Protecting the Right to Life with Limited Public Resources

Elizabeth Wicks

in The Right to Life and Conflicting Interests

Published in print August 2010 | ISBN: 9780199547395
Published online September 2010 | e-ISBN: 9780191594373 | DOI:
Protecting the Right to Life with Limited Public Resources

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This chapter investigates whether the fact that public resources are limited provides an excuse for a failure on the part of the state to intervene to save life. While courts are reluctant to overstep their judicial boundaries by second guessing allocation of resource issues, it is argued that it is possible for the positive obligations inherent in the right to life to be enforced by the courts even when they involve expenditure. The positive obligation upon the state exists regardless of the financial, or other, burdens caused by it, although such burdens will be highly relevant to a determination of what can reasonably be expected of a state. It is proposed that the rule of rescue should be a prioritising principle within the balancing exercise which should be performed when allocating public funds. The application of the ‘accountability for reasonableness’ theory will provide a useful check in this context.

Keywords: resource allocation; positive obligations; accountability for reasonableness

Chapter.  11430 words. 

Subjects: Human Rights and Immigration

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