The ways court procedures can be avoided is a classical theme in socio-legal studies and criminology. The preface to a book published on that theme by the Erasmus School of Law in 1988, on the occasion of its 25th anniversary, covers the then dominant view very well: ‘They [people who advocate out of court settlements, RvS] consider the judge as an ultimum remedium. And that is how it often should be’. Topics covered in that jubilee volume ranged from arbitration and administrative regulation to diversion and alternative dispute settlement. Now, however, it is striking to see that not only the topics in this issue of the Erasmus Law Review differ substantially from those of twenty years ago but that the tone is also quite different. The initial optimism and the belief that avoiding formal court procedures is essentially a good thing seem to have made way for a more sceptical attitude. Here it is questioned whether extra-legal regulations and out of court settlements actually do diminish the number of court procedures and whether this would be desirable..

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Keywords extra-legal regulations, out of court settlements
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van Swaaningen, R.. (2008). Introduction: Staying Out of Court. Erasmus Law Review, 1(5). Retrieved from