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VVI Research Meetings 2023-2024

“I would never trust them 100%, but they did their job.” Experiences of parents from religious, ethnic, or cultural minorities with court cases on children in the Netherlands

Wednesday 29 November 2023
Kamerlingh Onnes Building
Steenschuur 25
2311 ES Leiden
Iris Sportel

In this paper I focus on the experiences of ethnic, religious, or cultural minority families with court cases on their children in the Netherlands. Court cases on children can be particularly intense and sometimes intrusive encounters with the state. While some parents actively turn to the courts for help, for example aiming to settle a conflict with another family member or to claim rights; others are confronted with unasked-for or even unwanted interventions in their family by state institutions. The paper will use socio-legal theories on legal consciousness to analyse how people ‘experience, understand, and act in relation to law’ (Chua & Engel 2019). I will discuss the experiences of parents and other family members with state institutions and analyse how the experiences they had in their court cases inform their (lack of) trust in the state. 

About Iris Sportel:
Iris Sportel is assistant professor at the Institute for Sociology of Law and the Centre for Migration Law of Radboud University Nijmegen. She studied Cultural Anthropology and Arabic Language and culture and holds a PhD from Radboud University Nijmegen (2014). Her dissertation was an interdisciplinary study of divorce in transnational Dutch-Moroccan and Dutch-Egyptian families in Morocco, Egypt and the Netherlands.
Her research concentrates on how individual actors –families, legal professionals, and parties in court procedures- deal with and experience law and legal institutions. Most of her research focusses on the state regulation of intimate relationships, with a particular interest for migration, gender, and minorities. In 2017 she obtained an NWO Veni grant for a research project on the role of religion, culture, and ethnicity in court procedures on children from minority families (2017-2021).

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