Claiming the Right to Health in Brazilian Courts: The Exclusion of the Already Excluded
Virgilio Afonso da Silva
University of São Paulo - Faculty of Law
Fernanda Vargas Terrazas
University of Sao Paulo - Faculdade de Direito
Law and Social Inquiry, Forthcoming
The aim of this article is to test a widespread belief among Brazilian legal scholars in the area of social rights, namely, the claim that courts are an alternative institutional voice for the poor, who are usually marginalized from the political process. According to this belief, social rights litigation would be a means (supposedly “a better means”) of realizing rights such as the right to healthcare, since supposedly both the wealthy and the poor have equal access to the courts. To probe the consistency of this belief, we analyzed the socioeconomic profile of plaintiffs in the city of Sao Paulo (Brazil) who were granted access to specific medication or medical treatment by judicial decisions. In this study, the justiciability of social rights has not proven to be a means of rendering certain public services more democratic and accessible.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 16
Keywords: social rights, right to health, courts
JEL Classification: K00, K10, K30
Date posted: May 16, 2008 ; Last revised: November 6, 2010
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