Journal Article

A typology of economic and social rights adjudication: Exploring the catalytic function of judicial review

Katharine G. Young

in International Journal of Constitutional Law

Published on behalf of The New York University School of Law

Volume 8, issue 3, pages 385-420
Published in print July 2010 | ISSN: 1474-2640
Published online July 2010 | e-ISSN: 1474-2659 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/icon/moq029
A typology of economic and social rights adjudication: Exploring the catalytic function of judicial review

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The tensions that are often thought to exist between democracy and constitutionalism are especially pronounced with respect to the entrenchment of economic and social rights. Within current understandings of judicial review, courts appear to lack the competency and the legitimacy for economic and social rights adjudication. In this article, I draw on the South African Constitutional Court's experience with justiciable economic and social rights to present a typology of judicial review, which incorporates deferential, conversational, experimentalist, managerial, and peremptory stances. I suggest that these five stances are part of a general judicial role conception that I term catalytic, because it opens up the relationship between courts and the elected branches and lowers the political energy that is required in order to achieve a rights-protective outcome. Not only is this role conception able to account for a more accurate portrayal of economic and social rights adjudication; I argue that it is also normatively desirable under defined conditions. Finally, I contrast this role conception with others to show that a court's role in economic and social rights adjudication is dependent on its perception of itself as an institution of governance as well as on the institutional rules that support that perception.

Journal Article.  18425 words. 

Subjects: Constitutional and Administrative Law ; UK Politics

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