FGV professors present papers on current law topics at law & society meeting

Themes such as family law, gender law, access to justice, the role of the Brazilian Supreme Court (STF) in politics, labor law, as well as issues like environmental disasters, STF's actions, and other topics were also discussed.
Law
20 June 2024
FGV professors present papers on current law topics at law & society meeting

A group of professors and researchers from Fundação Getulio Vargas’ Sao Paulo Law School took part in the 2024 edition of the Law & Society Association’s Annual Meeting, which occurred in Denver, Colorado between June 6 and 9. This year’s meeting commemorated the 60th anniversary of the LSA’s founding.

Experts from the school debated topics such as family law and gender law, access to justice, the role of the Federal Supreme Court in Brazilian politics and labor law, as well as environmental disasters, the Federal Supreme Court’s activities and other issues.

Family law and women’s rights

Vivianne Ferreira, a professor at the FGV Sao Paulo Law School, presented a paper called “Mothers as natural carers, fathers as voluntary providers: Social stereotypes of motherhood and fatherhood in Brazilian family law.” She started from the premise that Brazilian law considers motherhood to be a fact of nature, while fatherhood depends on a declaration of will or a court decision. Thus, there is a paradox between the advances brought to family law by the Federal Constitution, especially the guarantee of the fundamental right to gender equality, and the rules of the Civil Code and the Public Records Law. These rules are still based on the “traditional” family model, made up of father, mother and children, in which the role of each parent is well defined.

Environmental disasters and access to justice

A panel looked at case studies of two environmental disasters: erosion, earthquakes and damage across entire neighborhoods of Maceió, the Alagoas state capital, caused by the long-term extraction of rock salt by Braskem; and the heavy rains that hit São Sebastião in 2023, resulting in the deaths of 64 people and countless damage. Professors Maria Cecília de Araújo Asperti and Daniela Gabbay, with the collaboration of Susana Henriques da Costa, a professor at the University of Sao Paulo, presented a paper titled “Access to Justice and Structural Litigation in Disaster Cases,” which analyzed how the characteristics of disasters shape litigation and the actions of actors in the justice system.

Access to justice based on people’s experience

Professor Luciana Gross Cunha took part in a roundtable called “People-Centered Access to Justice: Global Insights,” which presented and discussed the production of data on people’s experiences of the judiciary and access to justice.

She spoke about the “Confidence in Justice Index,” a survey carried out between 2009 and 2021, which collected information on the Brazilian population’s perceptions of the functioning of the judiciary and their intention to submit everyday conflicts to the justice system.

The Federal Supreme Court’s role in Brazilian politics

Professor José Garcez Ghiradi presented a paper called “The Coriolanus effect? A critique of Federal Supreme Court decisions in the context of contemporary democratic crisis in Brazil,” in which he examined the influence of Federal Supreme Court decisions on the current moment in Brazilian politics, marked by a return to democratic normality.

He presented reasons for the criticism that the court has received in response to some of its most controversial decisions since 2012 (when it initiated the proceedings that led to the arrest of current president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva on corruption charges) until today (when it is deciding on a series of serious charges against former president Jair Bolsonaro).

Ghiradi also took part in a roundtable that discussed the book The Rule of Law and Authoritarian Populism – Erosion and Institutional Resistance in Brazil (2018-22), organized by Oscar Vilhena Vieira, Raquel de Mattos Pimenta, Fabio de Sa e Silva, and Marta Rodrigues de Assis Machado.

Labor law

Olivia Pasqualeto presented a paper called “Who are the workers for the International Labor Organization?” This study analyzed the personal scope adopted in the conventions, recommendations and comments of the supervisory bodies of the International Labor Organization. The aim was to understand who the ILO considers to be a worker and therefore who falls within the scope of international labor standards, and whether this scope has been broadened over the years.

The presentation was based on an extensive literature review, which concluded that the standard employment relationship is not a reality for the majority of workers and called into question the universality of international labor standards. The professor’s central hypothesis is that the personal scope is still quite restricted to “typical” employees but has gradually expanded and slowly involved other types of workers.

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