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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.

    In the course of it short existence, Socio-legal studies (SLS) in the Anglo-Saxon world has burgeoned into a rich and variegated field. Reviewing it is therefore a challenging task. I begin with some general reflections and an outline of recent developments. Although these indicate an extremely vibrant field, concerns have been expressed for the future. In my discussion of these, I argue that our analysis of SLS needs to be historicised since the emergence of SLS is connected to processes of social modernization and democratization. The erosion of these processes by neo-liberal discourses and policies is the background to a discussion of my own research into the impact of the cuts to civil legal aid in England and Wales. This leads me to conclude that the fundamental dissonance between neo-liberal rationality and social science may portend a difficult future, in particular for empirical work; however, I note too that other developments such as the ongoing juridification of society and new social media may make continued SL engagement irresistible.


Hilary Sommerlad
Hilary Sommerlad is professor of Law and Research Director of the Centre for Professional Legal Education and Research, University of Birmingham, and Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences. Dr. Sommerlad’s research interests are access to justice, the cultural practices of the professional workplace and diversity. She is Articles Editor of Legal Ethics, and serves on the editorial boards of the Journal of Law and Society and the International Journal of the Legal Profession.
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).
Artikel

Medical liability: do doctors care?

Tijdschrift Recht der Werkelijkheid, Aflevering 2 2012
Auteurs Ben C.J. van Velthoven en Peter W. van Wijck
SamenvattingAuteursinformatie

    Van Velthoven and Van Wijck review empirical studies on the effects of tort law in the medical sector. The data they present comes mainly from the US, because from the 1970’s US states have enacted a variety of reforms in their tort systems. This variation has provided very useful data to study preventive effects. The empirical evidence analysed shows that medical malpractice risk affects the behaviour of health care providers. It has a negative impact on the supply of services and it encourages extra diagnostic testing;yet if the additional tests and procedures have any value, it is only a marginal one. Furthermore it has been found that changes in the supply of services do not affect health adversely. This suggests that the physicians who are driven out of business have a below average quality of performance. The authors conclude that, at the margin, medical liability law may have some social benefits after all.


Ben C.J. van Velthoven
Ben van Velthoven is associate professor of law and economics at Leiden University. His research interests are: liability issues, civil litigation, and criminal law enforcement.

Peter W. van Wijck
Peter van Wijck is associate professor of law and economics at Leiden University and coordinator strategy development at the Dutch Ministry of Security and Justice. His research interests concern tort law, contract law, civil litigation, and crime.
Artikel

Transnational Divorce in Dutch-Moroccan Families

The Semi-Autonomous Social Field of Legal Aid

Tijdschrift Recht der Werkelijkheid, Aflevering 3 2011
Auteurs Iris Sportel
SamenvattingAuteursinformatie

    In transnational Dutch-Moroccan divorce cases, spouses can come into contact with two different legal systems. Many different kinds of organisations are involved, offering social and legal advice and aid in these transnational divorces: advising and referring clients, educating spouses and professionals, and influencing policy. In this article these organisations are analysed as participants in a transnational field of legal aid, using Moore’s concept of the semi-autonomous social field. It becomes clear that these organisations share norms on transnational divorce: they frame transnational divorce as a women’s problem, and one of complex, interacting rules and regulations. These norms form the source of rules on how to handle law in transnational Dutch-Moroccan divorce cases.


Iris Sportel
Iris Sportel is a PhD candidate at the Radboud University Nijmegen. She has a BSc in Cultural Anthropology and a BA and MA in Arabic Language and Culture. Since 2008 she has been working on her PhD project ‘Transnational Divorce: between Dutch, Egyptian and Moroccan Law’. She has also done research on a pilot project on tailor-made conflict resolution at the court of Den Bosch and on Islamic saint veneration in Egypt.

    This paper presents a reflection on the theoretical work on the social working of law of the past two decades. It is argued that early assumptions, that legal models were becoming increasingly globalised, creating an increasingly uniform body of law, have not come true. The global spread of neo-capitalism has not only given rise to de-juridification, it has also engendered juridification in which ever more sectors of social life, from small scale to global, are being colonised by law. This development is initiated from above and below in equal measure, and concerns not only the law of nation states, but also law created by other actors, including religious law of various provenance. The paper argues that great progress has been made in understanding how transnational law is generated and how law is transnationalised, but that the ways in which these processes work when actors actually use this transnationalised law in contexts of legal pluralism are not yet adequately understood. The paper presents a perspective on transnationalisation of law that is grounded in space, a perspective that may aid our understanding of the social working of law in transnational contexts. The first section provides a brief survey of some of the main academic approaches to processes of transnationalisation. The second section addresses the issue of location and considers what happens in settings where actors use transnationalising law. The conclusions discuss the value of transnational space and transnational legal space as concepts for the analysis of transnationalising law.


Keebet von Benda-Beckmann
Keebet von Benda-Beckmann is head of the Project Group Legal Pluralism at the Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology in Halle. She also holds honorary chairs in social anthropology and legal pluralism at the Universities of Leipzig and Halle. She has carried out research on dispute management, social security, natural resources in West Sumatra, the Moluccas, and in the Netherlands. She has been conducting field research on the effects of decentralisation and reforms of local government in West Sumatra since the fall of the Suharto regime. She has widely published on dispute management, resources, social security, and on theoretical issues of legal pluralism.
Artikel

Transnationalism, Legal Pluralism and Types of Conflicts

Contractual Norms Concerning Domestic Workers

Tijdschrift Recht der Werkelijkheid, Aflevering 3 2011
Auteurs Antoinette Vlieger
SamenvattingAuteursinformatie

    Transnationalism and migration are recognised contributors to legal pluralism. Scholars of legal pluralism state that in conflicts, social actors sustain their claims with arguments from coexisting legal systems. They manoeuvre between different legal systems, or contradicting norms within one system, to achieve the most satisfactory decision in a conflict. In doing so, they use norms as discursive tools. Indeed, according to data on domestic workers in Saudi Arabia and the Emirates, this manoeuvring with norms as discursive tools is often recognisable in conflicts between workers and their employers. However, transnational contractual norms and the legal pluralism they create are not merely discursive tools in existing conflicts; they are also regularly the cause of conflicts. Domestic workers conclude agreements with agents in their countries of origin, while employers conclude agreements with different agents in the destination countries. Both parties believe the other party has signed the same contract, while in reality that is not the case. Because of the differences between the two sets of contractual norms, these norms cause conflicts; they are not merely discursive tools. This finding calls for a division between different types of conflicts, which is proposed here for the purpose of socio-legal analysis of conflicts in general and particularly in situations of transnationalism and legal pluralism.


Antoinette Vlieger
Antoinette Vlieger is a researcher and lecturer at the Law School of the University of Amsterdam. For the last five years she has been researching conflicts between domestic workers and their employers in Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. Her PhD thesis on this topic is to be published in fall 2011. Thereafter she hopes to do research on the question of why there is little labour protection on the Arabian Peninsula, combining this with hands-on human rights work in the Middle East.

Joke Kusters
Joke Kusters (joke.kusters@ua.ac.be) studied law at the University of Antwerp and Social and Cultural Anthropology at the University of Leuven. From 2002-2008 she did doctoral research in the field of legal anthropology at the University of Antwerp and during 2009, she was visiting research scholar at the Cardozo School of Law. Her main research areas are the Jewish communities of Antwerp and the state legal approach of Romani culture.

Laurens Bakker
Laurens Bakker (l.bakker@jur.ru.nl) is a researcher and lecturer at the Institute of Cultural Anthropology and Development Studies and the Institute of Sociology of Law at Radboud University, Nijmegen, the Netherlands.
Artikel

Turning the State into a Household

From Judicial Law to Administrative Law

Tijdschrift Recht der Werkelijkheid, Aflevering 03 2008
Auteurs Liesbeth Huppes-Cluysenaer
Auteursinformatie

Liesbeth Huppes-Cluysenaer
Liesbeth Huppes-Cluysenaer teaches philosophical aspects of penal law and constitutional law at the department General Jurisprudence of the University of Amsterdam. PhD (1995) on the relevance of theory of science for jurists. Her research interests are history of epistemology of empirical and normative sciences. Recent publications downloadable: http://home.medewerker.uva.nl/e.a.huppes-cluysenaer/ .
Artikel

Tort, Social Aims and the Iron Cage

On the Relevance of Weber’s Concepts for the Analysis of Tort

Tijdschrift Recht der Werkelijkheid, Aflevering 03 2008
Auteurs Rob Schwitters
Auteursinformatie

Rob Schwitters
Rob Schwitters is Associate Professor Legal Theory at the University of Amsterdam. – 1991 PhD. His research interests include transformations of legal rationality (especially within tort law), risk-society, the symbolic qualities of law, medical decisions concerning the end life. Recent publications: Recht en samenleving in verandering (Kluwer, 2000 & 2008), Over maatmannen en het subjectieve, enkele overwegingen bij de doctrine van het privaatrecht (R&R 2008); Zorgvuldigheid op maat van derden. (Derden in het privaatrecht, Reinhartz c.s. (eds.), Boom 2008).
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