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  • Cited by 2
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    This article has been cited by the following publications. This list is generated based on data provided by CrossRef.

    Revillard, Anne 2016. Social Movements and the Politics of Bureaucratic Rights Enforcement: Insights from the Allocation of Disability Rights in France. Law & Social Inquiry, p. n/a.

    Vanhala, Lisa 2011. Special Issue Social Movements/Legal Possibilities.

  • Canadian Journal of Political Science, Volume 42, Issue 4
  • December 2009, pp. 981-1002

Disability Rights Activists in the Supreme Court of Canada: Legal Mobilization Theory and Accommodating Social Movements

  • Lisa Vanhala (a1)
  • DOI:
  • Published online: 14 December 2009

Abstract. Disability rights organizations have been active participants before the Supreme Court of Canada (SCC) since the mid-1980s but they have been completely neglected in the literature on social movement legal mobilization. This paper seeks to remedy this lacuna by providing an overview of the litigation activity of the main disability rights organizations. It builds on an emerging complementary theoretical perspective for understanding the participation by movement actors in the Court. Through an analysis of shared and contested collective meaning frames within and across social movement organizations we can complement existing theoretical explanations for the overall development of legal mobilization by social movement actors.

Résumé. Les organismes du mouvement de défense des droits des personnes handicapées prennent une part active aux litiges devant la Cour suprême du Canada depuis le milieu des années quatre-vingt. Toutefois, on ne retrouve pas trace de ce mouvement dans la littérature sur la mobilisation des acteurs collectifs dans les lieux juridiques. Le présent article vient combler cette lacune en analysant les activités du mouvement dans ce domaine. L'article s'appuie sur une perspective théorique novatrice et complémentaire qui s'intéresse particulièrement aux rôles que jouent les idées organisationnelles et les relations intra-organisationnelles (conflictuelles ou de coopération) au sein du mouvement. L'article met de l'avant une explication qui combine ces deux facteurs pour mieux expliquer les tendances activistes de participation aux litiges par rapport aux analyses «classiques» qui ne prennent en compte que les ressources ou le contexte politique.

Corresponding author
Lisa Vanhala, Centre for the Study of Human Rights, London School of Economics and Political Science, Houghton Street, London WC2A 2AE,
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Thomas Hansford . 2004. “Information provision, organizational constraints, and the decision to submit an Amicus curiae brief in a US Supreme Court case.” Political Research Quarterly 57(2): 219–30.

Katharina Heyer . 2002. “The ADA on the Road: Disability Rights in Germany.” Law and Social Inquiry 27(4): 723–62.

Chris Hilson . 2002. “New Social Movements: The Role of Legal Opportunity.” Journal of European Public Policy 9(2): 238–55.

Thomas Holyoke . 2003. “Choosing battlegrounds: Interest group lobbying across multiple venues.” Political Research Quarterly 56(3): 325–36.

Troy Riddell . 2004. “The Impact of Legal Mobilization and Judicial Decisions: The Case of Official Minority-Language Education Policy in Canada for Francophones outside Quebec.” Law and Society Review 38(3): 583610.

Miriam Smith . 2002. “Ghosts of the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council: Group Politics and Charter Litigation in Canadian Political Science.” Canadian Journal of Political Science 35(1): 329.

Miriam Smith . 2005. “Social Movements and Judicial Empowerment: Courts, Public Policy, and Lesbian and Gay Organizing in CanadaPolitics and Society 33(2): 327–53.

David A. Snow , Burke Rochford Jr., Steven K. Worden and Robert D. Benford . 1986. “Frame Alignment Processes, Micromobilization, and Movement Participation.” American Sociological Review 51: 464–81.

Rorie Solberg and Eric Waltenburg . 2006. “Why do interest groups engage the judiciary? Policy wishes and structural needs.” Social Science Quarterly 87: 558–72.

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Canadian Journal of Political Science/Revue canadienne de science politique
  • ISSN: 0008-4239
  • EISSN: 1744-9324
  • URL: /core/journals/canadian-journal-of-political-science-revue-canadienne-de-science-politique
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