Research into legal mobilization as a form of rights-based civil advocacy

New research on legal mobilization

Following their participation in a Theme Group on Legal Mobilization at the Netherlands Institute for Advanced Studies (NIAS) of the Royal Dutch Academy of Sciences during the 2020/21 Academic Year, ISS researchers Dr Jeff Handmaker and Dr Daphina Misiedjan have produced new research on legal mobilization.

These outputs cover various aspects of rights-based legal mobilization including the right to water and sanitation, class actions and dealing with shortcomings in the rule of law

  • Misiedjan wrote a chapter with Pedi Obani on 'The Human Rights to Water and Sanitation' for the book Water Law The Evolution of the Law and Politics of Water (edited by Joseph W Dellapenna and Joyeeta Gupta), in which they show how articulating these basic needs as rights claims can form powerful legal tools, setting obligations and standards for states, which can form the basis for legal mobilization claims.
  • Handmaker edited a special issue in the South African Journal on Human Rights on class action litigation, in which specific attention to class actions as a form of legal mobilization is addressed, as a rights claim. This provides a contextual and critical analysis of the development and practice of class action law in South Africa. Read the introduction to the special issue.
  • Handmaker also co-authored with Sanne Taekema an article (in Dutch) entitled 'Mobilisering van het Recht als Vorm van Tegenmacht' for the journal Beleid en Maatschapij (Policy and Society) in which they argue legal mobilization as an important means by which shortcomings in the rule of law and other governance problems can be addressed. Moreover, they argue that legal mobilization is an important form of counterpower that strengthens the legitimacy of the Rechtsstaat in the pursuance of social justice claims.

Islanders at the Helm

Furthermore, Daphina Misiedjan began her participation in a collaborative research project funder Dutch Research Council (NWO) entitled Islanders at the Helm, which is led by Dr Francio Guadeloupe at the University of Amsterdam. This will incorporate a legal mobilization approach in a project involving both researchers and societal partners concerned with climate justice.

Analyzing law-based advocacy research project

These outputs form part of the Legal Mobilization: Analyzing law-based advocacy project within the Governance, Law and Social Justice research group at the International Institute of Social Studies.

Associate professor

Dr Jeff Handmaker

Associate Professor in Legal Sociology

Assistant professor

Dr Daphina Misiedjan

Assistant Professor in Human Rights and the Environment

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