Lawyers or Liars? Is world hunger suable in court?
Title: Lawyers or Liars? Is world hunger suable in court?
Author: GALTUNG, Irene
Series/Report no.: EUI PhD theses; Department of Law
If, the right to food (which includes the right to safe drinking water) is a justiciable right (i.e. a right that is claimable in court), then people can claim it, which is precisely why it is argued to be non-justiciable. Indeed, then 1 billion people can claim it. According to the thesis, this is the key question in law: Is the right to food and water justiciable in court? Yes, the thesis affirms, despite hostile opposition by lawyers and non-lawyers alike. The thesis aims at contributing to the legal debate on the meaning of the right to food, i.e. it aims explicitly at exploring the justiciability of the right to food. The thesis does so by seeking to provide, for the first time, what the thesis calls, a systematic “legal map” of its justiciability, under national and international law. It seeks to piece together this puzzle in law. While legal scholarship exists on the justiciability of the right, this stops short of providing – literally – a legal map of the issue. This subject is particularly contentious today, due to the recent dramatic rise in food prices, and now financial crisis. The relevance of the subject can, thus, readily be seen. The thesis is about justice for 1 billion people. This is why the thesis asks two key questions relating to the right to food. First, can the right be claimed? Second, can the claim be righted? Both questions aim at improving the lives of the poorest. In this sense, they represent today’s leading puzzles in law about how this may be achieved. According to the thesis, these puzzles are present (at all levels of law) from national constitutions, to international conventions, to customary international law, i.e. the law is surprisingly and infelicitously ambiguous as to whether one of the most fundamental rights can be claimed in a court of law. The thesis will try to show that it is possible to claim multiple breaches of this right, against multiple duty-bearers. Simply stated, will such claims succeed in court? A lot depends on what judges are willing to make out of the texts before them.
Defence date: 21 October 2011; Examining Board: Professor Francesco FRANCIONI, EUI (supervisor) Professor Martin SCHEININ, EUI, United Nations Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms while countering terrorism Professor Olivier DE SCHUTTER, University of Louvain, United Nations Special Rapporteur on the right to food Professor Christopher MC CRUDDEN, Oxford University
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