Research Group Access to Justice
How do you make ‘the law’ accessible to everyone? The Research group Access to Justice studies the bottlenecks in legal assistance and legal services. In doing so, we mainly look at new forms of low-level access, such as digital complaints procedures. We also study the legal skills of local professionals, the quality of alternative forms of conflict resolution and legal self-reliance.
Lines of research within the research group
To make people legally self-reliant, there must exist a basis of legal certainty and equality. People need to have the confidence that their rights are respected and that everyone is treated equally before the law.
This line of research focuses on the factors that contribute to legal self-reliance. What are the consequences at the local level of the globalisation of legal access? We study, among other things, the innovation of procedures and quality in (primary) legal aid and (alternative) conflict resolution.
Social neighbourhood teams and social forensic professionals work at the intersection of assistance and law. Now that many responsibilities have been transferred to municipalities, it is even more important that they have sufficient knowledge of the law.
In this line of research, for example, we investigate the legal skills of local professionals within the special role that they have as ‘gatekeepers of justice’.
Digital skills are important for the ability to access digital government services. If these skills are underdeveloped among certain groups of citizens, this can hamper their access to justice.
The focus of this research group is on the use of digital platforms that are not equally accessible to all groups of citizens. What creates the so-called 'digital divide'? And what consequences does this have for attaining and maintaining (human) rights?
Mediation in criminal cases
Mediators in criminal cases guide the complex dynamics between suspect and victim. It is important that the suspect takes responsibility for the committed crime and its consequences. This makes rehabilitation possible for both parties.
Guidelines for determining the level of supervision
In cooperation with the Dutch probation service, we develop guidelines for determining the activities and methods used during probation supervision, including the level of supervision.
Legal protection in mental coercive care in the home situation: the first-line professionals attitude
The increase of compulsory prevention measures requires that, in addition to good care provision, the legal competences of frontline professionals are safeguarded in good care.
- Justice and risk assessment The subjectivity of pre-emptive screening of radicalisation processes
- Legal aid and clients with multiple problem A first screening at the Dutch Legal Services Counter, International Journal of the Legal Profession
- Focus on client needs - A study on frontline legal aid in the Netherlands Focus op client behoeften -- Een studie over eerstelijns rechtshulp in Nederland
Our research results are incorporated into practical education and training modules. In this way, we strive to improve the quality of services of social and legal professionals. This also serves to increase the accessibility of the legal system for all citizens.
The research group is involved in the honours modules Access to Law and Human Rights and sustainable development. Students from the honours module Access to Law made a collection of essays (in Dutch) in which they investigated access to law and how it relates to social developments.
“We see a lot of waste of social money for people who experience problems in several areas of life. We bring together knowledge and experience in collaboration with the Access to Law research group in order to learn together and contribute to improving the (social) legal chain.”Anke Verkade-Bosma Director of the Social Basis Dordrecht and surroundings
We work together with: Juridisch Loket, Vereniging van Mediators in Strafzaken, U Centraal, Stichting Rijnstad, Sociale Dienst Drechtsteden, Vivenz Maatschappelijke Dienstverlening, Privacy First en The Netherlands Institute for Human Rights.