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European Civil Justice key events and publications in 2024

Happy New Year’s wishes from our Vici Building European Civil Justice group. This year will mark a range of important events and book publications. We will host a series of webinars that will kick-off in the Spring. We are very happy that after a slow start during the pandemic, the book Research Methods in Private International Law, co-edited by Xandra Kramer and Laura Carballo Piñeiro is scheduled for publication by Elgar in May 2024. It contains fascinating chapters on regulatory, research and teaching approaches, including by our postdoc researchers Adriani Dori and Carlota Ucin. Around the same time we expect that the book Financing Collective Actions in the Netherlands: towards a Litigation Fund will be published by Eleven International Publishing, co-authored by our researchers Xandra Kramer and Jos Hoevenaars in collaboration with Ianika Tzankova and Karlijn van Doorn.This is an updated English version of a report commissioned by the Dutch Ministry of Justice. We are also excited about compiling our Handbook on European Civil Procedure, commissioned by The Gruyter that we co-edit together with Stefaan Voet and with a stellar author team. We will also submit the manuscript for our book on Sustainable Access to Justice, following our international conference of October of last year, co-edited by our group members Xandra Kramer, Masood Ahmed, Carlota Ucin and Adriani Dori featuring interesting chapters by our fantastic speakers and our PhD researchers Adrian Cordina and Eduardo Silva de Freitas. The latter two hope to wrap up most of their PhD research this year, together with our group member Antonia Antonopoulou. We are also happy to host guest PhD researcher Zilin Hao for six months who will introduce herself shortly. Our group is open for hosting other visiting researchers and for applications of (self-funded) new PhD candidates this year, and we look forward to many other collaborations to keep broadening our horizons.

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Published: September 23, 2021

Carlota Ucín has recently published this book, that is part of her PhD thesis. As she refers, Human Rights represent —today more than ever— a shared morality that guides us towards subsistence as cohesive communities. From this perspective, Public Interest Litigation becomes fundamental as a way of achieving the enforcement of these rights and to some extent, social change. This practice took shape in most of the countries of the so-called Global South after the latest constitutional reforms. It then emerged there as a body of lawsuits oriented by the Public Interest and tending to give effect to the social rights promised in the Constitutions but violated in practice. However, the phenomenon is not exclusive to these countries, and we are beginning to see signs of this in the so-called climate change crisis litigation.

The first debates in the legal theory field were linked to the possibility of ensuring the judicial enforceability of these rights and to the role of the courts in this new scenario. The dialectic was oriented, centrally, towards the demonstration of the analogies that exist between civil and political rights, on the one hand, and social rights on the other. In practice, the lack of specific regulations replicated —at its turn— the existence of social inequalities. First because of the limited access to justice and then because of the overuse of the procedural instruments specific to individual rights.

JUICIO A LA DESIGUALDAD suggests an alternative view, which at the same time serves as a guide for the new forms of litigation emerging. For this, the author analyses the theoretical and institutional difficulties derived from social rights and suggests the elaboration of categories according to their speciality. She develops her argument in two parts, the first specifies the reasons why social rights should not be totally equated with civil and political rights, showing, instead, the convenience of a specific theoretical and procedural treatment. The second part is based on the experience of Public Interest Litigation and sets out the guidelines that will serve for the development of a collective procedural paradigm —with participatory and deliberative bases— that allows ensuring the effective protection of these rights.