Constitutional protection of economic and social rights in South Africa

This proposal forms part of a larger project on economic and social rights in general, and the right to housing in particular. Some jurisdictions are reticent about affording constitutional or even legislative protection to such rights. The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, for example, entrenches civil and political rights in the Constitution, but is silent about economic and social rights

South Africa is the best-known example of a jurisdiction that affords economic and social rights a constitutional protection similar to civil and political rights. Decisions of its Constitutional Court about the right to housing, notably the 2001 judgment in Government of the Republic of South Africa v. Grootboom et al, have influenced the shape and development of this and other economic and social rights worldwide.

What lessons can Canada learn from South Africa’s approach to economic and social rights?

Project leader(s):
  • Jane Matthews Glenn (Visiting scholar, McGill)

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