An ‘important purpose of section 34 [of the Constitution] is to guarantee the protection of the judicial process to persons who have disputes that can be resolved by law’ and that the right of access to court is ‘foundational to the stability of an orderly society. It ensures the peaceful, regulated and institutionalised mechanisms to resolve disputes, without resorting to self-help. The right of access to court is a bulwark against vigilantism, and the chaos and anarchy which it causes. Construed in this context of the rule of law and the principle against self-help in particular, access to court is indeed of cardinal importance’.The right guaranteed s34 would be rendered meaningless if court orders could be ignored with impunity:the underlying purposes of the right — and particularly that of avoidance of self-help — would be undermined if litigants could decide which orders they wished to obey and which they wished to ignore.
Drawing on a wide range of interdisciplinary resources, this scholarly work provides an in-depth and thorough analysis of the socio-economic rights jurisprudence of the newly democratic South Africa.
The book explores how the judicial interpretation and enforcement of socio-economic rights can be more responsive to the conditions of systemic poverty and inequality characterising South African society. Based on meticulous research, the work marries legal analysis with perspectives from political philosophy and democratic theory. Cautioning against a traditional, formalistic conception of rights and the separation of powers doctrine, the author develops a nuanced conception of substantive reasonableness review in the context of socio-economic rights. She further argues for a reconstruction of private law doctrines in the light of the normative purposes and values promoted by socio-economic rights.
Socio-Economic Rights – Adjudication under a Transformative Constitution is up to date, including detailed evaluation and critique of the most recent socio-economic rights judgments. It is set to have an impact on debates about courts and socio-economic rights not only in South Africa, but everywhere else where its topic has attracted interest.
AVAILABLE APRIL 2010
Approx. 565 pages ISBN 978-0-7021-8480-2 R575.00 (incl. VAT)
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Professor Sandra Liebenberg holds the HF Oppenheimer Chair in Human Rights Law in the Law Faculty of the University of Stellenbosch. An internationally recognised scholar, she has published widely in the field of socio-economic rights. Liebenberg served as a member of the Technical Committee to the Constitutional Assembly’s ‘Theme Committee’ on Fundamental Rights and founded the Socio-Economic Rights Project at the University of the Western Cape. As part of her ongoing research and advocacy work, the author has been involved in preparing heads of argument and amicus curiae submissions in several of the groundbreaking socio-economic rights cases in South Africa.
REVIEWS: ‘Socio-Economic Rights – Adjudication under a Transformative Constitution is a comprehensive examination of South Africa’s transformative constitutionalism. This book establishes South African socio-economic rights jurisprudence as an academic discipline. [… It] should be read and studied by all who share the hope that legal practices can contribute to social transformation and social justice.’
Karl Klare George J and Kathleen Waters Matthews Distinguished Professor, School of Law, North Eastern University (Boston) & Lucy Williams, Professor of Law, School of Law, North Eastern University (Boston)
‘A scholarly work of major importance, that is sure to play a leading role not only in the burgeoning field of academic endeavour on this topic internationally, but also as reference work of real usefulness for practitioners engaged in using law to combat impoverishment and social exclusion.’
Danie Brand – Senior Lecturer, Department of Public Law, University of Pretoria
‘The book offers a detailed and nuanced explanation of the way in which the courts have interpreted and developed socio-economic rights. A comprehensive description is coupled with an analysis which is both incisive and sensitive to the complex realities of South Africa. An indispensable resource for anyone interested in socio-economic rights in South Africa or elsewhere in the world.’
Sandra Fredman FBA – Professor of Law, Exeter College, Oxford University