Ndungu, Samwel: Travel Grant - 2017-2018

Cornell Law School
Project Title: 
Effects of Litigation on Socioeconomic Rights: Normativization and Depoliticization in South Africa
Project Abstract: 
My research investigates whether the by-product of the recasting of social economic policy goals as socioeconomic rights- judicial enforcement- has negative effects on the development goals of socioeconomic rights. In norm-forming, or normativization, do courts actually come up with “less” rights- more restrictive definitions of rights- in bowing to governmental arguments on polycentricity? Secondly, due to the relative ease of litigation, as compared to other more political means of enforcement (lobbying, for example), is there a litigation bias, and does that produce a depoliticization effect? In other words, do organizations seeking to enforce socioeconomic rights have a bias towards judicial enforcement, as opposed to other more dialogical means of enforcement? I will use South Africa as a case study, with specific emphasis on the judgments of the South African Constitutional Court and NGOs litigating before it.