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Routledge Handbook of Constitutional Law by Cheryl Saunders, Thomas Fleiner, Mark Tushnet

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29Fundamental social rights

George Katrougalos* and Paul O’Connell

29.1 Introduction

Fundamental social rights are constitutionally protected entitlements that impose substantive, legally binding obligations on the state to provide for the basic material needs (e.g. housing, health and education) of people. They should be distinguished from mere legislative welfare entitlements, which are basically discretionary in nature. In contrast, the essential fulfillment of fundamental social rights, as of every other constitutional right, is beyond the discretion of changing governmental policies.1 While in international law the term generally used is ‘social and economic rights’ (or economic, social and cultural rights), the term ‘fundamental social ...

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