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First International ELS Conference

On 1 and 2 September, colleagues of Leiden Law School participated in the very first International ELS Conference, organised by the ELS Academy in Amsterdam.

The 2022 Empirical Legal Studies Conference was hosted by the Faculty of Law of the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam. Around 160 ELS enthusiasts from all over the world made it an inspiring and wonderful conference with an open atmosphere.

Founding of the European Society for Empirical Legal Studies

Preceding the official opening of the conference, the European Society for Empirical Legal Studies (ESELS) was founded. The goal of this new society is to further exchange among legal scholars involved in empirical legal research that is relevant to Europe and European jurisdictions. ESELS also aims to publish its own European Journal of Empirical Legal Studies.

The aim of this conference was to create a unique place for empirical legal scholars where they could engage, discuss and present their research results in the field of empirical legal research with other international empirical legal scholars.

Conference programme

The conference was officially kicked off by Catrien Bijleveld. In the plenary session of the first day, Dineke de Groot, President of the Dutch Supreme Court, and Dame Hazel Genn, Professor of Socio-Legal Studies at University College London, gave keynote speeches about the importance of empirical legal research in building trust in the judiciary and dealing with global challenges. On day 2, plenary lectures were given by Fernando Miró-Llinares, Professor of Criminal Law at the Miguel Hernández University of Elche and by Urška Šadl, Professor of University Institute Florence. Miró-Llinares provided useful insights into the state of the art of ELS in Spain, while Šadl described her journey to study context-conscious courts.

Throughout the conference, several rounds of parallel panel sessions were held in which scholars could not only present and discuss research results in the field of empirical legal studies, but also reflect on challenges and opportunities related to this type of research. Even bachelor and master students participated in the conference; they presented results of their empirical legal research projects in a poster corner. Impressive work!

Of course there was plenty of opportunity to informally chat during the lunches, the lovely conference dinner, and the closing drinks. Helen Pluut, as director of the ELS Academy, thanked all attendees and presenters, the keynote speakers, the student volunteers, and last but not least, the local organising committee from VU Amsterdam. We look forward to the next one!

Leiden Law presentation

The conference was a unique opportunity for empirical legal scholars to discuss their projects with other international empirical legal scholars and receive feedback on the empirical side of the research. Several Leiden colleagues presented their empirical work. For instance, Sarah Vandenbroucke, Alette Jansen, Merel Cornax, Jessie Pool, and Helen Pluut organised a pre-arranged panel together on corporate social responsibility. In another pre-arranged panel, European Consumer Protection 2.0, colleagues talked about new developments in consumer perceptions of online price discrimination (Kimia Heidary), product safety law in e-commerce (Gitta Veldt) and the need to reconstruct existing consumer concepts in regulation (Vanessa Mak).

Other presentations included Niek Strohmaier and Sofia de Jong on character evidence in legal proceedings, Eva Grosfeld  on the moral foundations of EU law and the perceived legitimacy of the EU, Cale Davis on understanding the use of discretion in law, Cecily Rose on quantitative insights from research funding bodies relevant for the field of international law, Adriaan Bedner on the right to self-determination in matters of legal identity, and Federica Casano on the EU tax haven blacklist. You can find the booklet with all the presenters and the abstracts here.

The Netherlands Academy for Empirical Legal Studies serves as a platform for (aspiring) empirical legal scholars from all universities in the Netherlands. Would you like to know more about or participate in activities of the ELS Academy? Reach out to contact@elsacademy.nl and see our website: https://elsacademy.nl!  

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