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Children’s Socio-Economic Rights, Democracy And The Courts

By: Aoife Nolan
Media of Children’s Socio-Economic Rights, Democracy And The Courts
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Published: 15-09-2011
Format: PDF eBook (?)
Edition: 1st
Extent: 336
ISBN: 9781847318312
Imprint: Hart Publishing
Series: Human Rights Law in Perspective
RRP: £24.29
Online price : £19.43
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Loren Epson

About Children’s Socio-Economic Rights, Democracy And The Courts

This book is concerned with children's economic and social rights (sometimes referred to simply as children's social rights). Despite increased academic interest in both children's rights and socio-economic rights over the last two decades, children's social and economic rights remain a comparatively neglected area. This is particularly true with regard to the role of the courts in the enforcement of such social rights. Aoife Nolan's book remedies this omission, focussing on the circumstances in which the courts can and should give effect to the social and economic rights of children. The arguments put forward are located within the context of, and develop, long-standing debates in constitutional law, democratic theory and human rights. The claims made by the author are supported and illustrated by concrete examples of judicial enforcement of children's social and economic rights from a variety of jurisdictions. The work is thus rooted in both theory and practice.

The author brings together and addresses a wide range of issues that have never previously been considered together in book form. These include children's socio-economic rights; children as citizens and their position in relation to democratic decision-making processes; the implications of children and their rights for democratic and constitutional theory; the role of the courts in ensuring the enforcement of children's rights; and the debates surrounding the litigation and adjudication of social and economic rights. This book thus represents a major original contribution to the existing scholarship in a range of areas including human (and specifically social) rights, legal and political theory and constitutional law.

'Children's rights were often thought to be synonymous with economic and social welfare prior to the adoption of the Convention on the Rights of the Child in 1989. Ironically, since that time, remarkably little scholarship has been devoted to the vitally important economic and social rights dimensions of children's rights. Nolan's book singlehandedly remedies that neglect and does so in a sophisticated, nuanced and balanced way. It provides a superb account of the pros and cons of judicial activism in promoting these rights.'
Philip Alston, John Norton Pomeroy Professor, NYU Law School

'Thus far the burgeoning literature on the judicial enforcement of socio-economic rights has failed to engage in a sustained, systemic manner with this topic from the perspective of children and the complexity of their status as citizens within contemporary democracies. This book fills this gap and makes a major contribution to the literature in the three interrelated areas of the judicial review of socio-economic rights claims, children's rights, and democratic theory. Nolan navigates skilfully through the dense, but rich literature in these areas as well as relevant international and comparative law. In so doing she illuminates both the pitfalls and potential of resorting to courts in a partial response to the multifaceted and deeply entrenched global phenomenon of child poverty.'
Professor Sandra Liebenberg, HF Oppenheimer Professor of Human Rights Law, University of Stellenbosch Law Faculty.

Winner of the Kevin Boyle Book Prize 2012, awarded by the Irish Association of Law Teachers to a book that is deemed to have made an outstanding contribution to the understanding of law.

Table Of Contents

1. Children and Socio-economic Rights
2. Children and Democracy
3. Exploring the 'Counter-Majoritarian Objection'
4. A Question of Balance? The Separation of Powers, Constitutional Supremacy and Children's Socio-economic Rights
5. The Issue of Efficacy
6. Using the Courts to Advance Children's Socio-economic Rights: Proceed with Caution?
7. Conclusions


“Nolan's book is based on extensive, wide-ranging research and is very skilfully argued. Add to that the novelty of taking a child-centred approach to socio-economic rights and the book looks set to become the 'go to' source on the adjudication of children's socio-economic rights for human rights scholars and practitioners.” –  Anashri Pillay, LSE Review of Books

“...both a welcome and necessary development and stands as a timely contribution to the existing literature.
Nolan's work would provide a useful insight to researchers with an interest in constitutional law and theory, democratic theory, judicial theory, children's rights and human rights. Throughout the text, her arguments are accompanied by well-supported examples of litigation from a variety of jurisdictions. The detailed account of litigation included would be of use to practitioners, especially to those from the jurisdictions named within the text (UK, South Africa, India, Argentina, Brazil, Columbia and the USA). Policy-makers and judges would also be well informed by the text. Indeed, it appears the author would hope that the judiciary or policy-makers would benefit from an awareness of the arguments put forward by the book and would be encouraged to be mindful of the benefits of a proactive approach to enforcing children's socio-economic rights when engaging in their respective functions.
” –  Emma Nottingham, Child and Family Law Quarterly, Volume 25, Number 1

“Despite the burgeoning literature on both children's rights and economic and social rights, it seems strange that it has taken until 2011 to have the two areas of research combined in a single book. Aoife Nolan's research is an important contribution to both these areas of literature...Her work engages a wide range of international case law on children's economic and social rights not often readily available in the English language and demonstrates a deep understanding of how the law can be best used to promote the rights of the most disadvantaged in society, without overlooking its institutional limitations. This book is a must-have for all economic and social rights and children's rights scholars.” –  Claire McCann, Human Rights Law Review, Volume 12

“Nolan leaves no challenge dismantling virtually every objection to judicial action on children's socio-economic rights, her argument emerges fully intact...The book will be welcomed by scholars specializing in children's rights, as well as scholars interested in the literature on judicial capacity.” –  Alice Hearst, Law and Politics Book Review, Volume 22, Number 1

“Aoife Nolan addresses a crucial and underdeveloped topic in the literature of human rights law: the socio-economic rights of children.

In order to support the claim that the courts are not only able but obligated to enforce child socio-economic rights, Nolan provides a thorough analysis of liberal democratic theory, the role of children in democracy, the judiciary's role as guardian of rights, the institutional capacity of the courts to enforce the socio-economic rights, and the implementation of rights-related court decisions. The book is a necessary analysis of the efficacy and legitimacy of judicial action in favour of child rights. Nolan advocates for the implementation of a rights-based response to child poverty, a crucial driver of poor overall health, and in doing so provides a powerful contribution to health and human rights scholarship.

” –  Judith Fitzpatrick, Health and Human Rights, Volume 13, No. 2

“... carefully crafted and compelling ... Professor Nolan has produced a superbly written and researched book that draws together a wealth of related material from the realms of children's rights and constitutional law and theory. She is equally comfortable with either vein of material, and has joined the dots between the two to great effect, leaving virtually no stone unturned in the presentation and defence of her argument. In the process, she has made a contribution to the study of both children's rights and socio-economic rights that will shape discussion of these questions for years to come.” –  Conor O'Mahony, Modern Law Review, Volume 77, Number 3

“This is without a question one of the very best books on a major aspect of children's rights yet written...This book should be in every international law and every children's/human rights library.” –  Michael Freeman, International Journal of Children's Rights, 2015

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