Acta Universitatis Danubius. Administratio, Vol 6, No 2 (2014)

Interrogating the Realization and Enforcement of Social Rights during Economic Crisis

Abiodun Odusote


This paper examines the nature and possible realization of social rights in developing economies and in economic crisis in developed economies.  The paper examines four sets of issues relating to social rights: the nature of such rights; the cost implication of its realization during economic crisis; their justiciability; and alternative methods for their realization in times of crisis. Part I examines the nature of social rights. It investigates the obstacles to the realization of these rights and examines whether the realization and enforcement of these rights is predicated on economic buoyancy of a state. The paper posits that some social rights though hugely dependent on economic variables for its realization, are realizable even in times of economic crisis. It comparatively examines the emerging jurisprudence in developing and developed economies. In part II various approaches to the realization of social rights are explored, and, in particular, a workable alternative to their present classification and status is proposed in the form of a reformulation of some social rights as civil and political rights, enabled in part by reason of the fact that they lend themselves to enforcement than other social rights in times of economic crisis. Part III examines some of the practical problems that may impair the effectiveness of the judicial processes. The paper argues that this situation can be improved in a number of ways. The paper concludes by making practical proposals for the better realization of social rights in times of economic crisis. Overall, it is shown that governments across the globe must re-order their commitments to reflect certain non-derogable social rights in times of economic crisis.


Full Text: 59-79



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