Research Groups // Justice, Regulation and Society

  • Coordination:
    Paula Borges Santos
  • Objectives:

    Justice and its respective mechanisms naturally occupy an important place in the conception and organization of contemporary societies. Portugal is a case in point of this centrality, running through a large part of the nineteenth century and continuing up to our own times. We can note the importance that the law and legal training have in the educational and the professional pathways of the Portuguese political elite, and thus how politics is conceived, mapped out and experienced.

    Even so, and despite repeated “crises of justice” reported in the media, it is clear that this area remains largely ignored by historians, a situation not unrelated to the sources being scattered or inaccessible and to the apparent complexity and degree of specialization of the questions raised, particularly on account of its close relationship to the law and the history of law.

    In view of these factors, the main objectives of the Research Group are:

    – to contribute to the development of historical studies of the Portuguese judicial system, the relationship between the justice system and society, and the normative and regulatory mechanisms that structured Portuguese social life;

    – to disseminate both locally and internationally the results of its researches, by means of:

    a) Portuguese national publications;

    b) international publications, particularly recognized academic journals;

    c) the World Wide Web and other digital tools;

    d) national and international conferences;

    e) the training of young researchers in this field of study;

    f) contacts between Portuguese researchers and those from other countries of the European Union and beyond who are working on topics in common with the Research Group.

    – to stimulate a dialogue with civil society, in order to:

    a) bring together researchers and those actually working in the field of justice, with the aim of increasing awareness in respect of the identification and handling of themes and problems in conducting historical research;

    b) promote the safeguarding and respect for material held in archives, libraries, museums and the architecture of the judiciary;

    c) use the knowledge gained to contribute to the production of useful insights into the formulation of public policy, both at national and at European level, with a view to reinforcing public safety, the struggle against criminality, the fight against poverty and discrimination, and for the guaranteeing of human rights and fundamental liberties.

  • Researchers:




    Academic degree

    University/ Main UI

    Alfredo Ladeira Caldeira

    Full member



    Cristina Caldeira

    Full member



    Cristina Rodrigues

    Full member



    Filomena Bandeira

    Full member

    Master/ doctoral student


    Irene Flunsel Pimentel

    Full member



    Luciano Aronne de Abreu

    Associated researcher


    Pontifícia Universidade Católica de Rio Grande do Sul

    Luís Eloy de Azevedo

    Full member



    Miguel Ángel Giménez Martínez

    Associated researcher


    Universidad de Castilla-La Mancha

    Nuno Andrade

    Full member



    Paula Borges Santos

    Full member



    Tiago Pires Marques

    Associated researcher



  • Other Projects:

    Projects awaiting the result of applications for public funding

    Political Order and Constitutional Configuration in Brazil and Portugal: Executive and Legislative Powers, 1891–1989


    Application: FCT/ CAPES, 2014

    Teams: Portugal – Paula Borges Santos (coord.), Cristina Rodrigues, Francisco Bairrão and Adolfo Cueto; Brazil – Luciano Aronne de Abreu (coord.), Cássio Albernaz, Camila Comerlato Santos, Cláudia Maria Ribeiro Viscardi, Luís Carlos dos Passos Martins, Janyne Martini, Leandro Pereira Gonçalves, Marçal de Menezes Paredes, Ronaldo Pereira de Jesus and Valéria Marques Lobo.

    Presentation: In recent years the nations of the European Union and beyond have witnessed a deteriorating situation of economic, social and political crisis. In Portugal, as a result of the financial and economic crisis that has hit the country since 2008, and of the subsequent intervention of the International Monetary Fund and the European Bank, we have seen the reaction of various sectors of society, with criticisms of the loss of sovereignty, a questioning of the solutions sought by the executive, a discussion of the role of Parliament in challenging the austerity measures, a discussion of the structural failures in European integration and of Portugal’s future position in the project for constructing a European community. The crisis also raised questions of political leadership and the boundaries between political and technocratic decision-making. In a short time new constitutional questions were also raised, provoked by the legal aspects of the crisis. In Brazil too, the emergence of successive corruption scandals involving leading politicians and the formulation of certain policies have led to greater critical awareness by citizens of the decisions by the authorities, and to widespread public protests. In both these countries, the legitimacy of public values and institutions, particularly the organs of sovereignty, has been challenged.

    In the course of their history both countries have seen moments of crisis, during which governmental and parliamentary practices have been put into question. Some of these moments have led to regime change and the founding of a new constitutional order, in which the executive and legislative powers have been reformulated. In other cases, the evolution of the political system took place by way of partial alterations in the authority overseeing those of the executive and parliament, through constitutional revisions. What differences are there between the crisis of the modern-day political systems and other historical crises? What solutions were adopted in order to increase confidence in political institutions and leaderships? What perception did citizens have of executive and parliamentary powers? What challenges did legislators face when they defined the features of executive and legislative power in Portugal and Brazil? How were those powers related? Did the twentieth century witness an increase in the power of executives over parliaments? This project responds to these questions by encouraging the comparative study of executive and parliamentary organization. By examining earlier solutions adopted for establishing the competencies of executives and parliaments and for defining a model of institutional and political functioning, and how crises in the political system were then handled, we hope to construct a long-term and connected vision that can assist in formulating political strategies and activities in order to make a democracy that is stronger and more attractive to its citizens.

    Post-doctoral projects in progress

    The Chambers of Political Representation in the Authoritarian and Fascist Regimes: Portugal, Spain and Italy, 1992–1976

    Researcher: Paula Borges Santos

    Start date: April 2013

    Financing: Fundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia (Portugal)

    Abstract: The consolidation of the dictatorial regimes in Portugal, Spain and Italy during the inter-war period led to a complete reorganization of the political systems in those countries. The juridical basis of the state was refounded, the legislative and executive powers were redistributed, and new chambers of political representation were put in place. In Portugal, Salazar established the National Assembly as the legislative body with a Corporative Chamber to serve as a consultative body both for it and for the government; they functioned between 1935 and 1974. In Spain, Franco institutionalized the Cortes Españoles, which, though retaining the traditional name of the parliamentary chamber, followed a new organic model, and functioned between 1942 and 1976. In Italy, Mussolini, after a period in which he retained the Camera dei deputati del Regno d’Italia (1922–1939), replaced it with the Camera dei Fasci e delle Corporazioni (1939–1943). This latter chamber worked alongside the Senate, retained as a consultative body, though wholly “fascized” after the reforms of 1939.

    The objective of this project is to understand the role played by the chambers of political representation in the authoritarian and fascist regimes that emerged in Portugal, Spain and Italy in the inter-war period, with particular reference to their relationship to the state, and more specifically to their governments. Examining this relationship can help to interpret the modern dictatorial states, since the configuration of the political chambers in these regimes represented a novelty in comparison to pre-dictatorial models. These institutions are studied not merely as political structures; attention is paid also to their position in society and to their political role, concretely in their involvement in political decision-making. In order to reveal the functions and interactions of the chambers of political representation in the construction of public policy, a qualitative and quantitative assessment is made of their legislative output. The political role of the two chambers in also related, for each country, to the construction of the corporative project of the respective states.

    This project is undertaken two-thirds in Portugal, under the supervision of Fernando Rosas, at the IHC (Institute of Contemporary History), of the Universidade Nova, Lisbon. The remaining time is spent in Italy, at the Università degli Studi della Tuscia, Viterbo, under the supervision of Maurizio Ridolfi.

  • Activity:

    Documentary sources for the history of justice in contemporary Portugal

    Organizers: Alfredo Caldeira and Filomena Bandeira

    Place: FCSH – UNL, Auditorium 1, level 1, Tower B

    Date: 9 & 10 December 2014

    Presentation: This initiative aims to encourage an examination of documentary sources for the history of justice in an integrated perspective, using not only textual documentation but also photographs, film and video, collections and stocks of objects and equipment, and other resources related to the built environment and seats of justice, whether still in use or not.

    In this way it is hoped to gain a broader vision of the heritage, whether archival, bibliographical or material, in the possession of institutions responsible for the administration of justice and other agents, as well as those concerned with the conservation, safeguarding and display of movable and fixed property of historical and social interest, who may have at their disposal archives and collections of interest for the history of justice.

    In order to fulfil the above objectives we hope to count on the participation of the main institutions that hold documentary sources for the history of justice and of individuals with political responsibilities in the area of justice.

  • Links:

    Association Française pour l’Histoire de la Justice

    Centre d’Histoire du Droit et de la Justice (CHDJ), Universidade Católica de Louvain (Bélgica)

    Centre d'Histoire des Régulations Sociales (CHRS), Universidade do Québec, Montréal


    Centre de Recherche sur l’Etat et la Constitution (CRECO) , Universidade Católica de Louvain (Bélgica)

     Centro de Investigação & Desenvolvimento sobre Direito e Sociedade

    Criminocorpus: Histoire de la justice, des crimes et des peines

    Politique, culture, société. Revue électronique.

    Groupement Européen de Recherches sur les Normativités (GERN)

    Grupo de Pesquisa: Direito e História: Políticas de Memória e Justiça de Transição (Brasil)

    Grupo de Pesquisa: Direito à Verdade e à Memória e Justiça de Transição  (Brasil)

    Grupo de Pesquisa: Estado, Direito e História (Brasil)

    Grupo de Pesquisa: História do Direito e das Instituições (Brasil)

    Grupo de Pesquisa: História do Crime, da Polícia e da Justiça Criminal (Brasil)

     Grupo de Pesquisa: Memória, Justiça e Poder (Brasil)

    Institut des Sciences Humaines et Sociales (INSHS) /CNRS

    Champ Pénal/Penal Field

    International Association for the History of Crime and Criminal Justice.

    Crime, History & Societies 

    Observatório Permanente da Justiça Portuguesa;id_lingua=1&pag=6295

    Poder Judiciário Estado do Rio de Janeiro

    Revista DIREITO GV – Fundação Getúlio Vargas, Escola de Direito de São Paulo 

    Revue d'histoire de l'enfance "irrégulière"