About the Montaigne Centre

Utrecht University’s Montaigne Centre for Rule of Law and Administration of Justice combines multidimensional expertise in the field of rule of law and administration of justice.

Rule of Law and Administration of Justice

Currently, there is much to do about the concept of the (democratic) state governed by the rule of law (‘Rechtsstaat’ or ‘constitutional State’), both in the Netherlands and beyond. Four major shifts and developments have caused the classic 19th-century concepts of the rule of law to be placed in a new reality: Four major shifts and developments have caused the classic 19th-century concepts of the rule of law to be placed in a new reality: (1) large-scale technological developments; (2) level shifts when it comes to the question of where decision-making and exercise of authority and justice take place; (3) a changing role of private actors and (4) shifts in thinking and differences of opinion about the appreciation of central values of the rule of law. 

For the Montaigne Centre, these four shifts and their consequences for the rule of law and administration of justice form the leitmotiv for the research. The central question is which (traditional and new) core values, principles and bearers of the rule of law in the newly formed reality must be central in keeping the constitutional state resilient and flexible, and how they can best be guaranteed and promoted, in particular also in relation to the administration of justice.
In view of this central question and the objectives of the programme, the Montaigne Centre’s research has two main pillars, each encompassing two dimensions:  

Pillar 1. Fundamental values and innovation of the constitutional State 
1.a. Fundamental values and bearers of a resilient constitutional State 
1.b. Dynamics in and innovation of the constitutional State

Pilar 2. Administration of justice in the constitutional State
2.a. The role of courts in the constitutional State 
2.b. Dynamics in and innovation of the administration of justice

The core team of the Montaigne Centre.

Multidimensional

When studying concepts and developments and finding solutions to problems, our researchers conduct research with a multidimensional perspective, making use of insights from other disciplines (such as political theory, sociology, political sciences, anthropology, ethics, international relations, public administration, economics, conflict studies) and insights gained through internal and external comparative law. In a number of cases, empirical research is conducted, or subjects are studied primarily from an economical or socio-psychological perspective.