Areas of Concentration

The program has two areas of concentration: the first one is related to the Master program: FUNDAMENTAL RIGHTS AND JUSTICE; and the second, to the Doctorate Program: CONSTITUTIONAL JURISDICTION AND NEW RIGHTS.
The area of concentration of the Master Program aims at developing research on the issues of Fundamental Rights that demand complex answers under its philosophical framework, and under its intentions of universality, due to the tension caused by systemic demands, which have been intensified within a context of deep inequalities between center and periphery in a global society.
In fact, in considering the protection of the individual, there is a demand for limits to the problematic frontier between public and private, beyond the impossibilities of metaphysics and the difficulties of the International Treaties and Courts. Thus, the Human Rights’ declaration finds under the Constitutional Law a protecting mission, in which the democratic constitution deviates the focus from its legitimization towards the possibilities of its accomplishment.    
In other words, we will go from the Human Rights to the Fundamental Rights, raising issues that range from the hermeneutic realm, considering its attribution of giving sense to the Constitution; from the procedure instruments of guarantee; from the social rights and access to justice; to the new dimensions of those rights, such as the environmental right, bioethics, and animal rights. 
On the path of this complementary relationship between those two thematic realms, while the Human Rights provide legitimacy and hetero-reference to the judicial world, the Fundamental Rights should make prevail, on beahalf of its principles and procedures, the cogent force of its facticity.
The complementarity between those two thematic spheres provides the development of research that can be inter-or-trans-disciplinary, broken down into categories that involve different kinds of problems.
According to Manoel Gonçalves Ferreira Filho, the fundamental rights, as human rights under a positivistic perspective, can be classified in three generations, or dimensions, as Bonavides prefers: the first would be the rights of freedom; the second, the rights of equality; the third, indeed, would complement the moto of the French Revolution: right of fraternity.
In fact, the first dimension comes up to put an end to the suppression of the individual rights by the absolute State, when the Declaration of the Rights of Mankind and of the Citizen affirms that all citizens are equal before the law, by acknowledging public freedom, which not only makes every man equal before the law, but also gives them the right to act as citizens, to be free to express themselves, to move themselves, to have properties, and make them available, assuring them, besides the constitutional guarantees, rights such as presumption of innocence, criminal legality and procedural legality.
According to Paulo Bonavides, the rights of first dimension are the rights of freedom held by individuals, being, therefore, opposed to the State. Such rights can be translated as the person’s competences and attributes. They hold subjectivity, which is their most remarkable feature, since they are rights of resistance or opposition to the State.
The second dimension came up at the end of the 19th century, due to the impact of industrialization, and the serious social and economic problems that followed it, giving rise to social movements led by the less favored classes, especially the working class.
According to Ferreira Filho, the nature of the social rights, as well as the public liberties, refer to subjective rights that are not mere powers to act – as it is typical of the public liberties in general – but they are powers to demand, in other words, credit rights that demand a State action.
On the other hand, the new dimensions of the human rights aroused from the  internationalization of rights, which end up by receiving protection that surpasses the borders of the States, such as the environmental right, and the consumer’s defense, which are demands proposed by the international community, seeking to achieve a pacific coexistence among different peoples.
Those rights, developed in the 20th century, applying to all individuals, become a common and diffuse interest that goes beyond collective ownership. They tend to protect human groups that are often undefined and undetermined. 
Such rights are supported by numerous international sources such as the International Covenant on Political and Civil Rights (1966), the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights (1981), the Charter of Paris for a New Europe, as well as, the American Convention on Human Rights (1969).
Besides those rights, new dimensions come up with the rise of the global society, such as the right to peace, to peoples’ self-determination, to quality of life, to the environment, to the use and conservation of cultural and historical assets, to communication, to Bioethics, as well as, the rights that are beyond humanity itself, such as the Animal Right.
The latter, for instance, has been receiving especial consideration by the current program that was the first in the country to have a research line, a research group, and specific courses focused on this issue, thus making the program a world reference on the subject.
The area of concentration of the Doctorate Program is CONSTITUTIONAL JURISDICTION AND NEW RIGHTS, whose objet is the accomplishment of the new fundamental rights by the Judicial Department. In fact, once the Constitution of 1988 ceased to be a promise and became a norm, many people take their principles and norms to demand their claims, to be considered and supported by the Judicial Department.
This effectiveness has encouraged confrontation with the phenomenon of political judicialization or judicial activism, which are expressions initially used to describe the role of judges and courts within the political system of the USA, regarding a series of historical decisions in favor of equal protection and substantial due process rights, such as the inclusion of black students in public universities, abortion, and marriage between homosexuals.
The same has been the case in the German Constitutional Court that, during the post-World War II period, enacted a new constitutional text, and has been developing new juridical paradigms for the implementation and the objective effectivenes of the constitutional principles that express new fundamental rights, embedding in the juridical world new legal concepts and institutionss like “objective order of values”, “horizontal effectiveness”, “proportionality”, “moderation”, “existential minimum”, “reservation of the possible”, among others.
Also, the Italian new constitutional order, post-World War II, has surpassed the paradigm of the negative legislator, by using the so called “additive sentences”, aiming at filling the legislative omissions. They end up creating new rights judicially.
In Latin America, this discussion has been highlighted since the 90’s, when there was a reestablishment of the Legal Democratic State in the continent, especially considering the Brazilian experience, besides the courts of Colombia and Costa Rica.
In Brazil, the phenomenon of juditialization, as a process of controlling the political issues by the Judicial Department, has enticed the overcoming of the individualistic juridical paradigm, in which judges compete only to apply general norms edited by the legislators in relation to individual conflicts, since the implementation of the public policies should be under the responsibility of the Executive Department.
In Brazil, the pro-active behavior of the courts resulted in political decisions, such as the decriminalization of anencephalic abortion, the non-reception of the old press law, the authorization of therapeutic research with stem cells, the prohibition of rooster fights, as well as, of bull feasts, etc.
According to Luiz Roberto Barroso, the phenomenon of judicialization was drafted by our own Constitution as it established numerous rights with the status of a constitutional norm, leading the Judicial Department to adopt measures contrary to the public policies of the Executive Department, or making legislative acts non-valid. The judicialization or political activism counterpoises itself to the “judicial self- contention”, where the magistrates act conservatively regarding the control of the constitutionality of the normative acts – making it non-valid only when the unconstitutionality is expressed – and trying not to interfere in the public policies by the State[1]. 
To Andreas Krell, “under the strong judicial activism, the decisions are intersected by the magistrates’ individual appraisement, whereas under a moderate judicial activism”, through an extensive interpretation of the principle-logical constitutional norms, the Judicial Department can interfere in the competences of the other State Departments in a proactive way.[2]
This reveals the symbolic forces of its demands, in a way that the maintenance of the crisis, concerning its effectiveness, demands critical reflections that surpass the frontiers of the strategic acting that surround this discourse. 
The acknowledgement of the Constitution’s normative force, together with its feature of commitment and guideline, has induced the increase of the social demands supported by the mechanisms of access to justice, giving way to the accomplishment of the fundamental rights. 
Under this perspective, we have watched the use of the judicial path to fulfill the gaps left by the public power, which have induced a series of criticisms to this new position of the Judicial Department, as if it has been taking over powers that had not been given by the constitution, therefore invading the sphere of competence of the Legislative and Executive Deparments. 
[1] BARROSO, Luis Roberto. Judicialização, Ativismo Judicial e Legitimidade Democrática. Revista Atualidades Jurídicas – Revista Eletrônica do Conselho federal da OAB. ED. 4 Janeiro/Fevereiro 2009. Avalilable at :
[2] KRELL, Andreas J. Para além do fornecimento de medicamentos para indivíduos – O exercício da cidadania juridical como resposta à falta de efetivação dos direitos sociais: em defesa de um ativismo judicial moderado no controle de políticas públicas. O Judiciário e o discurso dos direitos humanos, vol. 2. Recife:UFPE, 2012.p.151