- Considering the consequences of increased reliance on judicial assistants: A study on Dutch courts
- International Journal of the Legal Profession
- Volume | Issue number
- 21 | 1
- Pages (from-to)
- Document type
- Faculty of Law (FdR)
Virtually all judicial systems employ judicial staff members to assist judges in their work. However, except for US Supreme Court law clerks the role of these judicial assistants in judicial decision-making is minimally understood. This observation also holds true for the Netherlands, where an increased focus on managerial issues, such as efficiency and effectiveness, seems to have resulted in a growing number of judicial duties being assigned to judicial assistants. This article provides an initial reflection on such reliance on assistants. The context in which this development occurred is clarified, and the manifestation of the role of judicial assistants within the judicial process is described. This article also discusses two factors that require consideration when reliance on assistants increases: (1) the mechanisms for safeguarding the profession of the judge and the judicial assistant; and (2) the position of the judicial assistant in the judicial decision-making process. The consideration demonstrates the advantages of employing judicial assistants and also sheds light on serious risks relating to an increased role of judicial assistants in judicial decision-making.
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