Recht der Werkelijkheid

Recht der Werkelijkheid is a double-blind, peer-reviewed journal related to the Association for the Socio-Legal Study of Law (VSR), published by Boom Juridische Uitgevers [link to website]. Established in 1980, the journal serves as an interdisciplinary platform for reflecting on law from the perspectives of socio-legal studies, legal anthropology, public administration, law and economics, and legal psychology. It focuses particularly on innovative empirical-theoretical contributions related to societal developments in relation to law.

Recht der Werkelijkheid publishes two regular issues annually, as well as one, usually English-language, special issue. In addition to articles, the Forum section features debates between authors on current topics. The “Work in Progress” section discusses ongoing (doctoral) research, and the journal also includes reviews of recent book publications. It primarily focuses on research from Dutch-speaking regions, the Netherlands, and Belgium. The journal welcomes contributions in both Dutch and English. Its target audience consists mainly of academics, legal practitioners, and policymakers.

For submitting manuscripts, ideas for special issues, suggestions for book reviews, or inquiries to the editorial team, please contact Dr. Paulien de Winter at

Recht der Werkelijkheid is celebrating its 40th anniversary. In honor of this milestone, a special anniversary issue has been released. This issue comprises two articles, a book review, a Forum contribution, a Work in Progress section, and six anniversary contributions. The first article examines the effect of a pro Justitia report (a psychological report on a suspect) on the evidentiary decision. Van Es, Kunst, Van Doorn, and De Keijser conduct an experiment among students to investigate to what extent and how the presence of a pro Justitia report and information about a mental disorder can influence the evidentiary decision. The second article focuses on equal treatment legislation and identity-based appointment policies in orthodox Protestant schools. Rijke observes increasing diversity and uncertainty within these schools regarding internal religious, cultural, and social norms. The Forum contribution discusses socially effective adjudication (SEA) by Klijn and Hartendorp. Verburg reviews the dissertations of Perquin-Deelen (“Biases in the boardroom and the council chamber”) and Baas (“The added value of plurality”) in a double book review. In the Work in Progress section, doctoral candidate Becx writes about her research on restorative justice in the context of traffic accidents.

In addition to the regular contributions, this issue includes six anniversary contributions written by members of the editorial board of Recht der Werkelijkheid. The editorial board members were invited by the editors to reflect on contributions that have been published in RdW over the years in a specific area of interest. Several questions served as inspiration for these contributions. Niemeijer writes about legislation and notes a clear expansion (from legislation to regulation) and theoretical deepening from diverse perspectives over the years. Hertogh looks back on four decades of enforcement research, identifies several themes and trends, and formulates a research agenda for the future. De Groot-van Leeuwen delves into the history of adjudication in Recht der Werkelijkheid. She observes that although Recht der Werkelijkheid is not a journal focused on social science methods and techniques, readers learn a great deal about conducting research throughout the years. Hubeau and Van Houtte discuss access to justice and legal assistance, advocating for more attention to legal aid. Schreiner writes about legal application in other continents, which she ultimately expands to legal application across all continents. Finally, Huls writes about the position and influence of socio-legal professors at Dutch law faculties, advocating for harnessing the intellectual strength of the discipline through well-coordinated, contemporary forms of collaboration in education, research, and strategy.

Over the past forty years, Recht der Werkelijkheid has evolved into a high-quality, scholarly journal in the field of socio-legal studies. It has established a prominent position in the world of journals, a world that has seen increased offerings and specialization in recent decades. The journal’s multidisciplinary background and its empirical-theoretical perspective on law make Recht der Werkelijkheid a unique publication. We – readers, authors, current and former members of the editorial team and editorial board – can be proud of this achievement. However, the editorial team is not simply resting on its laurels but is also working diligently to further professionalize the journal in the coming years, expand its reach, and improve collaboration with Flemish researchers in the field of law. Onward to the future!