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Law Lab: Design of Justice; Design the Courtroom of the Future

Courtroom configuration in criminal cases is currently highly standardised and has undergone little or no change over time. Isn’t it time for a reassessment of the way courtrooms are set up to make hearings more harmonious, effective, or simply better? Why, for instance, are judges always placed on a pedestal? How does the current set-up contribute to polarisation?

End presentation

On 7 December 2018, Amsterdam Law School Master’s students and Architectural Design students from the Gerrit Rietveld Academy will present the fruits of their labour in the ALP course “Design of Justice”.

Research into courtroom configurations not only requires specialised legal knowledge; it also demands skills and personal qualities such as creativity, the ability to observe, and empathy.

With this in mind, the “Design for Justice” Law Lab, in cooperation with the foundation Lawyers as Changemakers ,

will bring together future lawyers from the UvA and artists from the Gerrit Rietveld Academie to come up with innovative solutions for criminal law practice.

Participants in the Law Lab will receive training in design skills and creativity. Judges, public prosecutors, lawyers, defendants and victims will shed light on their procedural roles and explain the challenges encountered at hearing.

During the research phase, use will be made of inter alia the tools common to Design Thinking methodology. Participation and observation within the context of what one is designing for are crucial at this stage.

Participants will ultimately give group presentations of their novel and creative courtroom designs which are a reflection of all the observations made in the course of their research.


Students who wish to participate in this Law Lab must register with course coordinator Maaike Steen before 28 August 2018. Placement will be decided based on motivation, quality, and the number of spots available. Email a Curriculum Vitae and a cover letter expressing your motivation for participating in this course before 28 August 2018. Depending on the level of interest, we may be inviting you for an initial meeting during the two weeks following, after which a selection will be made based on motivation and quality.