Participating Institution(s) to which the Research Group belongs

Faculdade de Direito da Universidade Nova de Lisboa (FD/UNL)

Universidade Autónoma de Lisboa (UAL/CEU)



Jorge Cláudio de Bacelar Gouveia

José João Gordo Nunes Abrantes

Helena Maria Matias Pereira de Melo

Maria Teresa Couceiro Pizarro Beleza

António Manuel Botelho Hespanha


List of other researchers of the Research Group

José Manuel Morais Anes

Francisco Maria Gil Fernandes Pereira Coutinho

Paulo Manuel Pulido Garcia Adragão

Pedro Rebelo Botelho Alfaro Velez


Structure of the research group:

The research group has a plural structure, with specialists from different academic backgrounds, from jurists, sociologists and political scientists.

The group intends to study Religion in an interdisciplinary logic, with ambivalence between legal – the laws regulating religion – and non-legal dimensions.

Another intention is to start working collaborations with institutions connected to religion, through protocols that will allow joint projects: the Commission for Religious Freedom, the Institute of Public Law.

At the same time, there will be incentive to integrating the contributions of doctoral students developing research in the areas of religion and its socio-legal regulation.


Objectives of the Research Group

This research group, coordinated by a Constitutional Law professor, gathers specialists from different academic backgrounds with the common objective of studying various dimensions of religion, simultaneously in a legal, political and sociological perspective.

Religion is, without doubt, one of the most suitable phenomena for study with an interdisciplinary approach, since it requires, for its scientific treatment, a polyhedral investigation in terms of analysis methodologies.

Portugal is also at the head of innovation in terms of Religion Law, since its recent Law of Religious Freedom – Law nº 16/2001, of 16th of June – is recognized as an excellent piece of legislation, having been the object of numerous studies by foreign specialists.

It cannot be overlooked that Portugal, from the perspective of Religious sociology, has shown impressive maturity in the coexistence of religious beliefs and practices, solid pluralism of expression despite having a dominant religion, also with an important culture of religious tolerance.

The group forecasts a bi-annual publication of its Law and Religion Journal, the annual organization of a Conference on Law, Religion and Society, as well as colloquiums for more specific themes (e.g., religion and criminal law, religion and taxation). As for interdisciplinary research reports, the following are expected: decisions of the European Court of Human Rights on religious matters; religion and political ideologies; religion in the decisions of the Portuguese Constitutional Court; religion in party programs; the legal status of religious minorities; a comparative analysis of the Law of Religious Freedom; models of Religion Law in Portuguese-speaking Law; religious origins and assumptions in liberal democratic constitutionalism; the legal-political concept of secularism; public democratic reason and religion, what borders; religion and European legal integration; human rights and religious traditions: convergence and tension. Support in the lecturing of courses in Nova Law is also being prepared: constitutional law (degree), fundamental rights – religious freedom (degree) and the specialized course on Law, Religion and Society (specialized course).