As was proved yet again last week in the Second Chamber, there is great interest in the budget cuts made to the legal aid system. And rightly so, because this ultimately concerns the quality of the rule of law. In the past few years the government has taken various measures which affect the access to justice. This has led to public debates on several fronts. The First Chamber organised an expert meeting on the 4th of February 2014 with authoritative legal experts and subsequently organised a debate on the 11th of March 2014 about the current state of the rule of law. What became extremely apparent from the expert meeting and the debate is that a widespread feeling exists that the quality of the rule of law in the Netherlands is currently under pressure. The concerns on the access to justice are illustrated by the various motions that were carried by the First Chamber. In January of this year it became clear that state secretary Teeven wanted to continue the cuts in the legal aid budget despite the critique from the First Chamber. In February 2015 the government decided that the former mayor of Utrecht, Wolfsen, should be chairman of the committee that is currently researching the rise in costs of the subsidized legal aid. Continue reading
About Hilke Grootelaar
Hilke Grootelaar obtained her Bachelor's degree in Public Administration and Organisational Science (2011) and her Bachelor's degree in Law (2012) at Utrecht University. In 2014 she obtained her Master's degree in Legal Research cum laude. Within this two-years Research Master she did among other things empirical research on judicial behaviour in post-defence hearings and result-oriented behaviour of public prosecutors. Hilke did an internship at the Research and Strategy department of the Dutch Council for the Judiciary. Next to her studies, she worked as a student assistant for the Montaigne Centre for Judicial Administration and Conflict Resolution and worked as court clerk at the Administrative Law department of the district court of the Mid-Netherlands. In 2014, Hilke was nominated together with two fellow students for the Katadreuffe price for students full of character of studying at Utrecht University's School of Law. Since November 2014, Hilke has been working as a PhD Candidate at the Montaigne Centre for Judicial Administration and Conflict Resolution. Hilke studies the combined effects of both procedural concerns and outcome concerns on trust in judges and the Dutch judiciary.