Carlos Arturo Villagrán Sandoval

Carlos Arturo Villagrán Sandoval is an Expert Affiliate at the Constitution Transformation Network at Melbourne Law School and Associate Researcher and lecturer at Universidad Rafael Landívar, Guatemala. His research focus is on topics related to Central American Constitutions and Integration, Multilevel Governance, Comparative Regionalism and Public International Law. He obtained his PhD at Melbourne Law School and holds a Master of Public and International Law from the same institution and a Licentiate in Juridical and Social Sciences from Universidad Rafael Landívar. He has published in English and Spanish, in Central America and internationally.

His research agenda focuses on new methods and methodologies to teach and research public law and multilevel governance in Central America and globally and to reform the state and integration regime in the region, emphasizing constitutional and international law, regional integration and economic market policy. For this project, he explores the limitations and challenges of constitutional theory, institutional design and social practices in multilevel governance and how these are translated into law and in state and regional structures thus allowing their regulatory capture and failure to hold key governance actors accountable.

Carlos Arturo has held various positions in the Guatemalan Government. Before commencing his PhD, he was Human Rights Adviser and State Council for the Guatemalan Government within the Project of Historical Memory and Human Rights for Peace of the United Nations Development Programme. After finishing his PhD, he was the Director of International Treaties, lead negotiator and Legal Advisor to the Ministry Foreign Relations of Guatemala, specifically dealing with Guatemala’s Territorial, Insular and Maritime Claim (Guatemala/Belize) at the International Court of Justice.

He has also legally advised other Guatemalan government ministries and institutions and acted as independent consultant to international agencies and financial organizations on issues relating to the negotiation, interpretation and implementation of international trade laws, including World Trade Organization, Free-Trade agreements, Central American (SICA) integration policies, and investor-state dispute settlement.


Research Project

Multilevel Governance, Markets and Marginalization: A Theory of Democratic Accountability. This research agenda proceeds from the standpoint that dominant accounts and practices of multilevel governance and markets are profoundly undemocratic, marginalising the people who should be at the centre of our thinking. It shows how the different levels of governance -national, regional and international- are constructed in a manner that mutually reinforces the exclusion of people in the negotiation, ratification and implementation of trade rules at any layer of governance. In addition, through analytic description of the situation Central America as an indicative global example, it showcases how theories of national sovereignty and constitutionalism, regionalism and international law are inaccurate to address this new reality where Executive dominance and non-state private actors have direct impact in decision-making at various levels or governance.  To address this reality, this research project delivers a new frame for thinking about accountability for multilevel economic regulation that promotes a “people-centred approach to multilevel economic governance”. It analyses how accountability can be understood as a “governing principle” for evaluating actors and regulations at this reality of fragmented governance. This approach moves beyond the epistemic and conceptual challenges of national sovereignty, regional theory and international law, away from the usual case studies and neoliberal market orthodoxy.