Shifting Legal Visions -

Shifting Legal Visions

Judicial Change and Human Rights Trials in Latin America

By Ezequiel A. Gonzalez-Ocantos



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What explains the success of criminal prosecutions against former Latin American officials accused of human rights violations? Why did some judiciaries evolve from unresponsive bureaucracies into protectors of victim rights? Using a theory of judicial action inspired by sociological institutionalism, this book argues that this was the result of deep transformations in the legal preferences of judges and prosecutors. Judicial actors discarded long-standing positivist legal criteria, historically protective of conservative interests, and embraced doctrines grounded in international human rights law, which made possible innovative readings of constitutions and criminal codes. Litigants were responsible for this shift in legal visions by activating informal mechanisms of ideational change and providing the skills necessary to deal with complex and unusual cases. Through an in-depth exploration of the interactions between judges, prosecutors and human rights lawyers in three countries, the book asks how changing ideas about the law and standards of adjudication condition the exercise of judicial power.

Product code: 9781107145238

ISBN 9781107145238
Dimensions (HxWxD in mm) H235xW158xS22
No. Of Pages 342
Publisher Cambridge University Press
Series Cambridge Studies in Law and Society
Through an in-depth exploration of the interactions between judges, prosecutors and lawyers in three Latin American countries, Shifting Legal Visions asks how changing ideas about the law condition the outcome of human rights trials and the exercise of judicial power more broadly.