Legal Profession and the Nation-State: What Role for Access to Justice and Guarantee of Rights?
dos Santos, Élida
Faculty of Economy/Center of Social Studies University of Coimbra Coimbra, Portugal
At present, if the influence of transnational processes and their impact on the national structure is an inescapable fact, the centrality of the nation-state can not be ignored. Accordingly, on one hand, there is increasingly a reconfiguration of professionalism and regulatory structures, and on the other hand, the national regulation and the "old" professions related to the state play yet an important role in respect of guarantee of rights and their access. This paper aims to examine the role of legal professions in a context of transformation of the state and role of the courts. The role played by legal professions in ensuring access to law and justice is its main axis of analysis. The following hypothesis will guide the arguments of the paper: if the context of risk, precarity and complexity of contemporary societies reveals the weakness of the nation-state at the same time it calls for strong action for the protection and guarantee of rights, access to rights and to justice will rely especially with the configuration of their legal professions as well as its proactivity. The paper will focus on analyzing the performance of public defenders and attorneys in order to allow comparison of the functioning of a professional public system and a private system of access to justice. The comparative work will be extended to compare different contexts for enforcement of rights that also indicate the different joints with transnational processes. Accordingly, will be made a comparative study between Portuguese and Brazilian cases, which will allow to compare two semiperipherical societies with a common legal matrix, of which context of implementation and effectiveness of rights challenge the professional and regulatory structure of the nation-state.