Inhibitions to the enforcement of economic and social rights in the UK and Nigeria: a study of two worlds

Olumese, O., 2019. Inhibitions to the enforcement of economic and social rights in the UK and Nigeria: a study of two worlds. PhD, Nottingham Trent University.

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This research analyses the socio-legal approaches taken to realising socio-economic rights (SER) in Nigeria in comparison to the UK, within the sphere of international human rights jurisprudence. The implementation of SER is a much-debated issue in human rights practice by academics from various disciplines, and there is a plethora of objections to SER being described as rights in the first place, not to mention their being justiciable. This aptly captures the situation in Nigeria and the UK. This position is informed by the history of SER as some states regard SER as nothing but pious declarations, and any sort of judicial 'interference' in the enforcement of SER is criticised as tying the hands of governments with unrealistic commitments by those (courts) who lack the democratic legitimacy and institutional capacity to make such decisions. However, I argue that the involvement of the courts can help shape social and public policy in order to realise SER. And how would the judiciary go about doing this, without 'encroaching' on an area that is widely thought to be the exclusive preserve of parliament and the executive? I examine this, drawing on perspectives from Nigeria and the UK.

Because of the expansive scope of the subject of SER, the focus of this research is limited to the rights to work, housing and healthcare in Nigeria in comparison to the UK. I have chosen these rights because it can be argued that these three set of rights necessarily encompass the other aspects of SER and bear vital linkages to them. The framework and standard of measurement for these rights are set in Articles 6 (work), 11 (housing) and 12 (healthcare) of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR) being the primary source of this research.

To aid my analysis of these rights, I draw on the provisions of regional human rights legislation such as the African Charter, and the European Convention on Human Rights. These together with the literature on these rights are then integrated with related country-specific legislation on the above rights. Through this process, I have been able to generate and analyse common themes by seeking the factors that are responsible for the various approaches to the realisation of SER in both jurisdictions.

Although the UK and Nigeria have ratified the ICESCR, they are yet to incorporate ICESCR rights into their national laws. Despite this similarity, their approach to the realisation of SER from an international perspective does take on different pathways. This research does not seek to ask why these differences in approaches occur but aims to identify and analyse common themes present in SER' theory and practice in both jurisdictions with the aim of providing an original academic contribution to the ongoing discourse of SER enforcement in both jurisdictions, given the increase in rights-based approaches to social policy.
Finally, adopting Henry Shue's idea of basic rights, I argue for the streamlining of the rights in the ICESCR through the process of a minimum core for SER which I believe will be more effective in the realisation and enforcement of SER in the UK and Nigeria.

Item Type: Thesis
Creators: Olumese, O.
Date: April 2019
Rights: This work is the intellectual property of the author. You may copy up to 5% of this work for private study, or personal, non-commercial research. Any re-use of the information contained within this document should be fully referenced, quoting the author, title, university, degree level and pagination. Queries or requests for any other use, or if a more substantial copy is required, should be directed to the owner(s) of the Intellectual Property Rights.
Divisions: Schools > Nottingham Law School
Record created by: Linda Sullivan
Date Added: 02 May 2019 07:54
Last Modified: 02 May 2019 07:54

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