Judge Among the People?

Suzann Verberk, University of California, Berkeley

Over the last few years, Californian courts have intensified the relationship with their communities. The Court and Community Collaboration Program as undertaken by the Judicial Council of California stimulates a dialogue between courts and society. To promote public trust and confidence, the Program encourages courts to become more responsive to community concerns and educate the public about the role and functioning of the court system. During the 2003-2004 academic year, the author studied the Program on behalf of the Dutch Judicial Council for its relevance to Netherlands. At the conference the author will discuss the outcomes of her study. She will give an overview of the initiatives put into practice to make the courts more responsive to the demands of the public, and report on their effectiveness. Special attention will be paid to ethical dilemmas arising from an increased community involvement. She will conclude with some lessons for the Dutch courts.

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Updated 05/20/2006