Law, Security and Democracy

Law, Security and Democracy
To study security issues within a transdisciplinary logic, in which the legal and extra-legal dimensions are assumed to be ambivalent.



Participating institutions to which the research group belongs:

NOVA School of Law
Academia Militar
Instituto de Estudos Superiores Militares
Instituto Superior de Ciências Policiais e Segurança Interna
Universidade Autónoma de Lisboa


Jorge Cláudio de Bacelar Gouveia (Principal Investigator)
Armando Manuel de Barros Serra Marques Guedes
Maria Teresa Couceiro Pizarro Beleza
Nuno José Cardoso da Silva Piçarra
Carlos Maria da Silva Feijó
Francisco Manuel Gouveia Pinto Proença Garcia
Helena Maria Matias Pereira de Melo
Alex Sander Pires


Felipe Pathé Duarte

Structure of the research group:

The research group has a multidisciplinary structure, with specialists carrying differentiated backgrounds, which includes jurists, sociologists, military, civil protection officers and politologists.

This is a group that intends to study security issues within a transdisciplinary logic, in which the legal dimensions – the laws that regulate security structures – and the extra-legal dimensions are assumed to be ambivalent.

It is also intended that this group will maintain working relations with institutions linked to security, by means of protocols that allow joint work to be carried out: Institute for Higher Military Studies and its research centre (the CISDI), National Republican Guard, Internal Security System, National Authority for Civil Protection, National Firefighters School, Institute for Law and Security.

Objectives of the research group:

This group is led by a principal investigator and is composed of other researchers with diverse backgrounds, but who have in common the aim of studying various dimensions of security, simultaneously at the legal, sociological, political, international relations and statistical levels.

It also includes a group of PhD students which may increase each academic year as other students become interested in these themes. A strong emphasis will be placed on guiding their PhD theses through the integrated members.

Nowadays, security-related issues cannot be fully understood under a limited focus, as has been the case with the always segmented and piecemeal contributions made by specific sciences, particularly military and police sciences.

Without neglecting its importance, security should be broadly understood in its multiple projection spaces, such as

the legal dimension, from the perspective of the limits and criteria of the action of the security forces and the counterpoint of citizens’ rights;
the sociological dimension, from the perspective of understanding the impact of the security structures on the sense of security of the communities;
the political and international relations dimension, from the perspective of the options for reforming the various security sectors, not only at state level but also within the international community.

From the intersection of this group with the research lines derive the general objectives for this research group. These are to be achieved through transdisciplinary studies with practical results in the field of Security and Law.

  • Determine the legal impact of the activity of all actors involved in Security, with special emphasis on the dichotomy “safe society” and “citizens’ rights”;
  • Determine the impact of the activity of the security actors on international politics, giving special attention to its effects within the scope of International Law;
  • Analyse the effects of security sector reforms at state and international levels;
  • Analyse the main international security challenges according to the legal dimension, with special emphasis to be given to mass migrations, energy security, food security, terrorism, proliferation of weapons of mass destruction

Thus, it is foreseen the continuation of the edition of 2 annual issues of the Law and Security Magazine; of the annual Security and Democracy Congress (CONSEDE); of specific thematic Colloquia (e.g. cybersecurity); bilateral congresses with Portuguese-speaking States as well as interdisciplinary research reports, such as the constitutional status of Security; security in the party programmes of the III Republic; National Security and the Constitution; the evolution of the strategic concept of Security and Defence; the legal dimension of the European Security and Defence Policy; the Strategic Concept of National Security; the National Internal Security Strategy; the Framework Law on National Security; the ageing population and national security: diagnosis and solutions. Support will also be given in teaching the Law and Security courses at Nova Direito, that is, the PhD in Law and Security, the Master’s in Law and Security and the Specialisation Course in Emergency and Civil Protection and the Specialisation Course in Security Management.