POSTPONED: Research Seminar in Sociology of Law with Stefanie Lemke
The Sociology of Law Department arranges a series of research seminars inviting both local and international researchers who are conducting state of the art research within various areas of law and society.
This seminar has been postponed until 16 November 2022.
Human Rights Lawyers and the Rule of Law in Europe
The presentation explores the shrinking space for civil society activists and their defenders. Drawing from various case studies, it sheds light on the widespread judicial harassment of lawyers representing activists and other government critics. The liberal order being undermined by populist politicians in many parts of the world, there is strong evidence that governments abuse their powers and use the judiciary to stigmatize and criminalize civil society activists for their work. As a consequence, it became increasingly difficult for lawyers to exercise their profession. Lawyers report that they are given only little time to prepare the defence of their clients and are disbarred for complaining about the unjust course of proceedings. Azerbaijan and Russia, for instance, have a long history of politically motivated convictions against anti-government voices and being reminded by the international community to comply with international human rights standards. Yet local courts found the Azerbaijani lawyer Rasul Jafarov guilty of forgery and other offences after he had criticized the Azerbaijani government at a Council of Europe event and Team 29, a Russian NGO known for taking cases involving high-profile figures like the Russian opposition politician Alexei Navalny, was forced to close its association amid fears of prosecution. Against this background, the presentation looks at the relationship between lawyers and judges. It concludes with a critical assessment of the current international human rights system to tackle judicial wrongdoing more effectively.
Dr. Stefanie Lemke is an expert on human rights and the rule of law. An academic and a lawyer by training, she has worked for more than 15 years with a wide range of key stakeholders including governments, leading research groups, NGOs, commercial law firms, and international organizations like the UN. She completed her PhD at Oxford, London, and Cologne Universities.
Dr. Lemke has held various positions of visiting professor and fellow at academic institutions, including with the International Institute for the Sociology of Law (IISL). She is a member of several international expert groups and acts regularly as an adviser to the UNDP, the Council of Europe, the European Commission, among others.