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Conference on 8 and 9 July 2022: Courts as an Arena for Societal Change

Around 200 scholars from around the world are expected in Leiden to discuss the contribution of courts to societal change. Leiden Law School is hosting the conference.

Citizens, companies and civil society organisations rely on the courts to solve social issues, where governments are failing due to political divisions, incompetence, corruption or other reasons.

Take, for instance, the recent clash between the Dutch Government and farmers about the government plans to curb nitrogen oxide and ammonia emissions. Will the courts be able to bridge the social divide? Conference chairman Alex Geert Castermans, Professor of Civil Law, says: 'It’s not just a question of seeking justice in the courtroom, but also of creating support and accepting authority.’

His colleague Miranda Boone, Professor of Criminology, adds: 'It’s important to gather information about what citizens and civic organisations expect from the judiciary and whether or not these expectations can be fulfilled in the courtroom. If that is possible, the question arises what that implies in relation to the role and significance of the judiciary.’

More than 120 scholars will give presentations about their research in this area. The conference will close with an interview with four judges (from Kenya, the Netherlands and Portugal) to discuss the conference findings.

The conference programme is available here.

For a sneak preview of some of the presentations, check out the Leiden Law Blog under Courts as an Arena for Societal Change

This conference is organised within the framework of multidisciplinary research project Institutions for Conflict Resolution. This project is one of the key focus areas of the Dutch Sector Plan for Law and is a joint collaboration between Leiden University, Utrecht University and Radboud University Nijmegen.

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