The Mercy Law Resource Centre, one of the ESC Rights Initiative members, launched its Second Right to Housing Report: The Right to Housing in Comparative Perspective
The report will be formally launched by Dr Carol Coulter,Director of the Child Care Law Reporting Project (CCLRP), honorary Adjunct Professor in the School of Law, NUI Galway.Professor Paddy Gray, Emeritus Professor at the University of Ulster, will give an address on best practice in relation to the provision of emergency accommodation in the UK.
Through considering the legal systems of Finland, Scotland, France and South Africa, “The Right to Housing in Comparative Perspective” engages with well-ventilated arguments in Irish political discourse over legal protection of the right to housing. In doing so, MLRC seeks to offer a comparative perspective on the principled and practical concerns raised by proponents and opponents of a justiciable right to housing.
The comparative analysis highlights that there are a wide variety of structural and institutional means by which the right can be guaranteed: there is no ‘one size fits all’ model. The variety of institutional means available to vindicate the right to housing demonstrates that concerns frequently expressed against economic and social rights – particularly separation of powers concerns – can be addressed.
The simple fact is that guaranteeing the right to housing does not necessarily equate to a significantly increased constitutional role for the judiciary.
In terms of the efficacy of legal protection, the MLRC analysis suggests that a legally enforceable right to housing- while not a panacea- provides a valuable floor of protection. However, the experience of all the jurisdictions considered in this report also highlights that the effectiveness of the right to housing is heavily contingent on the existence of sufficient and enduring political will to vindicate such rights through difficult budgetary, policy, and legislative choices.