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Description

Social and economic rights are often referred to as "the rights of the poor" but one may wonder: even so, are they « poor rights »?

The present research focuses on the judicial answerability of social and economic rights.

Although social and civil rights have been affirmed to be indivisible and interdependent, jurists often distinguish between the two. The distinction made in the legal writing body between fundamental, civic and political rights on the one hand, and economic and social rights, on the other hand, often results in casting aside the social rights and prevent them from being justiciable. Numerous justice decisions invoked their particularity to justify the lack of judicial protection.FAO

In spite of the fact that social rights are recognized and proclaimed, they are often relegated to a specific category and opposed to civil and political rights: half-rights, pseudo-rights, special rights with a minor range, they don’t benefit from the same regime and the same guarantees as the other fundamental rights. References are common to the so-called 'specific nature' of the former and generally they support the idea according to which legal interferences with parliamentary social and economic policies would constitute a violation of the separation of powers. Additionally, the argument that courts are not competent to decide on such complex issues is also often put forth.


ILOHowever, the academic debate about judicial enforcement of social rights is undergoing changes. Yet the divide between the fundamental rights tend to be questioned by social movements which don’t hesitate anymore to take legal actions and claim for those social rights (the right to housing, to food, to health care…), as well as by a part of the academic researchers who try to rethink the universality and indivisibility of human rights. That trend is followed by judges, international ones as well as national ones, who help with such decisions to strengthen the justiciability, effectiveness and opposability of social rights.


The research project intends to question the potential particularity of social rights. It aims at scrutinizing the academic debate and the jurisdictional answers concerning the nature and regime of social rights through the use of comparative and international law.