Interpreting the Minimum

Katharine G. Young

in Constituting Economic and Social Rights

Published in print August 2012 | ISBN: 9780199641932
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191746086 | DOI:

Series: Oxford Constitutional Theory

Interpreting the Minimum

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The pressure that legal institutions face in interpreting economic and social rights is often expressed as the pressure to determine the minimum content of each right. This chapter discusses attempts to construct such a minimum. It examines the notion of the minimum core, adopted by the United Nations Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights as the baseline doctrinal obligation for rights to food, health, education and water in international human rights law. The minimum core has been referenced in particular constitutional systems such as South Africa and Colombia. Whether it can provide a proxy for justiciability, or can achieve the goals of determinacy, moderation and consensus, is critically assessed. Other approaches are offered, such as role minimalism for courts and agencies, and the disciplined measurement of baselines for economic and social rights. Finally, the adverse effects of minimalism on the discourse of economic and social rights are explored

Keywords: minimum core; justiciability; international human rights; committee on economic; role minimalism; measurement; rights-discourse; south africa

Chapter.  15344 words. 

Subjects: Constitutional and Administrative Law

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