The Sociological Concept Of Judicial Legitimacy: Notes on Latin American Constitutional Courts

Alba Rubial


This note presents a survey of the main issues discussed in the literature on judicial legitimacy from a sociological perspective. It focuses on the factors that may affect the legitimacy of judicial organs, and in particular that can influence diffuse support for courts. It offers a theoretical framework for the analysis of the legitimacy of constitutional courts in Latin America. Based on the theoretical and empirical findings in the literature, the note argues that in order to increase their legitimacy, constitutional courts in Latin America should give special attention to questions of transparency and accountability in their procedures and decision-making.


Sociological legitimacy; diffuse support; judicial accountability; Constitutional Courts; Latin America

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