During MaRBLe 2019-2020, six UM 3rd year bachelor students decided to take their MaRBLe experience to the next level.
MaRBLe is a unique addition to the regular curriculum: while the regular programme focuses on acquiring legal skills, MaRBLe offers the opportunity to become acquainted with empirical research into legal practice. The project gives students a lot of space and freedom in selecting a subject, composing the methods of research and, of course, in conducting it; all under excellent, though restricted, supervision, which fits perfectly into the problem-based education, being the central philosophy within the UM.
In 2020, the project focused on the modernization of litigation in the Netherlands, with research being conducted into the reasons underlying the termination of the, nowadays infamous, KEI project. As a research team, we conducted an extensive literature review, set up a survey among lawyers and bailiffs and interviewed various persons directly involved in the KEI project, including Sander Dekker (in his capacity as Minister for Legal Protection) and Frits Bakker (former chairman of the Council for the Judiciary). The diversity of research methods, the requirement of intensive collaboration and the extensive scope of the project equal the value of what MaRBLe has to offer; such research could never have taken place within regular education. The skills acquired within the MaRBLe project therefore do justice to the status of MaRBLe as an excellence programme.
Our findings were eventually documented in a comprehensive report that, thanks to a scholarship awarded to us by EDLAB, has even been published in the form of book. Presently, the first positive reactions to the book have been received, including a book review in the ‘Tijdschrift voor de Procespraktijk’ (TvPP). The book is therefore a tangible reminder of this unique, but especially instructive, experience. Anyone searching for a new challenge and, perhaps, envisaging a career in research, will find in MaRBLe a truly enriching experience.
Froukje van den Borne, Luca Cox, Youri Cremers, Daan Groenewoud, Sven Schaghen and Tom Stijns.