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Procedural justice seen to be done. The judiciary’s press guidelines in the light of publicity and procedural justice

By Leonie van Lent


The aim of this article is to assess the recent attempts by the Dutch judiciary to gain more public acceptance of its tasks and functioning in criminal justice by enhancing its relationship with the press. The central question to be answered is to what extent the current stance towards the media, as expressed in the press guidelines, corresponds with the principle of publicity, as well as with the empirical findings in the field of procedural justice. Both the principle of publicity and the procedural justice research, each in their specific context, aim at contributing to the judiciary’s legitimacy. Firstly, this article will describe how the relation between the judiciary and the public and press concerning criminal proceedings has developed to what it is today, against the background of societal developments and the characteristics of the Dutch criminal justice system. Then, the principle of the publicity of criminal proceedings is outlined. This principle aims at securing the legitimacy of the (criminal) justice system in general and of the judiciary in particular and is therefore the primal normative foundation of the relationship between the courts, the press and the public. In the third part, some relevant findings of (psychological) procedural justice research are discussed. The concept of and research into procedural justice are likely to be of value to this article’s aim, since they offer empirical data on how and by what standards people assess judicial procedures and authorities. These data thus provide an insight into how to gain more public confidence in the judiciary. Fourthly, the values of publicity are combined with the procedural justice concept. The penultimate part outlines the content of the current judiciary’s press guidelines. The conclusion entails an evaluation of these guidelines in the light of normative notions of publicity and empirical procedural justice findings

Year: 2014
OAI identifier: oai:dspace.library.uu.nl:1874/303927
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