Aflevering 3 2015
Trefwoorden access to justice, asylum seekers, merits testing, English legal aid system
Auteurs Tamara Butter
SamenvattingAuteursinformatie

    In recent years, there has been much discussion on the legal aid cuts and reforms in England and Wales, and the possible consequences this would have on access to justice for vulnerable groups in society, including immigrants and asylum seekers. This contribution focuses on one element of the English legal aid system: merits testing by legal aid providers in asylum cases. It explores whether and, if so, how this aspect may affect the access to justice for asylum seekers lacking the financial means to pay privately for legal assistance and representation. The findings indicate that a merits test which makes access to legal aid on appeal conditional upon a case having at least 50% prospect of success and makes legal aid providers responsible for conducting this assessment may compromise asylum seekers’ ability to achieve justice both within and outside the existing body of law.


Tamara Butter
Tamara Butter is a PhD candidate at the Institute for Sociology of Law/Centre for Migration Law of the Radboud University of Nijmegen. Her research consists of a comparative case study into the professional decision making of asylum legal aid lawyers in the Netherlands and England.
Artikel

Responsibilities of the state and legal professions

Tijdschrift Recht der Werkelijkheid, Aflevering 3 2015
Trefwoorden responsibilities, the state, lawyers, the judiciary and judges
Auteurs Mies Westerveld en Ashley Terlouw
SamenvattingAuteursinformatie

    This contribution, which is based on the Dutch legal system, deals with the responsibilities of the State and legal professions in ensuring access to justice. The responsibilities of the four main players involved in bringing justice to the citizen are discussed: the legislator, the executive, the judiciary, and the legal profession. Responsibilities for access to justice do not only stem from the law, they do also evolve from societal problems and discussions. The contribution deals with both. Several actors share some of the responsibilities. One can think of responsibilities for information, for financing, and for being aware of vulnerabilities and other obstacles. What are the legal responsibilities and what other responsibilities are felt by the actors involved and how do they deal with them? And as a result: do they contribute to access to justice, do they form an obstacle, or both?


Mies Westerveld
Mies Westerveld is Professor Legal aid by special appointment and Professor in Labour Law (social insurance) at the University of Amsterdam. Her research concentrates on current issues of access to justice and state-financed legal aid on the one hand and the decreasing role of social insurance on a fragmented labour market on the other hand.

Ashley Terlouw
Ashley Terlouw is Professor in Sociology of Law at the Radboud University of Nijmegen. She is responsible for the Centre for Migration Law of the Radboud University. Besides she is part-time Judge at the District Court of Gelderland. Her research concentrates on legal and societal issues of asylum and equal treatment and on the working of the judiciary.
Artikel

The food label as governance space: free-range eggs and the fallacy of consumer choice

Tijdschrift Recht der Werkelijkheid, Aflevering 3 2014
Trefwoorden food label, free-range eggs, animal welfare, regulatory governance
Auteurs Christine Parker
SamenvattingAuteursinformatie

    In a neoliberal age governments, NGOs, food producers and retailers all state that the food system can be governed via consumer choice aka voting with your fork. This makes the retail food label an important space for contests between different actors who each seek to govern the food system according to their own interests and priorities. The paper argues that this makes it crucial to ‘backwards map’ the regulatory governance networks behind the governance claims staked on food labels. The paper uses the example of the contested meaning of ‘free-range’ claims on animal products in Australia to propose and illustrate a methodology for this backwards mapping.


Christine Parker
Christine Parker is a Professor of Law at Monash University, Melbourne Australia. She conducts socio-legal research on business regulation enforcement and compliance and lawyer ethics. Her books include The Open Corporation (2002), Explaining Compliance (edited with Vibeke Nielsen, 2011), and Inside Lawyers Ethics (with Adrian Evans, 2014).
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