Department of Sociology
New Article

New article from Ingrid R. Lundeberg og Jan-Kåre Breivik


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Based on cases involving deaf people as complainants, victims, the indicted or as affected parties, we endeavour in this study to explore how the judiciary facilitates accessibility and participation during the court process and how it takes into account language differences when reviewing cases and as mitigating circumstances when deciding the outcome of the case.

The study is based on data from observations of court cases – both civil and criminal – on court documents and decisions, and on interviews with complainants, defendants and others involved in the judicial process. We focus in particular on one deaf man, Lars, who brought to court his compulsory admission (sectioning) to a psychiatric ward.

The cases can be understood as ‘critical events’ by addressing injustice in terms of communicative barriers that have led to debate within and outside of the deaf community.

The cases illuminate issues about accessibility, accountability and discrimination as well as the limits to and opportunities for individual and collective redress and legal activism through courts. We use the cases to discuss opportunities and inequalities inherent in the legal system and suggest multiple levels at which injustice.

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