12 March 2019 • Gideon Wille
Meeting between Bachelor of Law students and Minister Dekker
On March 7, Sander Dekker, minister for Legal Protection, talked to about a hundred of our Bachelor of Law students. In the Speakers’ Corner, students talked to the minister about current topics, such as fair sentencing and extra-judicial alternatives to dispute resolutions. Dekker: “I really enjoyed the opportunity to exchange ideas about some important topics.”
The minister’s busy schedule didn’t stop him from making time to meet with a group of Bachelor of Law students. “The Hague is my home town. I live here and I was a city councillor for many years. From those days I know that The Hague University of Applied Sciences is an important educational institution in our city.” The minister was eager to discuss three topics with the students: fair sentencing, access to law and privacy.
The following question came up when discussing the issue of fair sentencing: should inmates serve their entire sentence? Dekker doesn’t agree with this statement: however, he does take issue with the fact that detainees automatically receive an one-third reduction on their sentence. The minister believes that this should depend on good behaviour. Students raised arguments in favour and against this statement.
Accessibility of law
Another issue discussed was the accessibility of law. In a letter to the Lower House, Dekker advocates for expanding extra-judicial dispute resolution (such as mediation). “I see that a lot of great work is being done in primary legal assistance, often by social counsel. They are good at assessing if a dispute merits a lawyer or if some other assistance may be required.”
Pardoning of minors
After the third topic, privacy, students were allowed to ask other questions. First-year student Ayse Kilic asked the minister about his view on the pardoning of minors. “I was happy to ask my question as it is a current topic,” explains the student. She had to write an argument about this for her Legal Skills course. Dekker replied to Ayse that he is not in favour of a pardon for minors, but he can live with the current proposal. “Politics is also about compromising.”
The role of university of applied sciences law students
Ayse Kilic thought it was “a valuable evening.” Minister Dekker agreed. “It was very interesting to also discuss matters of principle, such as the pardon for minors.” In addition, he addressed the role of university of applied sciences law students. “I think they play an important role in extra-judicial dispute resolution. Another interesting topic of the discussion today, was about the role these students play in legal technologies. We see a lot of innovation here, including in the law. University of applied sciences law students, who are good at connecting practice and theory, can contribute to this.”
Extra-judicial dispute resolution (such as mediation) is an important theme in the Bachelor of Law degree programme and the subject of a minor. Recently, The Hague University of Applied Sciences also introduced the Multi Level Regulation research group, which is dedicated to this topic.
Minister Dekker sees opportunities for law students of the university of applied sciences.