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Tijdschrift Recht der Werkelijkheid x Jaar 2015 x
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

Moving access to justice ‘upstream’ from the courts

Tijdschrift Recht der Werkelijkheid, Aflevering 3 2015
Trefwoorden access to justice, legal problems, justice system, legal needs
Auteurs Ab Currie
SamenvattingAuteursinformatie

    A very large number of people experience everyday legal problems considered by them to be serious and difficult to resolve, the vast majority say it is important to resolve these problems, and virtually everybody experiencing legal problems takes some action to resolve them. However, the fact that very few people make use of the formal justice system suggests that the justice system is not meeting the legal needs of the public. One response would be to expand the traditional formal justice system to include an early-resolution services sector. An ERSS would encompass the early intervention and supported self-help objectives of many existing access to justice initiatives, but would go farther by conceiving what we mean by the justice system more broadly in a way that would accommodate what the everyday legal problems approach tells us about how the public experiences legal problems.


Ab Currie
Ab Currie, Ph.D. (Sociology, University of Toronto), is Senior Research Fellow at the Canadian Forum on Civil Justice, where he is currently involved in a range of research on access to civil justice mainly. Prior to joining the Forum, Ab was for over 30 years Principal Researcher in areas of legal aid and access to justice at the Federal Department of Justice in Canada. He has conducted extensive research in criminal and civil legal aid, in particular on unmet need for criminal legal aid and on the civil justice problems experienced by the public. Contact by email at abcurrie@sympatico.ca or acurrie@cfcj-fcjc.org.
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

Tenant vs. owner: deriving access to justice from the right to housing

Tijdschrift Recht der Werkelijkheid, Aflevering 3 2015
Trefwoorden tenants’ rights, adequate housing, discrimination, effectiveness of law
Auteurs Nico Moons
SamenvattingAuteursinformatie

    The right to adequate housing has since long been established in international and European human rights law and has been (constitutionally) incorporated into many domestic legal systems. This contribution focuses on the extent to which this fundamental right influences rental law and the horizontal relationship between tenant and landlord and how it contributes to the tenant’s access to justice. The right to housing certainly accounts for tenant’s rights, but since international and European human rights law evidently centres around state obligations, any possible impact on the position of tenants remains indirect. This is of course different on the national plane. In Belgium, the constitutional right to housing has been implemented through regional Housing Codes, complementing private law measures and creating additional protection to tenants. Nonetheless, many challenges still remain in increasing access to justice for tenants, both top-down and bottom-up: lack of knowledge and complexity of law, imbalance in power and dependency, discrimination, etc.


Nico Moons
Nico Moons is a PhD student at the Faculty of Law of the University of Antwerp (research group Government & Law). His research topic involves the effectiveness of the right to adequate housing. Previously, he has worked at the Council for Alien Law Litigation.
Artikel

The preliminary reference procedure: challenge or opportunity?

Tijdschrift Recht der Werkelijkheid, Aflevering 3 2015
Trefwoorden preliminary reference procedure, empowerment, EU law, Court of Justice EU
Auteurs Jos Hoevenaars
SamenvattingAuteursinformatie

    This contribution approaches the theme of access to justice from an EU law perspective and deals with the question: to what extent can the preliminary reference procedure serve as an empowering tool for individuals and civil society? The first part of the contribution deals with the structure of the EU legal system and the theoretically empowering function of preliminary references. Based on interviews with litigants and their counsellors, the second part deals with this notion from a sociological and empirical perspective. The analysis reveals the practical obstacles to realizing ones rights by preliminary references, and thus nuances the empowerment thesis found both among legal- and political sciences theories as well as in the legitimating rhetoric by propagators of the EU legal system.


Jos Hoevenaars
Jos Hoevenaars holds a Master’s degree in Sociology from the Erasmus University in Rotterdam and is currently a Ph.D. candidate at the Institute for Sociology of Law/Centre for Migration Law of the Radboud University of Nijmegen. In his research, he studies individual litigation in the European legal system, with a specific focus on the preliminary reference procedure.
Artikel

Wetgeving, empirisch-juridisch onderzoek en Legal Big Data

Tijdschrift Recht der Werkelijkheid, Aflevering 2 2015
Trefwoorden legislation, big data, empirical legal research, nudging
Auteurs Frans L. Leeuw
SamenvattingAuteursinformatie

    A second empirical revolution in law is in full swing: legal big data have made their entrance and will play an increasingly important role in the legal field. Legal big data, for example, increase the accessibility and transparency of files. They make it easier for legislators to find out how society views proposed legislation. Using big data, all jurisprudence can be processed very easily and judicial decisions can be predicted with a high degree of certainty. The contribution concludes with a number of legal and ethical issues and methodological challenges in relation to legal big data, such as ownership, privacy and representativeness.


Frans L. Leeuw
Frans L. Leeuw is directeur van het Wetenschappelijk Onderzoek- en Documentatiecentrum (WODC) bij het ministerie van Veiligheid en Justitie. Tevens is hij hoogleraar Recht, openbaar bestuur en sociaalwetenschappelijk onderzoek aan de universiteit van Maastricht. Eerder was hij onder meer directeur Doelmatigheidsonderzoek bij de Algemene Rekenkamer. Hij publiceerde vele artikelen en boeken, vooral op het terrein van evaluatie.
Diversen

Sociology of law in search of a distinct identity

Tijdschrift Recht der Werkelijkheid, Aflevering 1 2015
Trefwoorden sociology of law, legal sociology, socio-legal studies, interdisciplinary study of law, law & society
Auteurs Koen Van Aeken
SamenvattingAuteursinformatie

    Rechtssociologie en recht-en-samenlevingstudies hebben behoefte aan de ontwikkeling van een eigen identiteit, die hen onder meer onderscheidt van het groeiende juridisch onderzoek waarbij empirische methoden gehanteerd worden. Deze identiteit kent vijf verbindende elementen: excellente (primaire of secundaire) empirische methodologie, kritisch, nuttig, blijvend geïnformeerd door theorie uit een inclusieve sociologie, en afwijzend tegenover reductionistische benaderingen van de werkelijkheid. Als een van deze eigenschappen ontbreekt, is er geen sprake van volwaardige rechtssociologie. Als alle eigenschappen aanwezig zijn, is de rechtssociologie bijzonder goed uitgerust om de actuele veranderingen in recht en samenleving te bestuderen. In die context kan de ontwikkeling en verspreiding van een eigen identiteit, die de vijf eigenschappen incorporeert, kansen bieden om de rechtssociologie een meer centrale positie toe te kennen in de rechtenfaculteiten.


Koen Van Aeken
Koen Van Aeken studeerde politieke en sociale wetenschappen en methodologie en promoveerde op een rechtssociologisch proefschrift over wetsevaluatie aan de Universiteit Antwerpen. Sinds 2006 is hij verbonden aan Tilburg Law School. Zijn onderwijs en onderzoek situeren zich op het terrein van de interdisciplinaire benadering van het recht, met bijzondere aandacht voor reguleringsvraagstukken.

    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.
Diversen

Cracks in the mirror

Does European law and society research still reflect European society?

Tijdschrift Recht der Werkelijkheid, Aflevering 1 2015
Trefwoorden Europe, socio-legal studies, legal culture, methodology
Auteurs Marc Hertogh
SamenvattingAuteursinformatie

    What’s the significance of sociology of law in Europe? Before we can answer this question, it’s even more important to consider the reverse question: what’s the significance of Europe in sociology of law? European sociology of law has been very productive, but it has also become increasingly out of touch. Unlike the early years of the discipline, contemporary European law and society research is no longer a mirror of European society. There are three main reasons for this development. First, there’s a strong pull of the policy audience. Second, some of the most important studies in European sociology of law borrow their theories and concepts from previous work in the United States. And finally, most researchers are concerned with studying law and society in their own country, but only very few studies look at law and society from a transnational perspective. To fix these cracks in the mirror, we need more ‘Europe’ in European sociology of law. Similar to the work of the founding fathers of the discipline, sociology of law should once again become a reflection of society. Not for reasons of nostalgia, but because this will secure the future of European law and society research.


Marc Hertogh
Marc Hertogh is Professor of Socio-Legal Studies at the University of Groningen, the Netherlands. He is Editor-in-Chief of the International Journal of Law in Context (Cambridge University Press) and he is a member the Advisory Board of Recht der Werkelijkheid. His research focuses on public opinion about law, with a special interest in legal consciousness, legal pluralism, and administrative justice. His publications include: Recht van onderop [Law from below] (with Heleen Weyers) (Ars Aequi, 2011), Living Law: Reconsidering Eugen Ehrlich (Hart Publishing, 2008), Judicial Review and Bureaucratic Impact (with Simon Halliday) (CUP, 2004).
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