Hilke Grootelaar, Ph.D. Candidate


Utrecht University

Address: Bijlhouwerstraat 6

City: Utrecht

Country: Netherlands

About Me:

I obtained my Bachelor's degree in Public Administration and Organisational Science (2011) and my Bachelor's degree in Law (2012) at Utrecht University. In 2014 I obtained my Master's degree in Legal Research cum laude. Within this two-years Research Master I did among other things empirical research on judicial behaviour in post-defence hearings and result-oriented behaviour of public prosecutors. I also did an internship at the Research and Strategy department of the Dutch Council for the Judiciary. After my graduation, I started as PhD Candidate at the Montaigne Centre for Judicial Administration and Conflict Resolution. Supervised by professor of Social Psychology and Empirical Legal Science Kees van den Bos, I wrote my dissertation "Interacting with Procedural Justice in Courts" which I will defend in May 2018. Together with Marij Swinkels and Elena Valbusa, I initiated the InclUUsion project within Utrecht University, which aims at giving refugee students the opportunity to participate for free in all kinds of courses offered by Utrecht University. We won the Faculty's Societal Impact Price of 2016 for doing this. Since December 2017, I have been working as a Postdoctoral researcher at the Montaigne Centre for Judicial Administration and Conflict Resolution. I do empirical research on the constitutional dialogues and feedback loops between courts and legislators. Next to that, I give several workshops and lectures to external parties such as ministries, courts and law firms.  

Research Interests

Public Administration

Public Policy

Public Opinion

Procedural Justice

Trust In Institutions

Constitutional Dialogues

State-citizen Interactions

Countries of Interest


My Research:

As a researcher, I am mainly interested in state-citizen interactions. That is, I am interested in how state officials (such as judges, law makers, and those enacting the law) interact with laypeople. After all, the law is a human endeavor The legal system consists of rules that are in fact written human interaction. Thus, scholars who study the law, in fact, study human interactions. In my studies, I aim to extend a one-sided normative legal perspective on procedures and rules with the perceived perspective of laypeople. With regard to my methodological interests, I strongly favor conducting empirical legal research within a legal and public policy context. Trained as a lawyer, I enjoyed collaborating with social scientists in different empirical studies. I currently work on my postdoctoral research project, which focuses on constitutional dialogues and feedback loops between courts and legislators. The Dutch constitutional system provides for a dynamic and organic model of checks and balances, once conceived by the politician Thorbecke. The constitutional system thus assumes the presence of a feedback loop, but unknown is whether this feedback loop indeed functions as presumed. Is feedback actually given, for example, and if so, does that lead to follow-up actions? Using both a legal and a public administration perspective, this research project aims to describe how the institutionalized dialogue between judges and legislators functions in practice. By interviewing the actors who play an important role within this model of checks and balances, the research aims at providing insight into the social, cultural, political, and functional mechanisms that may explain why the organized dialogue takes place or not.