In the shadow of the judge: the involvement of judicial assistants in Dutch Courts

Although largely invisible to the public, behind the scenes, judicial assistants (clerks) frequently play a vital role in the judicial decision-making process. In addition to performing administrative duties, judicial assistants act as advisors or discussion partners to judges. However, judicial assistants have received minimal academic attention. During this presentation, I will first present the main findings of my research on the involvement of judicial assistants in Dutch courts, which are based on participant observations and interviews in two district courts. Second, I will discuss the setup of a quantitative follow up study, which examines the influence of judicial assistants on judicial decision-making and looks at how different role perspectives (i.e., managerial, rule of law or professional) may effect this influence.