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The work of both socio-legal scholars and specialists working in social movements research continues to contribute to our understanding of how law relates to and informs the politics of social movements. In the 1990s, an important line of new research, most of it initiated by those working in the law and society tradition, began to bridge the gaps between these two areas of scholarship. This work includes new approaches to group ‘legal mobilization’ politics; analysis of the judicial impact on social reform struggles; studies of individual legal mobilization in civil disputing and an almost entirely new area of research in ‘cause lawyering’. It brings together the best of this research introduced by a detailed essay by the editor.