Integrating Normative and Functional Approaches to Rule of Law and Human Rights (INFAR)

At the end of December 2014, researchers at the Erasmus School of Law (led by Sanne Taekema), together with GLSJ researchers at the ISS (Karin Arts and Jeff Handmaker) were awarded a research grant by the Erasmus Research Excellence Initiative.

The award, which provides matching funds, amounts to a total, joint institutional commitment of 1.6 million euros, to be implemented over a period of 5 years (September 2015 – August 2020).

The award has allowed us to engage two postdoctoral researchers, Nathanael Ali and Kinnari Bhatt, as well as visiting professors (including Kim Lane Scheppele of Princeton University, Jan Klabbers of Helsinki University and Jonathan Klaaren of the University of the Witwatersrand) and supports annual conferences and expert meetings.

Participants to the INFAR conference - June 2018

Photo: First INFAR conference 28 and 29 January 2016, Hotel New York, Rotterdam

Research strategy

The research strategy of the project is fourfold, namely:

  • To trace the shifts between the functional and normative approaches historically in order to uncover the basic assumptions of the approaches;
  • To provide a theoretical framework for integrating the two perspectives in a transnational context;
  • To link regulatory and legal studies to show how both approaches can be connected in regulatory policy and court practice; and
  • To ensure knowledge transfer and synergies by organizing events that bring together organizations and individuals who work as policy makers and legal practitioners as well as academics from different disciplines.
Jonathan Klaaren delivering the keynote lecture at the INFAR Conference 31 May – 1 June 2018, ISS, The Hague

More information?

Photo: Jonathan Klaaren delivering the keynote lecture at the INFAR Conference 31 May – 1 June 2018, ISS, The Hague

Details of some key activities, publications and other developments are available on the INFAR blog.

Project researchers from ISS

Primary researchersAffiliated researchersPhD researchers
Jeff Handmaker (ISS project coordinator)Kinnari Bhatt (also based at Erasmus School of Law)Roy Matika
Karin ArtsKim Lane Scheppele (Princeton)Thandiwe Matthews
 Sarah-Jane Koulen (Princeton)Rima Rassi
 Sanele Sibanda (University of the Witwatersrand)Yuyun Wahyuningrum