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Dr. Katharine Young Speaks at ILS Colloquium

2011-12 news archive


On March 28, 2012, Dr. Katharine Young spoke on the topic “The Enforcement of Economic and Social Rights: How Rights to Food, Water, Health, Housing and Education are Changing Public Law.” Dr. Young, a Visiting Scholar at Boston College Law School, is a Senior Lecturer at Australian National University College of Law.

The presentation drew on Part II of Dr. Young’s forthcoming book, Constituting Economic and Social Rights (OUP, June 2012). When rights to food, water, health, housing and education are entrenched in law, they raise a wide range of institutional challenges. Drawing on international and comparative examples, Dr. Young’s presentation discussed some of the institutional responses by both administrative agencies and courts. With respect to the latter, she presented a variety of modes of judicial review, and of judicial role conceptions, that have emerged in the attempts to scrutinize government policy and legislation, and to provide remedies for infringement. She argued that institutional experimentation around the world shows that the most useful role for enforcement is one that is responsive to whether government intransigence, incompetence, or inattentiveness has caused the rights-infringement in issue. This raises a more salient set of questions, rather than any strict division between negative and positive rights.