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Law and Vulnerabilities

Our research is based on two themes. We want to investigate how the judiciary treats people in vulnerable positions and how these people can make use of their legal rights. We are also interested in how the judicial system views individuals in relations to their context and to societal structures.

One general inquiry is how the vulnerable subject is taken care of in regulation, organisation and treatment. The possibility to make use of one’s right can be obstructed or aggravated in a vulnerable situation, as a child or youth or old, disabled, poor or homeless person. Our research focuses on the situations when two fundamental parts of the judicial system, the social welfare system and the criminal justice system, interact with vulnerable individuals. This investigation also includes the question how the judiciary can pay attention to and manage vulnerabilities in general.

Our research also focuses on the interaction between the legal tradition of looking at an individual apart from his or her surroundings and the actual practice in which information including the social surroundings affects the individual case. Our theoretical benchmark is that the individual should be seen as part of a context and not as an isolated unit. The assessment in the criminal justice system, as well as in the social welfare system, relies on theories and models of explanations that are more or less generalising and can be described as structural. We want to investigate how these structural explanations interact with the individual situation in the actual practice and how the judicial system manages the social aspects that surround the individual subject.

The programme has been initiated by Titti Mattsson and Ulrika Andersson.

The Law and Vulnerabilities Programme cooperates with several international institutes, among them Emory School of Law and Nagoya School of Law. The Emory Law School Programme, Vulnerability and the Human Condition, has inspired the thoughts behind our research.

Our programme is cross-disciplinary and we cooperate with the Department of Sociology, Sociology of Law and Centre for Gender Studies at Lund University, as well as with Stockholm University and the School of Business,

Economics and Law at Gothenburg University. The programme’s objective is to promote and develop the jurisprudence and the multi-disciplinary research in the field connected to Law and Vulnerabilities as well as to foster the interchange between jurisprudence and the practice of law.


Ulrika Andersson

ulrika [dot] andersson [at] jur [dot] lu [dot] se (ulrika[dot]andersson[at]jur[dot]lu[dot]se)

Titti Mattsson

titti [dot] mattsson [at] jur [dot] lu [dot] se (titti[dot]mattsson[at]jur[dot]lu[dot]se)