Courts as an Arena for Societal Change
- Start date:
- 8 July 2022
- 2 days
- Legal area:
About the conference
Leiden University is hosting the second Conference of the Research Group on Institutions for Conflict Resolution (Conflictoplossende Instituties). COI is a joint collaboration between Radboud University Nijmegen, Utrecht University, and Leiden University, funded by the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science under the Dutch Sector Plan for Law.
The theme of this year’s conference is Courts as an Arena for Societal Change. This conference presents an opportunity to bring together researchers and practitioners from around the world to discuss the evolving role of the judiciary in addressing difficult and contentious social and political issues. With public confidence in some institutions waning, citizens and civil society organizations are increasingly turning to the courts for answers. This has challenged traditional notions of the proper role of the judiciary and raised a number of important questions. For example, what moves citizens to take socially charged issues to the judiciary, and how do administrative, civil or criminal institutional procedures affect the possibilities for addressing such issues in court? What roles do governments, parliaments, courts and civil society play in these processes? What leads courts to render substantive decisions on these issues, or why do they refrain from doing so? What kind of problems arise if judges rule in such politically charged contexts? How can concerns about judicial independence and impartiality be balanced with changing public expectations around the role of the courts? And what consequences does the evolving role of the courts have for the judiciary’s self-perception and its legitimacy?
The conference will allow for an exploration of these questions within the context of specific areas that are of critical public importance, such as the environment, climate change, the COVID-19 pandemic, or the rule of law. It also aims to bring together diverse perspectives based on geographical or cultural differences, as well as interdisciplinary approaches from various academic disciplines, such as criminology, history, law, philosophy, political science, or sociology. Important developments relating to diverse judicial organizations, for example the international courts, constitutional courts, administrative, civil or criminal courts, will also be considered.The conference will take place in person at Leiden University, the Netherlands, in the English language (though there may be some sessions conducted in Dutch). For more information on the research theme, Institutions for Conflict Resolution, at Leiden Law School, please click here.
Program and speakers
For detailed information on the program and speakers, please view the “Program” tab above.
Conference blog series
In the lead-up to the conference, several blogs on the conference themes are being published here.
For inquiries regarding the conference or abstracts submission, please email: COIconference@law.leidenuniv.nl
Please keep an eye on this site for further updates regarding conference programming.
You can also follow us on LinkedIn and have a look at our blog series on leidenlawblog, which offers a sneak preview of the themes of the conference
Digital Learning Environment (DLE)
The Digital Learning Environment (DLE) is now available to all who registered to attend the conference. It contains updated versions of the program, conference abstracts, papers and practical information, including details on how to access wifi and a map of the KOG building.
The DLE can be accessed by anyone who has registered for the conference, by logging into the Leiden Law Conference account with the username and password that was used to register for the conference. The login button can be found in the top right corner of this page. Once you login, go to “My courses”, and click on “Go to learning environment”. Once you are in the DLE, you can change the language to view it in English or Dutch by selecting the appropriate dropdown in the banner at the top of your screen.
For the full schedule, please click here
Friday, 8 July 2022
09:30 – 10:00: Arrival and Registration
10:00 – 10:10: Welcome Address
10:10 – 10:55: Keynote Speaker: Lauren Kohn
11:05 – 12:35: Parallel Sessions 1
12:35 – 13:30: Lunch
13:30 – 15:00: Parallel Sessions 2
15:00 – 15:15: Coffee/Tea Break
15:15 – 16:15: Parallel Roundtable Sessions
16:25 – 17:10: Keynote Speaker: Tom Ginsburg
17:10 – 18:00: Reception Drinks
19:00 – 21:00: Buffet Dinner (optional)
Saturday, 9 July 2022
09:30 – 09:45: Arrival and Morning Tea
09:45 – 11:15: Parallel Sessions 3
11:25 – 12:10: Keynote Speaker: Scott Cummings
12:10 – 13:00: Lunch
13:00 – 14:30: Parallel Sessions 4
14:40 – 15:55: Plenary Session: Thoughts from the Bench
15:55 – 16:00: Closing Remarks
- Tom Ginsburg, Leo Spitz Professor of International Law, Ludwig and Hilde Wolf Research Scholar, Professor of Political Science at the Law School of the University of Chicago, US. Tom Ginsburg focuses on comparative and international law from an interdisciplinary perspective. He holds BA, JD, and PhD degrees from the University of California at Berkeley. His latest book is Democracies and International Law (2021). His earlier books include Judicial Review in New Democracies (2003), which won the C. Herman Pritchett Award from the American Political Science Association; The Endurance of National Constitutions (2009), which also won a best book prize from APSA; Judicial Reputation (2015); and How to Save a Constitutional Democracy (2018). He currently co-directs the Comparative Constitutions Project, an effort funded by the National Science Foundation to gather and analyze the constitutions of all independent nation-states since 1789. Before entering law teaching, he served as a legal adviser at the Iran-US Claims Tribunal, The Hague, Netherlands, and he continues to work with numerous international development agencies and foreign governments on legal and constitutional reform. He is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences
- Lauren Kohn has become a leading administrative and constitutional-law scholar in South Africa. Her work consistently breaks new ground and has been widely endorsed by the courts (including the Constitutional Court) and academics, locally and abroad. She attained her B.Bus.Sci (Distinction, Law); LLB (Magna Cum Laude); and LLM (Distinction)(UCT), all with a suite of class medals, special awards and scholarships, and is presently a PhD Candidate at Leiden, pursuing a project that is already feeding into the governance-enhancing endeavour in South Africa. To this end, she is the recipient of the prestigious Oppenheimer Trust Scholarship for this project (from 2022). The first in her family to enjoy the privilege of a tertiary education, Lauren has gone on to shatter one ceiling after another. Since joining academia in 2013, she has won three Law Faculty Research Prizes in under four years, with the anonymous judges each time commending her scholarship for its originality, insight, rigor and tangible impact on legal development, through judicial endorsements and policy reform.
Lauren is also an admitted Attorney of the High Court with over a decade of cutting-edge public-law advisory, and legislative drafting, contributions to her name (typically pro bono). She practiced at Webber Wentzel (affiliated with Linklaters) for several years before transitioning into academia, where she found her vocational passion. Lauren has lectured (and convened) for nearly 9 consecutive years, at preliminary-; final-year; and LLM-level (in four public-law courses) in the University of Cape Town's Public Law Department and is currently supervising over 10 post-graduate students. In 2016, Lauren was a Dean’s Nominee for a Distinguished Teacher’s Award given her consistently excellent contribution to teaching and learning, based on student feedback. During her time in formal practice, Lauren fast became a specialist in her niche fields and attained Distinctions for all of her Bar Exams and the highest overall result for ‘Court Practice’. She is a passionate educationalist and a dedicated social justice advocate who synergistically weaves her knowledge, and incisive understanding of the practical workings of the law into her research and teaching – the impact of which is felt in the lecture-hall and beyond with her scholarship prescribed in public-law curricula at universities across the country.
Scott Cummings is Robert Henigson Professor of Legal Ethics at the UCLA School of Law, where he teaches and writes about the legal profession, legal ethics, access to justice, local government law. He is the founding faculty director of the UCLA Program on Legal Ethics and the Profession, which promotes empirical research and innovative programming on the challenges facing lawyers in the twenty-first century, and a long-time member of the UCLA David J. Epstein Program in Public Interest Law and Policy. In 2021, Professor Cummings was selected as the Fulbright Distinguished Chair at the European University Institute and a fellow at the Stanford Center for the Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences to study the role of lawyers in strengthening the rule of law.
Professor Cummings’s recent research explores how innovative legal mobilization produces transformative social change. His publications include Lawyers and Movements: Legal Mobilization in Transformative Times (Oxford 2022), An Equal Place: Lawyers in the Struggle for Los Angeles (Oxford 2021), and Global Pro Bono: Causes, Consequences and Contestation (with Fabio de Sa e Silva and Louise Trubek) (Cambridge 2021). Professor Cummings is also co-author of Making Public Interest Lawyers in a Time of Crisis: An Evidence-Based Approach (with Catherine Albiston and Richard Abel), a National Science Foundation funded study that examines the factors causing law students to enter and persevere in public interest careers, and he is a co-author of the first public interest law textbook, Public Interest Lawyering: A Contemporary Perspective (with Alan Chen) (Wolters Kluwer, 2012).
- Lady Justice Joyce Aluoch, Judge and First Vice-President, International Criminal Court, The Hague (retired); Judge, Court of Appeal and High Court of Kenya (retired); IMI-Certified and CEDR-Accredited Mediator. Justice Aluoch spent 44 years on the bench. As the second woman appointed as a Magistrate in Kenya, she went on to serve on the Court of Appeal and the High Court of Kenya, and later at the International Criminal Court in The Netherlands. She holds a Master’s degree in International Affairs (GMAP) from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, Tufts University, and has been awarded the Distinguished Alumna award. In 2018, the University granted her its top Award (honoris causa), only granted to those who carry the University’s ideals throughout their career. This made her the first black person to receive such an honour from Tufts University. She holds an LLB degree from the University of Nairobi and Post Graduate Diploma in Legal Studies from the Kenya School of Law. She is an Adjunct Professor, Faculty of Law, University of the Western Cape, South Africa.
Upon retirement from the bench, Justice Aluoch successfully moved her legal profession to Alternative Dispute Resolution mechanisms, particularly mediation. She is a Certified International Mediator (IMI), Accredited Mediator (CEDR)-London, a Certified Advanced Mediator, and a Chartered Mediator. She has a Certificate in International Commercial Arbitration from the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators, London, and is an Accredited trainer with a Certificate of Accreditation in mediation training (London). She conducts mediations under the Court Annexed Mediation Program (Kenya), FIDA-Kenya, international and domestic mediations, and virtual mediations. She is a member of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators (London and Kenya branches), International Council for Commercial Arbitration, Africa Arbitration Association (AfAA) and Nairobi Centre for International Arbitration, where she serves in the mediation panel. In 2020, she was appointed a member of the International Advisory Board of the Office of Ombudsman for the United Nations Funds and Programs, Global Mediation, Chair of the Advisory Board of the Africa-Asia Mediation Association (AAMA), board member of Mediators Beyond Borders International (MBBI) and Chair of Cricket-Kenya Normalization Committee. She is a recipient of several international and national awards including Presidential Awards of Elder of the Burning Spear (EBS), First Class Order of the Burning Spear (CBS) and Trail Blazer Award (CBS).
Judge Professor Paulo Pinto de Albuquerque is a Former Judge of the European Court of Human Rights, elected on behalf of Portugal. He has authored more than 150 opinions and significantly contributed to the development of international human rights law (see Triestino Mariniello (ed), Judge Pinto de Albuquerque and the Progressive Development of International Human Rights Law, Brill, 2021). Having been in the legal profession for more than 30 years, Professor Albuquerque's decisions are regularly cited by academic scholars and practitioners in human rights, public international and criminal law. He currently teaches as a Full Professor at the Catholic University of Lisbon (Portugal). In addition, he has been recognised for his outstanding contribution to social justice and human rights law with an honorary doctorate from Edge Hill University (UK), and was named an Honorary Doctor of the Yaroslav Mudryi National Law University in Kharkiv (Ukraine). His recent publications include Comentário do Código Penal: À luz da Constituição da República e da Convenção Europeia dos Direitos do Homem (2021) and I diritti umani in una prospettiva europea (2021).
Judge Larisa Alwin is a Judge in the Court of Appeals in Amsterdam, The Netherlands. She is a Leiden University alumnus (MA History, 1990, and MA Law, 1992). Judge Alwin has spent twenty years on the bench. Before her appointment in Amsterdam (2021), she was a judge in the courts of Rotterdam and The Hague. She has handled many public interest litigation cases and was the presiding judge in the Milieudefensie/Royal Dutch Shell case about CO2 reduction.
Judge Professor Egbert Myjer held several positions in the judiciary (as judge and vice president at the District Court of Zupthen) and in the public prosecution service (as advocate-general at The Hague Court of Appeals and as chief advocate-general at the Amsterdam Court of Appeals). He served on the European Court of Human Rights between 2004 and 2012. Judge Myjer was appointed professor extraordinary in human rights at the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam; since 2012 he is professor emeritus. He holds a Masters degree in Law from the University of Utrecht and has also served as Associate Professor of Criminal Law at the University of Leiden. Judge Myjer has written and contributed to over forty books, conference papers and commentaries; has co-edited several books including Human Rights Manual for Prosecutors (2003) and was a founding member of the editorial board for the Netherlands Humans Rights Law Review (NJCM-bulletin – 1976-2004). He is also a member of the board of Amnesty International the Netherlands, the UAF (Foundation for Refugee Students) and the International Service for Human Rights. In 2000, Judge Myjer was honoured as Officer in the Order of Orange-Nassau, for work undertaken in the Netherlands in the field of human rights, and in 2012 he was promoted to Commander. In 2001 he received the Medal of Merit of the Council of Europe, for his contribution to the human rights education for members of the Dutch Judiciary. In 2004 he was awarded with the Certificate of Merit of the International Association of Prosecutors. In 2012, he was made an honourary bencher of the Honourable Society of Lincolns Inn, United Kingdom.
Juridische Faculteit Universiteit Leiden, Kamerlingh Onnes Gebouw
Steenschuur 25, Leiden
Registration Fees (no VAT will be charged)
|€50||Bachelors or Masters student|
Registration fees include the following:
- Access to all conference sessions
- Conference materials
- Coffee and tea service daily
- Lunch daily
- Drinks reception on Friday evening
All delegates will also be welcome to attend a buffet dinner at the beautiful Oude Sterrewacht Observatory on Friday evening, for an additional fee payable upon registration (€45 per person, incl drinks - vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free, and lactose-free options available). Leiden University alumni are entitled to a 10% discount. Please note that registration for the conference will close on 1 July, 2022. Conference participants are requested to register onlythemselves rather than also registering someone else.
Call for abstracts
Researchers from all over the globe, whose work fits within this theme and who would like to present their research during the conference, are cordially invited to submit an abstract on or before 15 February 2022. Submissions from doctoral candidates and early career researchers are also welcome. Decision notifications will be communicated by 1 March 2022.
Want to stay informed? Send us an e-mail to be the first to know when registration will be possible!
Leiden European City of Science 2022
This conference is part of the events taking place during Leiden European City of Science 2022, a 365-day science festival packed with activities, lectures, workshops, excursions, exhibitions and events, for anyone with a curious mind. Click here to find out more about Leiden2022