24 April 2017

‘Sorry seems to be the hardest word’

In a recent article published in the prestigious Oxford Journal of Legal Studies, Gijs van Dijck, professor of Private Law at Maastricht University, examined whether court-ordered apologies serve a purpose. The common assumption is that apologies only matter if they are offered with sincerity, which is rarely the case in a courtroom setting. Another argument against court-ordered apologies involves freedom of expression – a right that is believed to be violated if a person is forced to apologise. For this reason, courts rarely order apologies, which is unfortunate according to Van Dijck.