nl en

Risk, Security and the Rule of Law


Please note that the following description of the course is only provisional and therefore subject to change.

Entry requirements:

Students who want to take this course need to be admitted to the master’s programme in Crime and Criminal Justice.

Brief course description:

In many Western democracies, collective safety and security are dominating both the public and political discourse, thereby contributing to a growing body of preventive criminal justice legislation and policies. Jonathan Simon (2007) speaks of governing through crime, referring to the development that policy and legislation are increasingly linked to the pursuit of safety based on the assumption that measures already in place are insufficient to do so. Whereas legislation should always be the result of a careful process of considering all the values and interests at stake, the current safety and security discourse seems to obstruct this process by propagating the overriding importance of collective safety as a matter of course. This is concerning since security without the rule of law puts democratically ruled states at risk.
This course introduces the students to the rule of law framework for criminal justice issues, therewith focusing on the early stages of the policy cycle. From a criminological and legal-sociological perspective it addresses how political and legal institutions should govern security, guarantee safety or handle (inter)national crises, while protecting the rule of law in a democratic yet complex society.

Learning objectives:

Upon completing this course, students:

  • can illustrate the stratification of the Rule of Law and can relate this to the complex task of the legislature;

  • can identify and analyse the complex dynamics of the legislative procedure with regard to current criminal justice issues;

  • can illustrate and evaluate how criminal justice issues in various countries are impacted by the rule of law as well as by broader societal developments in terms of the development towards risk societies and diverse societies;

  • can characterize the various theoretical reflections on the development of the culture of control and are able to use these theoretical insights to reflect critically upon different developments with regard to legislation in the field of public order and safety and are able to propose new policy arrangements;

  • can identify and describe the role criminal justice scholars play in both the public and political debate and are able to give substance to this role in explaining criminal justice issues in public discussions by using scientific findings and results.


Kies voor bachelor en master.

Teaching format

The course consists of five interactive two-hour lectures, during which specific aspects of the literature will be further elaborated upon.

This course comprises five two-hour seminars, in addition to the five lectures mentioned above.
During the seminars, the leitmotiv will be the public role of the criminologist/criminal justice expert as a key factor and a major player in the public and political debate on public order, crime and safety and consequently also in the complex legislative procedure. Using various forms of social media, the students will practise writing scientific op-eds in which they are challenged to apply the acquired theoretical legal-sociological and criminological knowledge to case studies about various concrete security governance dillemma’s. Students will have to present their outcomes in such a way that their findings and argumentation are accessible for a more general audience of both citizens and politicians.

A mandatory fieldtrip to the Dutch Parliament.

Examination & grading requirements

Assessment methods
1. Students have to write weekly posts and comments for the course weblog. During the seminars, the posts will be presented, discussed and further commented upon by means of peer feedback.

  1. Students have to pass a written examination.

Course grades are determined by:
Weekly assignments and class participation (30%)
A final written assignment (70%)

  • The weekly meetings and fieldtrip must be attended in order to pass this course.

  • All assignments must be submitted via safe assign (Blackboard)

In preparation for the exam, students need to study all the prescribed literature as well as any audio and video material used.

All components should be at least 5,5 in order to complete the course successfully. All grades only hold for the present academic year.


Bij dit vak wordt gebruik gemaakt van Blackboard.

Reading requirements

Assigned literature will be announced on Blackboard and in the course guideline that wil also be published on Blackboard.



  • Institute: Criminal Law and Criminology

  • Department: Criminology

  • Opening hours: 09.00 to 12.30

  • Telephone secretariat: 071 – 527 74 62

  • E-mail:


Those who are interested in taking this course on a contract basis (including an examination) can obtain further information on costs, registration, conditions, etc. from the website of the Juridisch PAO.