Research Projects

The research project ”Access to justice for marginalized groups of older people in an aging society (AMIS, 2023-2027)” aims to create a comprehensive understanding of the legal needs and challenges for marginalized elderly groups in their everyday lives. Vulnerability, agency, functional capacity, and autonomy are analyzed from the perspective of accessing rights. The societal goal of the project is to enhance understanding of the access of justice for marginalized elderly individuals and the realization of their rights in a welfare state. The project consists of five work packages: WP1 Elderly abuse, WP2 Older people with alcohol and substance abuse problems, WP3 Older people with mental health problems, WP4 Older sexual and gender minorities, and WP5 Older immigrants. For more information, contact

Disability & Dignity (2021-2025). The aim of this project is to unravel law’s assumptions of dignity and disability and how they are reflected in the lives of persons with disabilities. This is done by carrying out a legal philosophical analysis of these core concepts and, against this background, by researching legislation concerning welfare services for disabled persons and their families, and, finally, by analyzing the effects of this legislation on the lives of persons with disabilities. At a more general level, the aim is to produce deeper understanding on the ways in which law reproduces or alleviates marginalization and vulnerability of persons with disabilities. The project is financed by the Academy of Finland. More information:

Justice for Older People – Experiences of an Aging Finland (OITIS).  The University of Eastern Finland, the University of Helsinki, the University of Tampere and the Human Rights Center formed a collaboration which aimed to study older population’s (65+) legal problems and their ability to access their rights.  The research project adopts a perspective based on law, social work and social policy (i.e. a socio-legal approach). The project has collected narratives from older people and their family members of their experiences about legal needs and problems as well as the remedies used and the barriers to access to justice older people encountered. The leader of the research project is professor Kaijus Ervasti and another leader professor Anna Mäki-Petäjä-Leinonen. More information:

RECPHEALS (2020-2023). “They should be tested like banks are” – Resilience, crisis preparedness and security of supply of the Finnish health system project develops means and models to impove the crisis preparedness and resilience of the Finnish health system. More information:

Shadows in paradise? The rights of people living with dementia in a welfare state. The main aim of this research project is to explore legal problems that people living with dementia experience in their day-to-day lives. In addition to identifying these problems, barriers to seeking help and possible solutions to them are studied. The results will inform and help to advance relevant service provision and contribute to the discussion of the position of people living with dementia in our society more generally. The project began in 2022 and is funded by the Kone foundation. It combines scientific and art-based activities to work together with people living with dementia and people who are close to them: it is a co-research project, where those who are studied and other relevant actors (such as NGO’s) are included in the project at different stages of data collection and analysis. Art workshops are organized to allow for people living with dementia to address everyday challenges together as a group through photography and other art-based methods. Other research data will include stories written by people living with dementia and people who are close to them, as well as survey data. The project brings together professionals of social policy, social services, social psychology, management, elder care, sociology, human geography, medicine, law, journalism, visual arts and novel-writing. The project is lead by professor Kaijus Ervasti and professor Anna Mäki-Petäjä-Leinonen. For more information, contact