uOttawa law professor João Velloso creates new working group on 'judicialization of social problems'

Group to examine use of law in addressing social problems

uOttawa law professor João Velloso creates new working group on 'judicialization of social problems'
João Velloso is an associate professor at uOttawa Faculty of Law

The University of Ottawa Faculty of Law – Common Law Section has announced that law professor João Velloso has created a new working group that seeks to examine the use of law in addressing social problems.

The Research Committee on Sociology of Law (RCSL) – the world’s oldest international law and society academic association – approved the working group on judicialization of social problems in Dec. 2021. The new working group was born out of previous panels and workshops on judicializing social problems organized by Velloso alongside professor Vivian Paes of the Universidade Federal Fluminense in Brazil.

According to Velloso, the new working group will bring together scholars from different nationalities and disciplinary backgrounds in a long-term academic forum to explore the routines and practices of various legal institutions contributing to the judicialization of social problems and the governance of security.

“In this sense, openness to interdisciplinary, jurisdictional and regional diversity, and comparative perspectives are fundamental aspects of this collective enterprise of understanding and nuancing judicialization of social problems, the sociolegal strategies involved in such processes, the role of actors, and their institutional practices,” Velloso said.

By putting studies about multiple contexts and jurisdictions into the discussion, Velloso said that they expect to understand better how the law is being mobilized to govern social problems, the dynamics of access to justice, and the forms of resistance to old and new social control projects.

The new working group comprises a chair and five regional coordinators for North America, Latin America, Europe, Africa, and Asia-Oceania.

“We started with two regional coordinators, covering the continental regions: Joao Velloso (Canada) for North America and Europe (interim) and Izabel Saenger Nuñes (Brazil) for Latin America,” the RCSL said. “Our plan is to define coordinators for Europe, Africa, and Asia-Oceania by the end of 2022.”

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