Roundtable: Building databases for empirical legal studies

Numerous law and court related databases have been developed in recent years – over constitutions, laws, judgments, and various aspects of court cases and litigation processes. But too often these are ad hoc, poorly constructed, poorly utilized and discontinued. How can we best develop good databases to serve a useful instruments for qualitative as well as quantitative research, and that enable us to integrate them in ways that allow others to utilize what we have collected?

Malcolm Langford in conversation with Thomas M Keck and Henrik Bentsen.

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Malcolm Langford is Co-Director at the Centre of
Law and Social Transformation and Senior Researcher at CMI. He is also a Visiting Fellow at Fridtjof Nansen Institute and the Co-Director of Global School on Socio-Economic Rights. He is also former Research Fellow at the Norwegian Centre for Human Rights and Director of the Socio-Economic Rights Programme. His recent publications include Socio-Economic Rights in South Africa: Symbols or Substance? (Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 2014), edited with B. Cousins, J. Dugard and T. Madlingozi.

Thomas M. Keck is the Michael O. Sawyer Chair
of Constitutional Law & Politics at Syracuse University’s Maxwell School of Citizenship & Public Affairs. He received a B.A. in Politics from Oberlin College and an M.A. and Ph.D. in Political Science from Rutgers University. His research focuses on constitutional courts and the use of legal strategies by political movements on the left and the right. He is the author of The Most Activist Supreme Court in History and Judicial Politics in Polarized Times, along with articles in the American Political Science Review, Constitutional Studies, Law & Society Review, and Law & Social Inquiry. He is currently leading an NSF-funded, cross-national, comparative study of constitutional free expression jurisprudence.