Key Note Address by Roberto Gargarella: Can courts pursue social justice while respecting democracy?

Since ‘dialogic constitutionalism’ emerged in Canada in 1982 court around the world have developed similar and improved dialogic practices to promote democratic debate through judicial intervention. Advocates of deliberative democracy and critics of traditional forms of judicial review have hoped that these dialogic mechanisms would help enforce social rights and social justice in a democratic manner – but to what extent has this materialized?

The lecture critically analyzes the scope and limits of the practice of dialogic constitutionalism as it has emerged over the past decades, and asks how it can be improved.

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Prof Roberto Gargarella is a distinguished Argentine lawyer and sociologist and the author of numerous works on theories of democracy, political and legal philosophy. His last two books are The legal foundations of inequality (Cambridge UP 2010) and Latin American Constitutionalism (Oxford UP 2013). Roberto has doctoral degrees from Universidad de Buenos Aires (1991) and University of Chicago (1993) and Master Degrees from FLACSO (1990) and the University of Chicago (LLM, 1992). He pursued post-doctoral studies at Balliol College, Oxford, under the supervision of Professor Joseph Raz (1994), where he also worked with Professor G.A. Cohen, pursuing collaborative research with a group of ‘Analytical Marxists’, which he had begun in the US, together with Professors Jon Elster and Adam Przeworski. Roberto Gargarella is CONICET fellow and Professor of Law at Torcuato Di Tella, and Buenos Aires Universities in Argentina and has held visiting professorships at leading universities in Europe and the Americas including Harvard and Columbia (USA), ITAM (Mexico) Pompeu Fabra (Spain), Genoa (Italy) Oslo and Bergen (Norway). In 2014 he was the Leverhulme Trust Visiting Professor at University College London. Roberto is a long-term CMI affiliated researcher and a founding member and Global Fellow of the Centre on Law & Social Transformation.