Trusted courts or distrusting judges? A socio-legal inquiry on judicial activism in Brazil

This paper analyses from a socio-legal perspective how perceptions of low-quality of government and corruption influence people’s view of the Brazilian bureaucracy and, in particular, how judges perceive the quality of the public policy system. And, as a consequence, how these perceptions inform their decision to grant claims seeking individual rights. The argument I present here is that the general belief that the Brazilian political system does not work, and that more generally politicians are untrustworthy, erodes people’s trust in the system and fuels legal actors’ disposition to intervene. In the particular case of judges, their lack of knowledge and experience with policymaking, combined with distrust in the goodwill of politicians fuels their decision to grant the lawsuits filed against the government.