Catarina Santos Botelho

Born in 1981. Catarina Santos Botelho is a Professor of Law and Chair of Constitutional Law at the Porto Faculty of Law, Universidade Católica Portuguesa (Portugal). Researcher at the Católica Research Centre for the Future of Law. Executive Director of Master’s programmes. Scientific Director of the Master in Constitutionalism, Democracy and Human Rights. Co-editor of the Hart Publishing Series on Constitutionalism in Latin America and the Caribbean. Member of the Steering Committee of the UCP Digital Ethics Laboratory (LED), a center for advanced study of the social and ethical implications of emerging technologies. National Coordinator of the Academic Network on the European Social Charter and Social Rights (ANESC), established by the Secretariat of the European Social Charter (Strasbourg). Coordinator of the Observatory for the Protection of Social Rights in the European Context. Co-coordinates the pioneer Interdisciplinary Postgraduate Course on Human Rights (Law, Psychology, and Socioeconomics). Member of the International Society of Public Law (ICON). Member of the International Association of Electoral Law. Founding member of ICON.S Portugal.

Her research interests include:


  1. Constitutional theory and legal philosophy;
  2. Constitutional design and amendment;
  3. Democracy, political parties, and populism;
  4. Comparative constitutional studies;
  5. Constitutional courts (strong and weak judicial review; landmark cases; judicial strategy);
  6. Human dignity;
  7. Solidarity and social rights;
  8. Constitutional conventions in civil law systems;
  9. Digital constitutionalism;
  10. Intergenerational justice;
  11. Secession and constitutionalism;
  12. Latin American constitutionalism;
  13. Challenges to academic freedom.

She holds a LLB (2004), a LLM (2009), and a PhD (2015) degrees from Porto Faculty of Law, Universidade Católica Portuguesa. Recipient of Francisco Carvalho Guerra’s Prize (which awards the student with the highest-grade point average at the end of the law school degree). Clerk at the European Court of Justice (Luxembourg), with the Advocate General Miguel Poiares Maduro (2005). Visiting Researcher at the Max-Planck Institute for Comparative Public Law and International Law (Heidelberg, 2012). 

(Co)organized several international conferences (e.g., two editions of the Global Summit on Constitutionalism, at the University of Texas at Austin) and authored numerous national and international publications, including in top-tier law journals (e.g., German Law Journal, Hague Journal on the Rule of Law, American Journal of Comparative Law, and Revista Catalana de Dret Públic). Guest speaker at conferences, colloquia and lectures at, among other places, University of Texas at Austin (USA), University of Maryland (USA), Humboldt-Berlin University (Germany), Europäisches Rechtsakademie – ERA (Germany), Karl Franzens Universität Graz (Austria), Universität Innsbruck (Austria), University of Antwerp (Belgium), University of Copenhagen (Denmark), University College Dublin (Ireland), Centre for European Constitutional Law (Greece), Università di Bologna (Italy), Università degli Studi Milano (Italy), Università degli Studi di Verona (Italy), Università di Roma LUMSA (Italy), Università degli Studi di Ferrara (Italy), Università di Reggio Calabria (Italy), Universitas Airlangga (Indonesia), IDP (Brazil), Universidade de São Paulo (Brazil), Fundação Getúlio Vargas-Rio de Janeiro (Brazil), Pontifícia Universidade Católica-Rio Grande Sul (Brazil), Pontifícia Universidade Católica do Paraná (Brazil), Universidade Federal do Paraná (Brazil), Universidade Presbiteriana Mackenzie (São Paulo, Brazil), Universidade Federal de Pelotas (Brazil), Universidad Externado de Colombia (Colombia), University of Galatasaray (Turkey), University of Altinbas (Turkey), Universitat Pompeu Fabra (Spain), Universidad de Salamanca (Spain), Universidad de Santiago de Compostela (Spain), Universidade Católica de Angola (Angola), and SGT University (India).

Her teaching at the Universidade Católica Portuguesa includes or has included the following courses: Constitutional Law, Global Constitutional Law, Fundamental Rights, Multilevel Protection of Fundamental Social Rights, Constitutional Justice, and Introduction to Public Law. She is a member of the editorial board of of the peer-reviewed Brazilian journals Revista Jurídica Internacional do Instituto Brasil Portugal de Direito, Revista do Tribunal Regional Federal da 3.ª Região (São Paulo e Mato Grosso do Sul), Revista Eletrônica da ESA/RS – Escola de Saberes, and Revista Arquivo Jurídico – Revista Jurídica Eletrônica da Universidade Federal do Piauí. She was co-founder of the Católica Law Review and member of its editorial board until 2019.