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About us Faculty of Law Research Centres of Expertise Groningen Centre for Empirical Legal Research

Bert Marseille

Outline of my empirical legal research
The empirical legal research that I carry out, usually in collaboration with others, is centered on dispute settlement proceedings, in particular those handled in court. Examples include an investigation into the use of professional standards by administrative courts (in 2018, together with Hilde Marije de Jong & Wilke Swinkels) and an investigation into the manner in which the sub-district sector of the courts select cases in which parties must appear in person and how they handle these in a court hearing (in 2014, together with Heinrich Winter and others). In addition, my research focuses on preparatory proceedings, such as an investigation into the practice, in five municipalities of North Holland, of informally handling administrative objection proceedings (in 2019-2020, together with Arnt Mein), and into proceedings that offer an alternative for court proceedings, such as the investigation into the intervention of the arbitrator for soil subsidence in mining damage disputes in Groningen (in 2018, together with Herman Bröring & Kars de Graaf).

At present, I am involved in an empirical legal investigation into, among other things, the perceived procedural justice of extrajudicial dispute settlement procedures between consumers and financial service providers (together with Marc Hertogh & Marc Wever), the manner in which proceedings, relating to decision-making about, and the review of, punitive sanctions in administrative law and criminal law, either correspond to or differ from each other (together with Marc Wever), and research into the prevention and settlement of disputes in the social field by municipalities (together with Arnt Mein, Marc Wever, Heinrich Winter & Paulien de Winter).

Each investigation has its own charms and challenges. The investigation of the past years that is dearest to me concerns a series of three similarly designed investigations (in 2016, 2018 and 2019) in which I have tried (together with Marc Wever) to provide an impression of the state of the administrative courts, using each time a representative cross-section of over 300 administrative law judgments. The three investigations allow us to compare the performance of administrative courts over time and between the various courts, particularly as far as speed and dispute settlement are concerned. We would like to add to these three investigations at least a fourth one, in which we want to find out more about the extent to which the large number of procedural decisions by administrative courts relate to the equality of arms principle between parties.

Methods of empirical legal research
In carrying out the different empirical legal investigations, I use both qualitative and quantitative research methods. Depending on the research question, the research consists of interviews, observations, surveys and document analysis, usually in combination with each other.

Two key publications
A.T. Marseille & M. Wever, ‘ Snelheid, maatwerk en finaliteit in bestuursrechtelijke procedures bij de rechtbank ’ (Speed, customisation and finality in administrative court proceedings”), NJB 2019/2552.

A.T. Marseille, H.E. Bröring & K.J. de Graaf, Laagdrempelige procedure aardbevingszaken Groningen (“Accessible procedure for earthquake cases in Groningen”) (Research Memoranda; Vol. 13, No. 2), The Hague: Council for the Judiciary, 2018.

Last modified:16 April 2021 09.11 a.m.