Strengthening the democratic rule of law through the realization of human dignity in judicial proceedings
izr. prof. dr. Petra Kleindienst
Javna agencija za raziskovalno dejavnost RS
Project type: Postdoctoral research project
Project duration: 24 months
Start of the project: 1 September 2020
End of the project: 31 August 2022
Brief project description:
The project focuses on the concept of human dignity and democratic discourse in relation to it. The legal dimension of human dignity is particularly relevant in a democratic context, where human dignity is placed at the center. By positioning human dignity at the heart of a democratic state, it meets not only the demands of so-called formal democracy, but also pursues what is known as substantive (constitutional) democracy, whose fundamental basis is human dignity. The Constitutional Court of the Republic of Slovenia states that “the principle of democracy defines the Republic of Slovenia as a substantive democracy, that is, as a state in which the conduct of state authorities is legally limited by constitutional principles and human rights and fundamental freedoms, precisely because the individual and his or her dignity are at the center of its existence and operation. In a constitutional democracy, the individual is the subject and not the object of state action, and the realization of the individual as a human being is the fundamental purpose of democratic governance” (US RS, U-I-109/10).
This project is focused on “realized dignity” (Kleindienst 2017), which is manifested as an individual’s relationship with themselves and others (and vice versa). More specifically, the project examines the realization of human dignity in so-called vertical relationships (individual-state), namely in the relationship between the individual and the judiciary. The project seeks to answer two research questions:
How can the judiciary positively influence the realization of human dignity for individuals in the course of legal proceedings?
What is the state of respect for human dignity in the relationship between the judiciary and the individual in the Republic of Slovenia?
General project objective:
To detect indicators of the realization of human dignity in the relationship between the judiciary and the individual, or to develop a measurement instrument for the realization of human dignity in legal proceedings. In addition, the general objective of the project is to provide findings (based on a case study of Slovenia) on how the judiciary can contribute to the realization of an individual’s human dignity through its practices, actions, and articulations during legal proceedings, and thus to the (further) development of a democratic legal state. Both general objectives point to the originality of the project, as there is a lack of research on the realization of human dignity in relation to the relationship between the individual and the judiciary. The project also offers opportunities for the development of new research directions on the issue of the realization of human dignity.
The project is divided into three project phases (F):
F1: Formation of a theoretical framework and preparation for conducting research
F2: Implementation of research
F3: Data analysis, dissemination of results, and preparation of publications.
The program of the project work consists of 9 interrelated work packages:
Description of project implementation phases:
In the first 10 months of the project, the first phase of the project (F1: Designing a theoretical framework and preparing for research implementation) was successfully completed. This phase included a review of relevant literature, a systematic analysis of existing theoretical and empirical research in this field, and an analysis of relevant (constitutional) case law. Thus, a precise operationalization of the research was carried out, with a plan for data collection being developed.
This was followed by the second phase of the project (F2: Implementation of empirical research), which included a qualitative study, namely semi-structured interviews with participants in legal proceedings, with a focus on criminal proceedings.
In the third phase of the project (F3: Design and presentation of empirical research results), the analysis of qualitative data was carried out using appropriate computer software, or content analysis of interview transcripts and synthesis of the results obtained with the theoretical framework. This phase of the project aimed to provide concluding findings on the contribution of the judicial branch to the realization of human dignity of individuals in the course of legal proceedings. The appropriate materials and documents were designed to achieve the highest level of realization of human dignity of individuals in legal proceedings.
All phases of the project were successfully implemented according to the planned timeline. The project has been completed. Dissemination of project results will continue even after the project is completed.
Main bibliographic references of the project leader related to the project content:
KLEINDIENST, Petra. Strengthening the democratic rule of law through the realization of human dignity in legal proceedings: lecture at the Social Science Summer School 2022, Faculty of Applied Social Studies, 5. 9. – 13. 9. 2022, Nova Gorica, Slovenia. [COBISS.SI-ID 120258307]
KLEINDIENST, Petra. Realization of human dignity in legal proceedings: lecture at the Social Science Summer School 2022, Faculty of Applied Social Studies, 30. 5. – 10. 6. 2022, Nova Gorica, Slovenia. [COBISS.SI-ID 112423939]
KLEINDIENST, Petra. The realization of human dignity in judicial proceedings: presentation at the 14th Slovenian Social Science Conference, Back to history: coping with re-emerging social challenges for humanity, June 17-18, 2022, Slovenia. [COBISS.SI-ID 112417539]
KLEINDIENST, Petra, TOMŠIČ, Matevž. Human dignity as the foundation of democratic political culture: legal and philosophical perspective. Law, culture and the humanities: a publication of the Association for the study of law, culture and humanities. 2022, vol. 18, iss. 2, pp. 385-404. ISSN 1743-8721. Doi: 10.1177/1743872117738229.
KLEINDIENST, Petra. 2017. Understanding the Different Dimensions of Human Dignity: Analysis of the Decision of the Constitutional Court of the Republic of Slovenia on the “Tito Street Case”. DANUBE: Law and Economics Review 8 (3), pp. 117–137. Doi: 10.1515/danb-2017-0009.
KLEINDIENST, Petra. 2019. Historical foundations of the modern paradigm of human dignity. Phainomena: glasilo Fenomenološkega društva v Ljubljani 28 (108/109), pp. 259-282. doi: 10.32022/PHI28.2019.108-109.11.
Other bibliographic references of the project leader are available in the SICRIS database.