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Spinoza Fellow Schlink debates with Geert Corstens at Peace Palace

On Monday 29 November 2010 Bernhard Schlink, Spinoza Fellow 2010/11, will give debate with the President of the Dutch Judiciary and the Supreme Court of the Netherlands Geert Corstens about “Objective Law and Subjective Judges”. This debate is part of the Schlink’s activities during his tenure as The Hague Peace Philosopher. The Hague Peace Philosopher is an initiative of Radio Netherlands Worldwide, NIAS, Campus The Hague and the Municipality of The Hague.

About the debate- Most citizens accept that they are ruled by the law. The law has its objective quality and validity. However, the law is interpreted and applied by judges. How judges function is inevitably influenced by their personality, individuality and subjectivity. However, many citizens hesitate to accept that they are ruled by subjective judges.

This debate will deal with questions such as: is it possible that a law is so clear and precise that its interpretation and application leave no room for subjective judgments? Is it desirable? If subjective interpretations and applications are unavoidable, should judges at least explain how they reach their individual decisions instead of joining the other judges of the court in a collective decision? Should they even reveal the tastes, moral preferences, religious feelings, and political leanings that influence their decisions?

Click here for the official invitation, more information and registration.