Professor Melissa Crouch has been awarded the Research Committee on the Sociology of Law’s (RCSL) 2022 Podgórecki Prize for outstanding scholarship. The prestigious prize recognises a socio-legal researcher’s achievements within ten years of completing their PhD. RCSL President Professor Ole Hammerslev, from Lund University’s Sociology of Law department, conferred the award today at a conference in Lund, Sweden. 

Over the past ten years, Prof. Crouch’s research has focused on authoritarian regimes and the challenges for law, the legal profession and the courts in such contexts. The rise of populism, the decline of democracy and the global pandemic mean that the challenges of building and maintaining constitutionalism and the rule of law in illiberal and authoritarian regimes remain urgent. 

“It is a real privilege to be the recipient of this award, and I thank the RCSL for this endorsement of my research,” said Prof. Crouch. 

“The RCSL plays an important role in connecting and fostering a global intellectual community of sociolegal scholars. One of the great strengths of the RCSL is its focus on legal pluralism and the legal profession.” 

Prof. Crouch has contributed to RCSL’s International Working Group of Comparative Studies on Legal Professions initiatives, including the second edition of the classic Richard Abel collaborative text on lawyers in the 21st century. She has also collaborated with former RCSL president Professor Ulrike Schultz in a project recently reviewed in the International Journal of Constitutional Law symposium on Women and the Judiciary in the Asia-Pacific. 

UNSW Professors Adam Czarnota,  Martin Krygier, and Professor Adriaan Bedner from the University of Leiden supported Prof. Crouch’s award nomination. The international prize committee for 2022 included Professor Germano Schwartz (chair), Professor Benoit Bastard (University of Paris) and Professor Dee Smythe (University of Cape Town). 

The Research Committee on the Sociology of Law (RCSL) is the leading international academic association for the sociology of law affiliated with the International Sociological Association. Since 2005, the RCSL has awarded the Podgórecki Prize in memory of the late Adam Podgórecki, a distinguished scholar of the sociology of law and RCSL’s pioneering founder. The prize is awarded in alternate years for distinguished and outstanding lifetime achievements, or outstanding scholarship of a socio-legal researcher at an earlier stage of his or her career.