IACL Research Groups are intended to serve as a semi-institutionalised setting for sharpening current debates in legal scholarship and proposing directions for new research. Following this model, the RGSR fills an important function in enabling scholarly conversations between academics researching and writing about international and domestic law relating to social rights. The Research Group was originally instituted in December 2010 at the VIIIth World Congress of IACL, on the common initiative of Victor Bazan, Sandra Liebenberg and George Katrougalos. In the light of changed circumstances and research priorities, as well as to ensure its inclusion amongst the IACL Research Groups, its objectives have now been renewed.
Aims and Objectives
The main aim of the RGSR is to develop a network and a forum for constitutionalists interested in social rights from a variety of jurisdictions. Its planned activities include the development of comparative research projects on topics to be decided collectively, advocacy and public Interest litigation on social rights issues and further involvement to related activities of IACL.
Substantively, the RGSR will ask new questions about the relationship between SER and the broader political and social setting within which they are embedded. Even though the research agenda will be set in collaboration by the members of the RSGR, some preliminary questions include: In an age of deepening inequality, what role should citizen entitlements from the government play in creating a safety net to provide the conditions necessary for human flourishing? How should levels of entitlements be judicially managed and adjudicated? Should courts or the representative branches be the focus of engagement for civil society coalitions?
Subject to revision in consultation with members three lines of enquiry are suggested at the outset: first, theorizing responses to claims that SER serve to cement a political imaginary concerned primarily with adequacy, rather than the setting of standards. Relatedly, the RGSR will situate its discussions within the broader political economy in which these rights are articulated. Second, the RGSR will consider questions on the relationship between domestic constitutional and supranational adjudicatory responses to changes in social entitlements which may have been influenced by the advent of the global financial crisis. Third, the RGSR will consider the lessons which can be drawn from the judicial treatment of SER across a variety of jurisdictions and their implications for comparative constitutional theory.
The RGSR has four primary objectives:
- Enable academic exchanges, in a manner to be determined, but which may include listservs, mailing lists, and possible panels, paper sessions and roundtables at the IACL Congress, 2022;
- facilitate conversation between scholars working on SER in the Global South with social rights scholars writing about European notions of social constitutionalism, while also engaging with the ways in which these rights are formulated in other jurisdictions like Canada, the UK and Australia;
- consider possibilities for proposing special issues in response to calls in human rights journals with a group of scholars who are already in the RG;
- serve as a resource for discovery of events like workshops, seminars, new scholarship, funding opportunities, and other career opportunities for scholars working on SER.
The research group will also serve as a resource for discovery of new scholarship on SER; and, in partnership with the IACL, it will explore options for holding symposia on new books in the subject matter, for example, on new writing on SER from the global south or supra-national social rights adjudication in Europe.
The RGSR will, in coordination with its convenors and members, decide on the future activity of the group. Indicatively, the following would be:
- Setting up a listserv or mailing group (modelled on LSA CRNs) where members could share information, opportunities, new scholarship and flag discussions;
- organising symposia on the IACL Blog on landmark decisions of apex courts relating to SER, for example the recent decision from the Federal Constitutional Court of Germany on social benefits and its connection to human dignity;
- organising interviews with authors who have recently published scholarship which has a significant impact on the field;
- encouraging practitioners and litigators across jurisdictions to author academically rigorous pieces on their experiences in litigating SER;
- putting together a list of thematically or jurisdictionally arranged introductory teaching material which can be used by scholars or practitioners in the field.
The link to the research group’s blog is here.
- Aoife Nolan (University of Nottingham)
- Cesar Landa, Pontificia Universidad Católica del Perú
- Christina M. Akrivopoulou, Hellenic Open University
- Colm O'Cinneide, University College, London
- Gaurav Mukherjee, Central European University, Budapest
- George Katrougalos, Democritus University of Thrace
- Ingrid Leijten, Universiteit Leiden
- Marcelo Figueiredo, Pontifícia Universidade Católica de São Paulo
- Sandra Liebenberg, University of Stellenbosch
- Victor Bazan, Indecopi
- Gaurav Mukherjee
- Central European University, Budapest
- Gaurav is an S.J.D. candidate in Comparative Constitutional Law at the Central European University, Budapest. Gaurav's doctoral project concerns the role of the judiciary in facilitating inter-branch dialogue in the adjudication of socioeconomic rights disputes. In 2019, he was an Indian Equality Law Visiting Fellow at the University of Melbourne.
- George Katrougalos
- Democritus University of Thrace
- George is currently a professor of public law at the Democritus University of Thrace. From 2014 to January 2015 he was a Member of the European Parliament representing Greece.
- Marcelo Figueiredo
- Pontifícia Universidade Católica de São Paulo
- Marcelo is a lawyer, legal advisor, Professor of constitutional law (approved by public examination) at the São Paulo Pontifícia Universidade Católica for the undergraduate and post-graduate Law School programs, being also its elected Director for two terms. He is a president of the Brazilian Association for Democrats Constitutionalists (ABCD), and a Member of the Executive Committee of IACL-AIDC.
- Victor Bazan
- Victor is a lawyer at the National Institute for the Defense of Competition and the Protection of Intellectual Property (Indecopi) who holds law degrees from Pontificia Universidad Católica del Peru in the area of consumer and competition law.