Table of Contents

Juridification and Social Citizenship in the Welfare State

Juridification and Social Citizenship in the Welfare State

Edited by Henriette Sinding Aasen, Siri Gloppen, Anne-Mette Magnussen and Even Nilssen

The concept of juridification refers to a diverse set of processes involving shifts towards more detailed legal regulation, regulations of new areas, and conflicts and problems increasingly being framed in legal and rights-oriented terms. This timely book questions the impact international and national regulations have upon vulnerable groups (the unemployed, patients, prisoners, immigrants, and others) in terms of inclusion, exclusion and social citizenship. Focusing on European welfare states, as well as lessons from Latin America, it considers the implementation of the right to health and the role of international courts. This book brings empirical analysis and multidisciplinary, comparative perspectives to the previously fragmented and largely theoretical debate on juridification in the welfare state.

Chapter 7: Judging the price of life: cost considerations in right-to-health litigation

Octavio L.M. Ferraz, Siri Gloppen, Ottar Mæstad and Lise Rakner

Subjects: law - academic, human rights, law and society, politics and public policy, european politics and policy, social policy and sociology, welfare states


The term ‘judicialization of politics’ captures the increasing involvement of courts in issues that were traditionally seen as the preserve of the political branches, that is, the realm of politics and policy, not law – a phenomenon that over the past several decades has been observed in much of the world (Tate and Vallinder 1995). The so-called ‘judicialization of health’ is a manifestation of this broader trend (Anderson 1992; Russo 2009). It has also been around for decades, but has acquired new strength and relevance with juridification processes that have seen the increasing recognition of the right to health by a growing number of countries through the adoption of international, regional and domestic legal instruments. More countries are currently considering strengthening the right to health in their constitutional and legal frameworks, including, for instance, the UK and Norway, the latter discussed by Magnussen and Brandt, Chapter 6 in this volume. To understand some of the dynamics this might set into play, and the potential consequences for social citizenship, it is useful to examine the experiences of countries that have seen significant judicialization of the right to health in the form of right-to-health litigation, aimed at holding governments accountable for legal obligations related to the right to health. Latin America is the continent where judicialization of health has been most pronounced. Several countries have seen an exponential growth in claims concerning the right to access health services.

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