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Litigating fundamental rights violations before the courts in Europe : The role of civil society in Bulgaria

Bridging the gap between legal mobilization and the rule of law literature, with this paper I aim to enhance the understanding whether and when civil society actors resort to legal mobilization beyond the country’s borders to address fundamental rights violations, in the context of democratic backsliding. While there is ample literature on legal mobilization, there is little empirical evidence and theoretical understanding on how the erosion of democracy impacts the decisions and strategies of civil society actors to resort to legal mobilization at supranational and international level. The paper focuses on Bulgaria, where there have been significant signs of democracy backsliding over the last decade. On the basis of interviews with civil society, representatives of donor organizations and lawyers, this paper aims to ‘peek’ into civil society perceptions of and experiences with legal mobilization, to discover their hurdles and possible avenues for mobilizing EU/international law, as well as the risks and benefits they associate with such strategic tool, especially when the rule of law is under threat.

Keywords: legal mobilization, fundamental rights, democratic backsliding, civil society, Central and Eastern Europe



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re:constitution Working Papers


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