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Institutions for Conflict Resolution holds Stakeholders’ event

On Thursday 30 November 2023, the research group Institutions for Conflict Resolution held an event for stakeholders in Utrecht focusing on ‘The government as (ineffective) conflict resolver: legitimacy under pressure?’ The aim of this annual event, each time addressing a new topic within the overarching theme of ‘institutions for conflict resolution’, is to foster dialogue between academia and practice.

Chairman of the Council for the Judiciary, Henk Naves, spoke about the responsibility of state authorities to protect the rule of law and pointed to the risks of a trend where sensitive issues in society increasingly end up in court. Joost Sneller, member of the Dutch Lower House for the D66 party, contested the accusation of judicial activism that is regularly heard from politicians and society. He argued that when politicians fail to comply with laws and treaties, they force the courts to intervene. Jelle Klaas, Director and human rights lawyer at PILP, spoke on strategic litigation and the importance of access to justice, even when it might lead to the accusation of politicisation of cases coming before the courts. In addition, a number of researchers affiliated to COI– Eva Grosfeld, Marlou Overheul (also on behalf of Amarins Jansma), Wendy Yan and Laura Davies – gave details of their various research projects, which are all at the heart of issues that were the focus of the stakeholders’ event.

It was a productive discussion, with scope for both critical reflection and the consideration of possible directions for solutions – for example in terms of a more accessible judiciary, better cooperation between state authorities, government communication in plain language, and investing in implementing organisations. All in all, sufficient input to maintain the dialogue between research and practice on these important topics.

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