» Posts tagged: ‘legal mobilization

GGSJ Senior researcher, Jeff Handmaker has been presenting his research on legal mobilization at several different events.

JeffHandmakerISSIn December 2014, Handmaker and Arts were awarded a 5-year matching research grant (September 2015 – 2020) to collaborate with colleagues at the Erasmus School of Law and Erasmus Faculty of Culture and History. This led to the creation of the INFAR (Integrating Normative and Functional Approaches to the Rule of Law) project, led by ESL colleague Prof. Sanne Taekema which was launched in September 2015. The project includes a focus on legal mobilization.

An interview was also done for an article on legal mobilization and climate change for the Dutch magazine De Groene Amsterdammer.

In November 2015, Jeff co-organised a Symposium at ISS on legal mobilization with Erasmus Mundus Visiting Scholar to the ISS Lauren Paremoer. The event, in which the International Development Law Organization (IDLO) was a co-sponsor, involved various reflections on the theme, including contributions from GGSJ Senior Researcher Helen Hintjens as well as CIRI Senior Researcher Peter Knorringa. A report of this Symposium is available here.

On 14 January 2016, Handmaker presented on a similar theme, with a focus on corporate accountability, at the Annual Meeting (Jaarcongres) of the Dutch-Flemish Socio-Legal Studies Association and on 28 January 2016, Handmaker presented a further, related paper at the INFAR conference on “Changing Narratives of the Rule of Law: Historical and Contemporary Perspectives”.


GGSJ Visiting Scholar (2015) and renowned lawyer, Antonio Oposa and Senior Researcher Dr. Jeff Handmaker were both interviewed in a 10-column feature article of the Dutch magazine De Groene Amsterdammer.

Oposa described his many decades of work as a lawyer, social mobiliser and environmental rights advocate. Oposa brought numerous, ground-breaking cases in the Philippines is credited with establishing what has become known as “The Oposa Doctrine”, namely the right of children to initiate legal actions on their behalf and on behalf of generations yet unborn. Oposa was quoted:

The law can be a powerful force for social change.

Handmaker, who used to practice law and now conducts research at ISS on legal mobilisation, explained how lawyers need to grapple with the political side of their work, in order to better understand the strategic potential of legal advocacy. Making a distinction between the political and the tendency of some to politicise legitimate legal claims, he was quoted:

Law is inherently political, although some lawyers would prefer not to face up to this.


Public Seminar at ISS, co-sponsored by ISS-GGSJ and Greenpeace

oposaDate: Wed, 7 October 2015
Time: 16.15 – 17.30 hrs.
Venue: ISS (The Hague)

Tony Oposa, who joins the ISS GGSJ Research Group as a short-term visiting scholar in 2015, is a well-known environmental law activist from the Philippines. His work is internationally noted for the cases he fought to protect the Philippines’ natural patrimony. In 1990, he initiated a case to seek protection of his country’s tropical rainforests. The Oposa case was brought on behalf of both current and future generations of children. It challenged the Philippines’ government practice of issuing massive timber logging concessions licenses, which had among others resulted in rapid deforestation, floods and displacement of indigenous people. Ultimately, Tony won the case and made the Supreme Court of the Philippines formulate the concept of inter-generational responsibility, the right to a balanced and healthful ecology and the notion of inter-generational responsibility to preserve that ecology. The fact that the children involved were recognized in their right to sue, on their own behalf and on behalf of generations yet unborn, was a major achievement for environmental law and legal action. Various other cases and courses of action followed since. At present Tony is among others involved in initiatives to persuade the UN General Assembly to request an Advisory Opinion from the International Court of Justice (based in The Hague) that would clarify the obligations of states in relation to climate change.

In this seminar Tony will share his stories and experiences in standing up for climate justice for future generations with you. If you are interested in environmental action, legal mobilization and/or children’s rights, please join in!

Contact person: Professor Karin Arts.

International Institute of Social Studies

The Governance, Globalization and Social Justice research programme aims to produce internationally leading, socially committed and societally relevant research outcomes on issues of governance from an explicitly social justice perspective. This blog is a forum on which to share and discuss themes and issues which fall within the broad framework of the programme.