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New lab member appointed for Empirical Legal Studies

On 1 April 2023, Rowie Stolk of the Department of Constitutional and Administrative Law started a new appointment for 0.7 FTE at Empirical Legal Studies Leiden (ELS@Leiden). ELS provides a platform that brings together legal scholars and social scientists to collaboratively explore legally relevant questions related to market regulation. Quantitative and qualitative methods are used to conduct research into law in action and the underlying assumptions of legal rules.

Following on from the research for her PhD thesis on the legitimacy and effectiveness of interest groups litigating against the government, in her new position Rowie will engage in interdisciplinary and empirical research on the protection of vulnerable interests within administrative (procedural) law. These may include interests that are voiceless (such as the environment), but also groups that are underrepresented and/or unpopular within the political decision-making process and/or lack resources, knowledge or experience, or otherwise encounter barriers to seeking legal protection.

Rowie Stolk

By bringing together theory, knowledge, and insights from legal and social science disciplines and complementing them with empirical insights, Rowie aims to investigate how the protection of vulnerable interests is reflected in the administrative decision-making process and in the administrative courts, and where there is room for improvement.

Also in her teaching, Rowie considers it important to complement legal knowledge with empirical and interdisciplinary insights. So she offers students who would like it the opportunity to include empirical and/or interdisciplinary components in their thesis research. Starting next academic year, Rowie will offer a tutorial track on 'vulnerable interests in administrative law' as part of the Priv-Prac course Bestuursrechtelijke Vraagstukken (administrative law issues) lasting ten weeks. Students will become acquainted with non-legal sources through various types of (practical) assignments. These assignments will help students to critically reflect on the structure of administrative (procedural) law.

Empirical Legal Studies is one of the legal science themes of the Leiden Law School as part of the Law Sector Plan, the other being Institutions for Conflict Resolution. Besides conducting research with an interdisciplinary and empirical component, Rowie will take on the role of Coordinator within the Leiden ELS team. As Coordinator, she is committed to the faculty objectives in empirical legal research and education as well as to the Netherlands Academy for Empirical Legal Studies. The national ELS Academy is an initiative of several Dutch universities and focuses on bringing together, teaching and supporting researchers interested in using empirical methods in legally relevant research.

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