Davi Almeida

PhD Candidate
Davi Almeida photo
Dissertation Title
Towards a Democratic Judiciary: An analysis on the impact of the appointment of minorities on judicial decisions

My 12 years of practice as a lawyer brought my attention to reasoning in judicial decisions, a curiosity that became my object of enquire when I initiated my master’s degree in 2018. However, the training provided by the program in Constitutional Law at the University of Fortaleza drove my attention from argumentation to the political and social reasons that influence the way judges make their decisions. In this context, judge recruitment systems took place as my primary interest. My master’s dissertation analyzed whether or not appointment in Brazil meets democratic standards. Using quantitative methodologies, the research concluded that appointment tends to favor status quo rather than diversity and therefore is not fit to democratize the judiciary. However, the experience in the Canadian Federal Justice seems to defy this conclusion, hence why I’ll be analyzing it over the course of my PhD.


Ultimately the research aims to verify through empirical methodologies whether the appointment of minorities in the Federal Justice is changing the courts’ jurisprudence or not. However, aware that there are many factors that impose limits on judge discretion, the study will be divided into three parts. The first will analyze – in the terms proposed by Raul Eugenio Zaffaroni’s Theory on the Evolution of Judicial systems – the Canadian Federal Justice, its methods of selection, and the type of judge it aims to obtain. In the second part, it analyzes the judge it has effectively obtained. By analyzing the resumes of the cadre of magistrates the research aims to acquire a general profile of the Canadian Federal Justice and what it means in the terms of Pierre Bourdieu’s reflexive sociology. Finally, once a clearer picture about judges and the expectations laid upon them is secured, the research advances to analyze the impact of this new diverse federal justice on these courts’ precedents. What the research targets is understanding the extent of the impact of promotion of diversity in the judiciary. Is the appointment of minorities solely a matter of democratic morality, or does it impact the content of judicial decisions?