Article: Public Interest Law in Contemporary Latin America

Article available on SSRN:

Staying Alive: Public Interest Law in Contemporary Latin America

Stephen Melli

http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=1518002

Abstract:

This paper explores the current state of public interest lawyering in three Latin American countries: Argentina, Brazil and Chile. Based on a series of open-ended interviews with lawyers, judges and social movement activists, it compares public interest lawyering in these countries now with how it was practiced when the author interviewed some of the same individuals in the early to mid 1990s. Its analysis is set within the context of important geopolitical and socio-legal phenomena: the current global economic crisis and the judicialization of politics and constitutionalization of rights that has swept across the region over the past two decades. The paper explores how these developments have influenced public interest lawyers, particularly in their interactions with various social movements. It also highlights the opportunities and challenges that these developments pose for public interest lawyers throughout Latin America.

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