How can Rights be Individuated?

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


This chapter focuses on how courts should individuate social and economic rights. Although all rights can be judicially enforced, judges must have a different approach to each right; there are substantial differences even among social and economic rights themselves. Analysing the recent Dladdla case of the South African Court, the chapter argues that it is not possible to confine human interests regarding housing to bare survival, but other dimensions of the right to housing come into play. In this sense, it seems to take the stance of the ‘interest theory’ of rights, according to which despite their canonical formulations, rights have a dynamic character due to ever-evolving interest and duties that rights are there to protect and impose. This dynamism is even clearer in pluralist societies, where disagreement on those interest and duties flourishes. The chapter then calls the attention on how courts should do their job in regards to the interpretation and enforcement of socio-economic rights; it suggests taking an ‘integrated’ approach, which acknowledges the interconnection of the various rights.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationConstitutionalism
Subtitle of host publicationOld Dilemmas, New Insights
PublisherOxford University Press
Number of pages21
ISBN (Electronic)9780192896759
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2021


  • Courts
  • Dladdla case
  • Economic rights
  • Human interests
  • Right to housing
  • Rights
  • Social rights
  • Socio-economic rights
  • South african court

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Social Sciences


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