Vindicating Socio-Economic Rights

International Standards and Comparative Experiences

By Paul O'Connell

© 2012 – Routledge

248 pages

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About the Book

Notwithstanding the widespread and persistent affirmation of the indivisibility and equal worth of all human rights, socio-economic rights continue to be treated as the "Cinderella" of the human rights corpus. At a domestic level this has resulted in little appetite for the explicit recognition and judicial enforcement of such rights in constitutional democracies. The primary reason for this is the prevalent apprehension that the judicial enforcement of socio-economic rights is fundamentally at variance with the doctrine of the separation of powers.

This study, drawing on comparative experiences in a number of jurisdictions which have addressed (in some cases more explicitly than others) the issue of socio-economic rights, seeks to counter this argument by showing that courts can play a substantial role in the vindication of socio-economic rights, while still respecting the relative institutional prerogatives of the elected branches of government. Drawing lessons from experiences in South Africa, India, Canada and Ireland, this study seeks to articulate a "model adjudicative framework" for the protection of socio-economic rights. In this context the overarching concern is to find some role for the courts in vindicating socio-economic rights, while also recognising the importance of the separation of powers and the primary role that the elected branches of government must play in protecting and vindicating such rights. The text incorporates discussion of the likely impact and significance of the Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, and looks at the implications of the Mazibuko decision for the development of South Africa’s socio-economic rights jurisprudence.

Table of Contents

1. Introduction 2. International Standards on Socio-Economic Rights 3. The South African Experience 4. Developing Social Rights in India 5. The Canadian Charter, Substantive Equality and Social Rights 6. The Rejection of Socio-Economic Rights in Ireland 7. A Model Adjudicative Framework 8. Conclusions

About the Author

Paul O'Connell is a lecturer in Law at the University of Leicester, he has published widely on socio-economic rights, and the impact of globalisation on human rights.

About the Series

Routledge Research in Human Rights Law

This series contains thought-provoking and original scholarship on human rights law. The books address civil and political rights as well social, cultural and economic rights, and explore international, regional and domestic legal orders. The legal status, content, obligations and application of specific rights will be analysed as well as treaties, mechanisms and institutions designed to promote and protect rights.

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
LAW000000
LAW / General
LAW013000
LAW / Civil Rights
LAW018000
LAW / Constitutional
LAW051000
LAW / International
LAW075000
LAW / Public
LAW109000
LAW / Government / General
POL004000
POLITICAL SCIENCE / Political Freedom & Security / Civil Rights
POL006000
POLITICAL SCIENCE / Government / Legislative Branch
POL030000
POLITICAL SCIENCE / Government / National
POL035010
POLITICAL SCIENCE / Political Freedom & Security / Human Rights