“The Rise of Judicially Enforced ESCR – Refocusing Perspectives”, by Salma Yusuf

Yusuf, Salma (2012) “The Rise of Judicially Enforced Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights–Refocusing Perspectives,” Seattle Journal for Social Justice: Vol. 10: Iss. 2, Article 3.


There is little disagreement that the past two decades have been characterized by a rise in the judicial enforcement of economic, social and cultural rights (ESCRs) in several regions of the world. As a result, there has been a tendency to assume that the debate on the justiciability of ESCRs and the attendant judicial role has been settled once and for all. However, this article demonstrates that an abandonment of the debate altogether would be fallacious. While acknowledging that the conventional concerns surrounding the debate have been considerably thwarted, this article proposes the need for a shift in focus to new issues that have surfaced in recent times.

The emergence of a “changed landscape” for the judicial enforcement of ESCRs has arisen as a consequence of the development of a set of phenomena that will be outlined in this article. This article also argues that because this set of phenomena has a direct bearing on the judicial enforcement of ESCRs, each of the phenomena goes to the heart of the debate on the judicial role in such situations. Further, this article makes a case for revisiting the judicial role in the wake of this “changed landscape,” a task that becomes not only inevitable, but necessary as well. Finally, this article engages in a reconsideration of the judicial role in this changed context.

Salma Yusuf



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