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The Right to Health Secured HIV/AIDS Medicine – Socio-Economic Rights in South Africa

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image of Nordic Journal of International Law

Socio-economic rights are justiciable in South Africa. Landmark rulings from the country's Constitutional Court on the right to housing and the right to health care provide excellent examples of the fine balancing act courts must undertake when they apply this category of human rights. Otherwise, the important principle of separation of powers may be infringed upon. Very few other countries have courts that have been able or willing to accomplish this. Similar dilemmas and results may be found when courts apply administrative law.This would normally be in application of a test of reasonableness, as in Norwegian administrative law. However, in many cases only an application of socio-economic rights may accomplish the necessary results, as in the Nevirapine case where the right to health care secured a life saving drug for HIV positive pregnant mothers and their babies.


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