03 / 1993
In order to ensure the confrontation of two "worlds", those of the law and the poor, "it is essential that a lawyer gets to meet other disciplines (such as sociology, psychology, economics...)so that they can explain to him the phenomenon of poverty correctly and perhaps even the phenomenon of law as well, from another point of view".
This constitutes the justification of the project carried out since 1988 in the framework of the Law School of Namur University (Belgium)by the Centre de Recherche Droit et Securité d’Existence = Law and Security of Existence Research Center. The work of this multidisciplinary team of ten persons, subsidized by the National Fund for Scientific Research, the Secretary of State for Social Emancipation and the General Saving and Pension Aid Fund, has a triple objective:
- information: "to make knowledge of the law accessible to those who are trying to avoid (or to get out of)social marginalisation";
- interdisciplinary study of the interaction between the law and poverty;
- legal philosophy, in relation to the question of marginality.
Different themes of research have been taken up:
a)work: practical research with social workers has made it possible to write legal cards on the theme "getting down to work". This research studies the relationship which law establishes between work and the fight against poverty.
b)residuary social security organisations: the realisation of a jurisprudence chronicle in order to clarify the law on the "Minimex" (minimum income needed for subsistence: State allowance for people without any income)and on social aid;
c)legal action carried out by groups: whereas currently legal actions can only be brought before the courts by litigants who have a personal interest in the case, it appears that severely underprivileged persons’ access to the law would be favoured by having groups proceed for them. A study is being carried out on the conditions under which this could be possible, and on the advantages and the inconveniences of such a reform of judicial law;
d)protection of the children of poor families : an examination of the link between the social reality of poverty and the welfare law, on the basis of a statistical study of the judgements;
e)human rights: philosophical study on the access to health care and on immigration;
f)an inquiry to evaluate the practices of the public centres of social aid;
The Centre also organises seminars on those themes for law students, as well as multidisciplinary "work sessions".
It has collaborated on the initiatives (research programs, meetings)of a dozen Belgian institutes and NGOs and is in contact with a certain number of organisations abroad.
This interesting initiative from the university sphere shows how lawyers are trying to get out of the purely legal logic and to open themselves up to other analytical methods and patterns, and to other problem areas, with academics from other disciplines as well as with social workers. However the real question is whether this research can come from the poor people’s own initiative and whether it is possible for them to contribute to such an initiative.
Original card in French in Dph data base. The ’title/sub-title’ field corresponds to the ’translated title’ field in the French card.
CENTRE DE RECHERCHE DROIT ET SECURITE D’EXISTENCE, faculté de droit Notre-Dame de la Paix de Namur, BELGIUM.
Centre de Recherche Droit et Sécurité d'existence, Le centre de Recherche droit et sécurité d'existence (Belgique), Centre de Recherche Droit, 1991/01/14 (Belgium)