ABSTRACT

Rights that remain unfulfilled or that are dishonoured do not necessarily cease to be in the formal sense, but to exist in a meaningful way rights must be effective. They must either be specifically enforceable, or else it must be possible for people who have been denied their rights to seek some form of redress. This applies as much to welfare rights as to any other kind. We have already seen that welfare or social rights are not the same as legal or civil rights, yet they depend for their definition upon the law-making process. The administrative machinery of a democratic-welfare-capitalist state will generally provide the individual with at least some means of redress if she cannot obtain or enforce those rights. This chapter is concerned with the enforceability of welfare rights and with individual rights of redress, but it will begin by addressing the relationship between welfare and law and the issues that are raised by the legalisation or ‘juridification’ of welfare. In so far that the legal basis of rights to welfare and the process by which redress may be sought can be highly technical, the chapter will also discuss the means by which people may obtain the expert assistance that may be required in order to exercise a right of redress. Finally, the chapter will address the comparatively limited role the courts may play in the enforcement of welfare rights and the very substantial array of procedures for administrative redress that exist beyond the courts.