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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:The potential of socio-economic rights litigation for the achievement of social justice: considering the example of access to medical care in South African prisons
Author:Pieterse, MariusISNI
Periodical:Journal of African Law
Geographic term:South Africa
social and economic rights
health care
access to health care
External link:http://ejournals.ebsco.com/direct.asp?ArticleID=40F4AC092EBA45C0DB5C
Abstract:This article considers the remedial and transformative potential of litigation based on legally enforceable socioeconomic entitlements, such as the justiciable socioeconomic rights contained in the 1996 South African Constitution. It focuses on the interpretation and enforcement of South African prisoners' constitutional rights to dignified conditions of detention (including the provision of adequate medical treatment at State expense) and to consult with medical practitioners of their choice. Although these rights have not yet been the subject of a decision by the South African Constitutional Court, they have been central or incidental to a number of High Court decisions. The article discusses these decisions in an attempt to illustrate, first, that courts are institutionally equipped to effectively vindicate socioeconomic rights, secondly, that the enforcement of socioeconomic rights may result in tangible and affirmative relief for individual beneficiaries, and thirdly, that victories in socioeconomic rights matters may cumulatively have significant transformative potential. The article situates prisoners' rights to medical treatment in the social, legal and constitutional contexts of South Africa, discusses the ambit, scope and remedial potential of the rights, and considers the affirmative and transformative effects of the judgments in which they have been enforced. In particular, the article considers the impact of this distinct body of socioeconomic rights jurisprudence on overarching social struggles for improved access to health care services (especially antiretroviral treatment) in South African prisons. Notes, ref., sum. (p. i). [Journal abstract]