The Empirical Legal Studies (ELS) Academy was founded by the law schools of Leiden University, VU Amsterdam, Utrecht University, Erasmus University Rotterdam and University of Groningen. and serves as a platform that brings together (aspiring) empirical legal scholars from all universities in the Netherlands and beyond. The board of the Academy consists of representatives of all founding universities. Pieter Desmet, Elena Kantorowicz-Reznichenko, Professors of Quantitative Empirical Legal Studies and Peter Mascini, Professor of Empirical Legal Studies represent Erasmus School of Law.
Empirical Legal Studies is one of the legal science themes that the multi-year Law Sector Plan focuses on, as part of the broader Sector Plan Social Sciences and Humanities and is funded by the Dutch Ministry of Education, Culture and Science. In the field of empirical legal studies, a national collaboration exists that is coordinated by the five law schools, all of which focus on ELS within the context of the Law Sector Plan. Through this sector plan, the Netherlands invests in innovative empirical legal research and academic talent. At the various law schools, new research groups have been created in which legal scholars often collaborate with social scientists and do interdisciplinary research.
Empirical research as a focal point
Research within this legal science theme is diverse, both in terms of topics and the empirical research methodology that is used. At the heart of the research is the empirical examination of legally relevant questions. Using both quantitative and qualitative methods, the law in action is examined and researched. Empirical research on the functioning and the effects of law in practice offers fundamental insights into (behavioral) assumptions underlying various laws and regulations and it can contribute to achieving the goals of the legislator.
Embodying a national collaboration in the field of empirical legal studies in the context of the sector plan for the legal discipline, the ELS Academy is focused on educating and supporting researchers who are interested in empirically exploring questions that are legally relevant. The goal of the ELS Academy is twofold. Firstly, it is focused on bringing together empirical legal scholars and building an ELS community in the Netherlands. Secondly, the ELS Academy pools resources in the field of empirical legal studies and makes them easily accessible at the service of PhD students and research groups at the various Dutch law schools.