Litigating Health Rights
Can Courts Bring More Justice to Health?

edited by Alicia Ely Yamin and Siri Gloppen

© 2011 Chr. Michelsen Institute and the Human Rights Program at Harvard Law School

448 pages

ISBN 978-0-979-63955-5(paperback)

Price $24.95

International Human Rights Clinic
Human Rights Program

Harvard Law School
1563 Massachusetts Avenue
Pound Hall 401
Cambridge, MA 02138,

From the back cover --

The last fifteen years have seen a tremendous growth in litigation focused on right-to-health issues, such as access to health services and essential medications. What drives this phenomenon and what is its impact? Does such litigation serve as a tool for holding governments accountable for their commitments toward vulnerable groups whose right to health is at risk, or is it simply a tool for privileged groups to access expensive treatments and an unfair share of health-care spending? Litigating Health Rights is the first comprehensive study to examine whether this trend toward judicialization is positive or negative for the advancement of the right to health and whether it can bring more justice to health care. Featuring case studies from Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Costa Rica, India, and South Africa, as well as chapters that address cross-cutting themes, this book assesses the systemic impact of health rights litigation and offers a look at who its real winners and losers are.

Reviews --

“For decades, policy makers and scholars viewed the topic of courts and social change through the lens of a skeptical literature that extrapolated broad findings from the experiences of one or two jurisdictions. By assessing health rights litigation in six countries, this book represents a new and much-needed comparative approach to social and economic rights. And in considering the impact of litigation on access to services, sect oral governance, budgets, health systems, and even refined measures of cost effectiveness, this study aims to move the analysis of impact to a whole new plane. This is a sophisticated, multi-disciplinary, and significant study that will appeal to human rights activists and health policy makers, as well as to legal academics and social scientists.”

—Varun Gauri, World Bank, Editor of Courting Social Justice (Cambridge, 2008)

“This volume makes an outstanding contribution to the study of social rights litigation by opening the curtain behind judicial interventions on the right to health to reveal and problematize the consequences in policy and practice.”

—Malcolm Langford, University of Oslo, Editor of Social Rights Jurisprudence (Cambridge, 2008)



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