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Standards to Make ESC Rights Justiciable: A Summary Exploration

17 Pages Posted: 26 Jan 2010  

Christian Courtis

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Date Written: December 15, 2009


Social rights – or economic, social and cultural rights (ESC rights) – are not a new idea. There have been examples of the statutory recognition of ESC rights since the last third of the nineteenth century. ESC rights entered the language of constitutional law in the period between the two world wars – early examples include the 1917 Mexican Constitution, the 1919 German Constitution and the 1931 Spanish Constitution – and have become part of constitutions in most of the world since the end of the Second World War. ESC rights have also been part of international human rights since the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1948, and perhaps even before, since the adoption of the ILO Constitution and the Charter of the League of Nations. Yet, compared to civil and political rights, considerably less attention has been devoted to the need to produce a conceptual framework to develop the content of ESC rights and the protection mechanisms needed to enforce them. One of the traditionally neglected issues with regard to ESC rights is the question of their justiciability, that is, the possibility for people who claim to be victims of violations of these rights to file a complaint before an impartial body and request adequate remedies or redress if a violation has occurred or is likely to occur.

This article examines some developments in the field of the justiciability of ESC rights.

Keywords: Economic Social Cultural Rights, Justiciability

Suggested Citation

Courtis, Christian, Standards to Make ESC Rights Justiciable: A Summary Exploration (December 15, 2009). Erasmus Law Review, Vol. 2, No. 4, 2009. Available at SSRN:

Christian Courtis (Contact Author)

affiliation not provided to SSRN ( email )

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