Dr Raul

Dr Raul Sanchez Urribarri

Lecturer in Crime, Justice and Legal Studies

College of Arts, Social Sciences and Commerce

Humanities and Social Sciences

Department of Social Inquiry

SS (Social Sciences) 416, Melbourne (Bundoora)


Law (UCAB, Venezuela), LLM (Cambridge), PhD (South Carolina)



Membership of professional associations

American Political Science Association, Law and Society Association, Latin American Studies Association

Area of study

justice and legal studies
Latin American Studies

Brief profile

My work focuses on law and politics in comparative perspective, with an emphasis on Latin America.  My research interests include judicial politics, law and development and judicial reform, using qualitative and quantitative methods.

My main goal is to contribute to the recent wave of analyses that assess the conditions that explain judicial empowerment, the politicization of courts and sound judicial reform practices across different political contexts.  This is directly linked to a broad range of topics in comparative politics and legal studies.

Research interests

Courts and Sentencing

- Comparative Analysis of Judicial Systems

Human Rights and Justice Issues

- Protection of Fundamental Rights

International Aid and Development

- Law and Development

Latin American History

- Contemporary Political Issues / Venezuela

Law and Society

- Judicial Reform and Rule of Law Issues

Teaching units

  • LST2POL – Police, Society and Democracy
  • LST3SLR – Introduction to Socio-Legal and Political Research
  • LST3LID – Law and International Development
  • LST4FCL – Fundamental Concepts in Legal Studies and Criminology (Honours)
  • POL5ISD – Issues in International Studies and Development (Masters in International Development)
  • HUS2MIS - 'When the Levee Breaks':  New Orleans and the Mississippi (School-wide study tour)


Law and Development; Rule of Law; Justice Reform

Recent publications

Journal Articles

  • Sanchez Urribarri, R. (2011) “Courts between Democracy and Hybrid Authoritarianism: Evidence from the Venezuelan Supreme Court”, Law & Social Inquiry 36(4) (November): pp. 854–884.

  • Sanchez Urribarri, R., Schorpp, S., Randazzo, K. A. & Songer, D. R. (2011) “Explaining Changes to Rights Litigation: Testing a Multivariate Model in a Comparative Framework”, The Journal of Politics 73: pp. 391–405. 

  • Sanchez Urribarri, R., Schorpp, S., Randazzo, K. A. & Songer, D. R. (2011) “The Support Structure and Sustained Attention to Rights: A Rejoinder”, The Journal of Politics 73: pp. 410–411.

  • Sanchez Urribarri, R. (2008) “Characteristics of the Judiciary v. Corruption Perception”, 2008.  Sistemas Judicialesa Journal of the Judicial Studies Center of the Americas 13: pp. 88–99.

  • Sanchez Urribarri, R. (2002) “La Sala Constitucional del Tribunal Supremo de Justicia de Venezuela.” Memoria Política, Centro de Estudios Políticos y Administrativos, Universidad de Carabobo, Facultad de Derecho (7): pp. 115–142.

Book Chapters

  • Sanchez Urribarri, R. (2016) “Constitutional Courts in the Region:  Between Power and Submissiveness.” In Comparative Constitutional Law in Latin America.  Edited by Rosalind Dixon and Tom Ginsburg.  Edward Elgar. (forthcoming October 2016)

  • Sanchez Urribarri, R., Perez de Leon, V., Favoretto, M., Kath, E., Sinclair, J. & A. Fergusson (2016) “A Tale of Two Waves:  Latin American Migration to Australia.” In Australian-Latin American Relations: New Links in a Changing Global Landscape. Edited by Elizabeth Kath. New York:  Palgrave Macmillan. 

  • Sanchez Urribarri, R. (2012) “Politicization of the Latin American Judiciary via Informal Connections” in David K. Linnan (ed.) Legitimacy, Legal Development & Change. Surrey, UK: Ashgate, pp. 307–322.

  • Sanchez Urribarri, R. (2010) “Venezuela” in Jorge Castañeda and Marco Antonio Morales-Barba (eds.) Lo que Queda de la Izquierda. Mexico: Taurus.

  • Sanchez Urribarri, R. (2008) “Venezuela - the Left Turning Further Left?” in Jorge Castañeda and Marco Antonio Morales-Barba (eds.) Leftovers: Tales of the Two Latin American Lefts. London: Routledge, pp. 174–192.  

Refereed Conference Papers

  • Sanchez Urribarri, R. (2013) “Empirical Analysis of the Politicization of the Venezuelan Judiciary 1989–2009”, Conference Proceedings, Annual Meeting of the Australian Political Studies Association, Perth, WA, October. 



Download Resume

Older publications

Book Reviews

  • Sanchez Urribarri, R. “Politicized Justice in Emerging Democracies:  A Study of Courts in Russia and Ukraine, by Maria Popova”. International Journal of Constitutional Law 12(4): pp. 1080–1083. 

  • Sanchez Urribarri, R. (2013) “High Courts and Economic Governance in Argentina and Brazil by Diana Kapiszewski”, Latin American Politics & Society 56(1): pp. 180–182. 

  • Sanchez Urribarri, R. (2010) “Dilemmas of Modernity: Bolivian Encounters with Law and Liberalism, by Mark Goodale”, Law and Politics Book Review 20(3): pp. 100­–102.   

  • Sanchez Urribarri, R. (2008) “Judges beyond Politics in Democracy and Dictatorship: Lessons from Chile, by Lisa Hilbink”, Latin American Politics & Society 51(4): pp. 186–189.  

  • Sanchez Urribarri, R. (2008) “The Struggle for Constitutional Power: Law, Politics and Economic Development in Egypt, by Tamir Moustafa” The Journal of Politics 70: pp. 897–898.​

Publications in Professional Association Outlets

  • Sanchez Urribarri, R. & Ortiz, D. (2013) “Standing Up for Rights: Assessing Legal Mobilization Cross-Nationally”, Mobilizing Ideas, online blog edited by the Center for the Study of Social Movements at the University of Notre Dame.  Available at:  https://mobilizingideas.wordpress.com/2013/02/18/standing-up-for-rights-assessing-legal-mobilization-cross-nationally/ 

  • Sanchez Urribarri, R. & Scicluna, N. (2013) “Governing Europe from the Bench? Assessing the German Constitutional Court’s ESMT Ruling.” Newsletter of the Law & Courts Section of the American Political Science Association. Spring: pp. 33-36.

  • Sanchez Urribarri, R. (2011) “Judicial Research in Risky Political Environments.” Newsletter of the Law & Courts Section of the American Political Science Association. Winter: pp. 11-13

  • Sanchez Urribarri, R. (2007) “News from the Comparative Realm.” Newsletter of the Law & Courts Section of the American Political Science Association. Spring: pp. 11-13

Select Conference Papers and Presentations

  • Sanchez Urribarri, R., Susler, O. & Tittensor, D.  (2015)  “Using the Judiciary as a Tool of Illiberal Governance: Approaching the Turkish Case in Comparative Perspective.” Populism, Majoritarianism, and Crises of Illiberal Democracy, symposium organized by the Consortium for European Symposia on Turkey (CEST) and the Centre for South-East European Studies, at the University of Graz, Austria, September 

  • Sanchez Urribarri, R.,Mendoza-Botelho, M. & Bernal, A. (2015) “Populist Constitutionalism in Latin America: Tales from Bolivia, Ecuador, and Venezuela.” Final version presented at the “Constitutional Deliberation” workshop at the Australian National University Law School, organized by Ron Levy, October 2015.  Also presented an early version of this manuscript at the 2013 Latin American Studies Association Meeting in Washington, D.C., and the 2013 Australian Political Studies Association in Perth, WA 

  • Sanchez Urribarri, R. (2015) “La Corte Roja Rojita:  Judicial Politics in Venezuela under Authoritarianism (2007-2014)”, presented at the Annual Meeting of the Latin American Studies Association in San Juan, PR, May 

  • Sanchez Urribarri, R. (2014) “The Politicization of the Venezuelan Supreme Court under Democracy and Authoritarianism”, Annual Meeting of the Southern Political Science Association in New Orleans, LA, January 

  • Sanchez Urribarri, R. & Barry, N. (2013) “Support Structure for Legal Mobilization in Australia:  Reflections for Future Work”, Annual Meeting of the Australian Political Studies Association in Perth, WA, October

  • Sanchez Urribarri, R. & Scicluna, N. (2013) “Governing Europe from the Bench? Assessing the German Constitutional Court’s ESMT Ruling”, Research Committee on Comparative Judicial Politics, International Political Science Association in Dublin, Ireland, July.

  • Sanchez Urribarri, R. & Parsons, B. (2013) “Partisan Polarization and Public Attitudes about the U.S. Supreme Court”, Annual Meeting of the Southern Political Science Association Meeting in Orlando, FL, January.

  • Sanchez Urribarri, R. (2012) “Assessing the Connection between Judicial Clientelism and Judicial Power: A Preliminary Analysis”, Annual Meeting of the Law and Society Association in Honolulu, HI, June

  • Sanchez Urribarri, R. (2011) “Contention through Litigation in Latin America: Foundations for a Comparative Analysis”, Annual Meeting of the Midwest Political Science Association in Chicago, IL, March.

Research projects


BOOK (Manuscript in Progress)

Title: Judges and their Loyalties: The Informal Foundations of Judicial (In)Dependence in Venezuela. 


  • Workshop:  Informal Networks in Judicial Systems in the Global South.  Co-organised with Bjoern Dressel (ANU) and Alexander Stroh (Bayreuth)  Australian National University, Canberra.  March 2015 (Currently preparing special edition based on the workshop)

  • Populist Constitutionalism:  Lessons from Bolivia, Ecuador, and Venezuela (with Martin Mendoza, Eastern Connecticut, and Angelica Bernal, UMass)