Courts and Social Transformation in New Democracies : An Institutional Voice for the Poor? book cover
1st Edition

Courts and Social Transformation in New Democracies
An Institutional Voice for the Poor?

ISBN 9781138264540
Published November 15, 2016 by Routledge
328 Pages

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Book Description

Using case studies drawn from Latin America, Africa, India and Eastern Europe, this volume examines the role of courts as a channel for social transformation for excluded sectors of society in contemporary democracies. With a focus on social rights litigation in post-authoritarian regimes or in the context of fragile state control, the authors assess the role of judicial processes in altering (or perpetuating) social and economic inequalities and power relations in society. Drawing on interdisciplinary expertise in the fields of law, political theory, and political science, the chapters address theoretical debates and present empirical case studies to examine recent trends in social rights litigation.

Table of Contents

Contents: Foreword; Introduction, Pilar Domingo. Theory: Theories of democracy, the judiciary and social rights, Roberto Gargarella; Courts and social transformation: an analytical framework, Siri Gloppen; The changing role of law and courts in Latin America: from an obstacle to social change to a tool of social equity, Javier A. Couso. Case Studies: Social rights as middle-class entitlements in Hungary: the role of the constitutional court, András Sajó; The record of the South African constitutional court in providing an institutional voice for the poor: 1995-2004, Jackie Dugard and Theunis Roux; The Enforcement of social rights by the Colombian constitutional court: cases and debates, Rodrigo Uprimny Yepes; Courts and social transformation in India, R. Sudarshan; Judicial enforcement of social rights: perspectives from Latin America, Christian Courtis; Brazilian courts and social rights: a case study revisited, José Reinaldo de Lima Lopes; Courts under construction in Angola: what can they do for the poor?, Elin Skaar and José Octávio Serra Van-Dúnem; Weak courts, rights and legal mobilisation in Bolivia, Pilar Domingo; Courts, rights and social transformation: concluding reflections, Roberto Gargarella, Pilar Domingo and Theunis Roux. Bibliography; Index.

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Roberto Gargarella is Professor at the Torcuato di Tella University and the University of Buenos Aires both in Argentina. He is also Researcher at the Christian Michelsen Institute, Norway. Pilar Domingo is Researcher at the Instituto de Estudios de Iberoamérica at the University of Salamanca, Spain. Theunis Roux is Director of the South African Institute for Advanced Constitutional, Public, Human Rights and International Law in South Africa.


'A very interesting volume, which brings together the latest scholarship on the constitutional protection of welfare rights. A must-read for legal and political theorists interested in this issue, as well as anti-poverty activists and lawyers.' Cecile Fabre, London School of Economics and Political Science, UK 'Rich in theoretical reflection, empirical analysis, and policy implications, the book represents a highly commendable contribution to the comparative study of democratization, judicial politics, and democratic citizenship. Both scholars and practitioners will benefit greatly from this multi-faceted study.' Andreas Schedler,CIDE, Mexico 'This book contains detailed analysis of recent experience in countries where social and economic interests have been enforced through the courts. It is important reading for anyone concerned with protecting the basic needs of the least advantaged.' Thomas Pogge, The Australian National University, Australia, Charles Sturt University, Australia, and University of Melbourne, Australia 'This important volume focuses on trends in a wide range of key countries where social rights litigation has indeed recently developed some real momentum. It explores the factors behind these developments, tracing their origins and institutional trajectories, and also considers the broader political dynamics involved, recognising the limitations as well as the potential of this approach to social incorporation of the poor.' Laurence Whitehead, Nuffield College, University of Oxford, UK ' The role of courts in social rights litigation is bound to remain a contentious issue. Scholars and policy-makers interested in understanding the theoretical and practical issues surrounding this debate cannot afford to ignore this book.' Latin American Studies