Debating Law is a new series that gives scholarly experts the opportunity to offer contrasting perspectives on significant topics of contemporary, general interest. In this second volume of the series, Conor Gearty argues that for rights to work effectively in the wider promotion of social justice, they need to be kept as far away as possible from the courts. He acknowledges the value of rights language in legal and political debate and accepts that human rights are not solely civil and political, with social rights language clearly having a progressive, emancipatory dimension. However he says that lawyers even well-intentioned lawyers damage the achievability of the kind of radical transformation in the priorities of states that a genuine commitment to social rights surely necessitates. Virginia Mantouvalou argues that social rights, defined as entitlements to the satisfaction of basic needs, are as essential for the well-being of the individual and the community as long-established civil and political rights. The real challenge, she suggests, is how best to give effect to social rights. Drawing on examples from around the world, she argues for their 'legalisation', and examines the role of courts and the role of legislatures in this process, both at a national and a international level.
Conor Gearty is Professor of Human Rights Law at the London School of Economics and Political Science. Virginia Mantouvalou is a Senior Lecturer in Law and Deputy Director of the Centre for European Law and Integration at the University of Leicester.
Debating Social Rights does not end the debate about social rights, but brings into sharp focus the core of the disagreement about the judicial enforcement of these rights. The strength of the book is its organisation of the main themes around the most controversial aspects of social rights. It acts as a guide for future scholarship, especially empirical research, that is needed to test the arguments presented by the authors.Daniel Wei L. Wang and Sarah RizkEuropean Human Rights Law ReviewSummer 2012Given the topical nature of social rights, a book specifically focused on the issue by two prominent human rights scholars is to be welcomed. Forming part of Hart Publishing's 'Debating Law' series, Gearty and Mantouvalou's respective sections are written as separate pieces. This results in a broader range of issues being addressed than would be the case if the book merely adopted a classic 'response pieces' format.The authors engage with a large number of the same themes from very different perspectives which gives the book a satisfying stylistic cohesion.this engagingly written, provocative book raises questions that are likely to become increasingly important to law and policy-makers, lawyers, national human rights institutions, civil society organisations and other actors in this country.Aoife NolanModern Law ReviewVolume 75, Number 4This book offers an important and informative contribution to the field of social rights within the realm of human rights. Suitable for all human rights students, and essential reading for postgraduates in the field.Skillfully written in a clear and eloquent manner [the] book provides an insight into an area of human rights that is markedly under-researched by academics. Bnar ArianyTimes Higher EducationNovember 2011
Against Judicial Enforcement by Conor Gearty I. Introduction II. Why Care?III. How Should We Care? IV. How Can We Tame the Lawyers? V. Conclusion In Support of Legalisation by Virginia Mantouvalou I. Introduction II. A Brief, Unhappy History III. Common Foundations IV. Legalisation V. Content of Duties and Horizontality VI. Social Rights and the Foreign Needy VII. Conclusion