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Prospectus

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Sciences and the Law: Uncomfortable Bedfellows?

Course
2015-2016

Enrolling in this course is possible until the 4th of January 2016, using the link at ‘registration’.

Description

Cross-disciplinary discomforts are counterproductive because projects that address serious issues have ubiquitously become cross-disciplinary affairs. In this class we consider two approaches that are currently brought into contention: (1) one based on content (employing reference manuals as used in the USA Federal Court System) and (2) one based on method (employing Complexity Theory as used in a multitude of disciplines – hardly in law, though). We show essentials of these approaches and participants investigate their combined use in a cross-disciplinary project, analyzing one serious real-life problem in a diverse team.

Aim
We expect that every serious academic will in her/his career be required to join forces with experts from different disciplines. This class’ aim is to contribute to the participants’ understanding of the intricacies of cross-disciplinary co-operation and to provide hands-on experience in a cross-disciplinary in-class co-operative project for solving a serious problem.

Approach
Sciences and law experience discomfort when they meet – be it in universities, in political arenas or in courts. Similar discomforts can be observed when the sciences meet economics, when economics meets the social sciences, and when the social sciences meet the law. Yet it happens that we have to face the music: when we need to comprehend complex situations.

In the courts such situations occur by definition when scientific evidence is presented. Sometimes mishaps occur. In the Netherlands, the series of convictions of the supposed “killer nurse” Lucia de Berk has collected notoriety. Her case is sufficiently rich to provide supporting material for the whole of the course since all four perspectives mentioned (law, science, social science and economics) came significantly into play. This material will be presented and defended by prof. dr. Richard Gill (mathematical statistics), who is actively involved in the analysis of criminal cases that employ statistical “evidence” (among which the Lucia case). It will also guide how four representative content-based approaches are presented.

In the USA a distinct situation that elucidates cross-disciplinary discomforts is the famous Kitzmiller v. Dover Area School District case, wherein the teaching of “intelligent design” as a scientific alternative to Darwinian evolution in a science class was contested. The Kitzmiller case will be presented and defended by prof. dr. Aernout Schmidt (law & computer science, emeritus). It will primarily guide how the Complexity approach is presented.

Several senior experts form diverse disciplines will be invited as external lecturers.

Programme

Week 1: Introduction – March 8, 2016
18:30-19:00 Getting to know each other – Group
19:00-19:30 Essential facts of the Lucia Case – Richard Gill
19:30-20:00 Essential facts of the Kitzzmiller Case – Aernout Schmidt
20:00-20:30 How Science Works – Richard Gill
20:30-21:00 Evidence Admissibility – Aernout Schmidt

Week 2: Problems and Projects – March 15, 2016
18:30-19:00 Dutch Law’s big picture 1 – Constitution, EU bindings – Franke van der Klaauw
19:00-19:30 The problem concerning IPR – Aernout Schmidt
19:30-20:00 The problem concerning PDP – Gerrit-Jan Zwenne
20:00-20:15 Summarizing: 4 Projects emerging – Richard & Aernout
20:15-21:00 Project group formation, initial project goal formulation – Group

Week 3: What went wrong with Lucia? (content-perspective) – March 22, 2016
18:30-19:30 Dutch Law’s big picture 2 – criminal law – Franke van der Klaauw
19:30-21:00 What went wrong with the Lucia Case? – Richard Gill

Week 4: What went wrong with Kitzmiller? (complexity-view) – March 29, 2016
18:30-19:30 Dutch Law’s big picture 3 – administrative law – Franke van der Klaauw
19:30-21:00 What went wrong with the Kitzmiller Case? – Aernout Schmidt

Week 5: What went wrong with IPR? – April 5, 2016
18:30-19:00 Dutch Law’s big picture 4 – IPR – Franke van der Klaauw
19:00-19:30 Dynamic Institutional Analysis of IPR deployment – Aernout Schmidt
19:30-21:00 What went wrong with IPR? – Carl Mair

Week 6: What went wrong with PDP? – April 12, 2016
18:30-19:00 Dutch Law’s big picture 5 – data protection law – Gerrit-Jan Zwenne
19:00-19:30 Dynamic Institutional Analysis of PDP deployment – Aernout Schmidt
19:30-21:00 What went wrong with PDP? – Gerrit-Jan Zwenne

Week 7: What went wrong with Rationality? – April 19, 2016
18:30-19:00 Kirman’s complaint – Aernout Schmidt
19:00-21:00 Dynamic Institutional Analysis of Cross disciplinary cooperation – Aernout Schmidt

Week 8: A symposium – Are there remedies? – April 26, 2016
18:00-18:30 Presenting the results of the Lucia Project (Richard Gill, Moderator)
18:30-19:00 Presenting the results of the Kitzmiller Project (Aernout Schmidt, Moderator)
19:00-19:30 Presenting the results of the IPR Project (Carl Mair, Moderator)
19:30-21:00 Presenting the results of the PDP Project (Gerrit-Jan Zwenne, Moderator)
20:15-21:15 Closure (Richard Gill, Aernout Schmidt)

At https://d-l-m.net/slubs a dedicated website will be made available. From September 2015 on it will be gradually populated with material. It will be open to members for comment and discussion. Anybody who registers to the website (not necessarily also to the class) may be accepted as a member, or not, to the sole discretion of Schmidt and/or Gill.

Period

Tuesday 8, 15, 22, 29 March, 5, 12, 19 April; 18:30 – 21:00 hrs
26 April 18:00 – 21.30 hrs

Location

De Oude Sterrewacht / Old Observatory, Sterrenwachtlaan 11, Leiden

Assessment method

Recitals, participation, project presentations

Maximum number of students

21

Registration

Enrolling in this course is possible until 4 January via this link .

Contact

Prof. mr. A.H.J. Schmidt