Time: 10:00 - 14:00
Venue: Lauritz Meltzers House (Social Sciences Bulding) 9th floor, University of Bergen

Norwegian politics have gone through a process of juridification. This is one of the main conclusions drawn from the study of power and democracy in Norway, Maktutredningen (Power and Democracy). Juridification of politics is not unique to Norway. Countries around the world increasingly experience that issues traditionally perceived to belong in the realm of politics - such as social- and health policy issues- are taken to court.

Colombian courts annually receive tens of thousands of cases from people who see their right to health violated. The Constitutional Court recently ordered extensive reforms of the health system. Indian courts have ordered action to secure the right to food and the right to a healthy environment, while reforms of housing policy have been the subject of several judgments from the South African Constitutional Court. Do these developments represent a worrying trend in terms of narrowing the space for democratic politics, or should it rather be seen as an expansion of democracy? Are the courts an arena for the resourceful, or do they represent an arena where poor and marginalised groups can have their interests heard and respected?

The seminar "What courts do (and don't do) about social rights" brings together international experts in the field to discuss these current questions in light of developments in different parts of the world. 


10:00 -10:15 Welcome and opening (Siri Gloppen, CMI/UiB)

10:15-11:45 "Global trends in social rights jurisprudence (with African perspectives)"

Malcolm Langford (Director of the South Africa Programme at the Norwegian Centre for Human Rights, University of Oslo. Editor of Social Rights Jurisprudence (Cambridge University Press 2009))

"Comments from Norway" Henriette Sinding Aasen (Professor of Law, University of Bergen)


11:45 - 12:15 LUNCH

12:15-13:35  "Social rights jurisprudence: Latin American perspectives"
Chair: John McNeish, CMI)

Roberto Gargarella Professor of Law, di Tella University, Buenos Aires and Senior Researcher CMI.  Has worked extensively on social rights and legal politics in Latin America and in particular on Argentina, Colombia and Chile. Co-editor of Courts and Social Transformation in New Democracies (Ashgate 2006)

Bruce Wilson Associate professor of Political Science, University of Central Florida and Professor II, CMI. A leading expert of politics in Costa Rica. His work includes "Legal Opportunity Structures and Social Movements: The Effects of Institutional Change on Costa Rican Politics" (Comparative Political Studies, 2006).

"Social rights and judicialization of politics in Latin America"

Rachel Sieder Researcher CIESAS, Mexico City and Professor II, CMI. A leading expert on Latin American politics and legal pluralism. Co-editor of Judicialization of Politics in Latin America (Palgrave 2005)  

Pilar Domingo Lecturer, Centre for the Study of the Americas, University of London and  Researcher ODI, Co-editor of Courts and Social Transformation in New Democracies (Ashgate 2006)

13:35-14:00 DISCUSSION 

The Friday Seminar on Democracy and Rule of Law is interdisciplinary and wide ranging. It explores contemporary local and global issues in law and human rights, development and globalization, democracy and citizenship. The aim is to create a meeting place for researchers at UiB, CMI and Unifob, and to stimulate research collaboration between local, national and international researchers.