Lisbon International Conference on Social Rights: Call for papers

Call for papers - Lisbon International Social Rights Conference-1

Call for papers




organised by


19th  & 20 May 2014

University of Lisbon School of Law

CONVENORS:  Miguel Nogueira de Brito, Raquel Brízida Castro,
Tiago Fidalgo de Freitas, Jorge Silva Sampaio

In early 1944 the victory of the Allied forces in World War II was almost certain. The
question was to know what would follow the bloodiest armed conflict that history had
ever known. It was in this context that, on January 11th
1944, U. S. President Franklin D.
Roosevelt launched his proposal for a ‘Second Bill of Rights’.

In his speech to the Congress on the state of the Union, Roosevelt began by stressing
«certain inalienable political rights», under whose sign the American republic was born.
But he recognised that those rights had proved to be inadequate, solely by themselves, to
ensure «equality in the pursuit of happiness». In his words:
«We have come to a clear realisation of the fact that true individual freedom cannot
exist without economic security and independence. “Necessitous men are not free men”.
People who are hungry and out of a job are the stuff of which dictatorships are made.
In our day these economic truths have become accepted as self-evident. We have
accepted, so to speak, a second Bill of Rights under which a new basis of security and
prosperity can be established for all regardless of station, race, or creed.

Among these are: The right to a useful and remunerative job in the industries or
shops or farms or mines of the Nation; The right to earn enough to provide adequate
food and clothing and recreation; The right of every farmer to raise and sell his
products at a return which will give him and his family a decent living; The right of
every businessman, large and small, to trade in an atmosphere of freedom from
unfair competition and domination by monopolies at home or abroad; The right of
every family to a decent home; The right to adequate medical care and the
opportunity to achieve and enjoy good health; The right to adequate protection from
the economic fears of old age, sickness, accident, and unemployment; The right to a
good education. All of these rights spell security.»

In Roosevelt’s words, «freedom from fear is eternally linked with freedom from want.»
It is this legacy that we want to celebrate.

The best way to do it is to deepen the meaning of
rights in a multidisciplinary reflection, in order to reach a clearer understanding of the
challenges of social rights in contemporary societies, especially the present European

The Conference will include three moments:
(i) A plenary session with speeches by four guest speakers;
(ii) A multidisciplinary session, with experts in Law, Political Theory and
Philosophy, Sociology and Economics; and
(iii) An interactive session led by a panel of commentators with the discussion of papers selected through an international call for papers.

The scholars who have confirmed their participation in the conference include MARK TUSHNET (Harvard Law School), JEFF KING (UCL Faculty of Laws), OCTÁVIO FERRAZ (Warwick School of Law), JORGE REIS NOVAIS (University of Lisbon School of Law), and JOÃO LOUREIRO (University of Coimbra School of Law).

The organisers invite the submission of paper proposals, among other topics, on: (1) the
welfare state crisis and its future, (2) the nature of social rights and its articulation with civil and political rights, (3) the justiciability of social rights and judicial review of public policies. Submissions from theoretical, comparative and national perspectives are welcome.


Post-doctoral and doctoral students interested in presenting a paper on these topics are
invited to submit an abstract (max. 500 words) and a short CV by 15  February 2014 at

Applicants will be notified of the results of the selection process by 25th February 2014.

The deadline for submitting papers is 27th April 2014.

Meals during the days of the conference and accommodation (two nights) will be provided

The accepted papers might subsequently be published by the Lisbon Centre for Research in Public Law.

For additional information, please check the conference’s website

( and/or contact:

Raquel Brízida Castro (;
Jorge Silva Sampaio (

See the .pdf version