ERT Convenes International Experts to Discuss Ground-Breaking Research on Equality and Socio-Economic Rights

London, 21 June 2013
On 6 June 2013, The Equal Rights Trust (ERT), in partnership with University College London (UCL) Institute for Human Rights convened 25 of the world’s leading experts on equality and social and economic rights to discuss its ground-breaking research into how strategic litigation using equality and non-discrimination law could advance socio-economic rights. Following the expert roundtable, ERT then hosted a public panel discussion entitled Poverty and Rights: Can and Should the Law Promote Socio-Economic Equality?

ERT convened the expert roundtable to discuss a draft report which is being prepared with support from the Ford Foundation. As well as making the case for using equality and non-discrimination strategies as a tool to advance socio-economic rights, the report contains a practical guide for strategic litigators seeking to use these strategies before the court.
The panel discussion which followed the roundtable was moderated by Professor Sir Bob Hepple QC, Chair of the ERT Board of Trustees, and included a panel of four leading experts:
  • Judge Claire L’Heureux-Dubé - Judge of the Supreme Court of Canada 1987-2002 and prominent expert in human rights and equality.
  • Judge Kate O’Regan - Judge of the South African Constitutional Court 1994-2009, with extensive experience of the South African approach to equality and socio-economic rights.
  • Dr Octavio Ferraz - Associate Professor of Law at the University of Warwick, whose research focuses on the role of courts in the enforcement of social and economic rights.
  • Dr Virginia Mantouvalou - Co-Director of the UCL Institute for Human Rights, Lecturer in Law and co-author, with Conor Gearty, of Debating Social Rights.
In a wide-ranging discussion, the panellists touched on issues such as the role of courts in addressing the impact of public spending cuts on the most disadvantaged, the longstanding divide between those who think that it is not the place of the law to redistribute resources and those who think socio-economic rights cannot be fully realised without such redistribution and whether equality law can be used to transform human rights more broadly.
To listen to a podcast of the panel discussion Poverty and Rights: Can and Should the Law Promote Socio-Economic Equality? click here.
To find out more about ERT’s work on using equality law to advance socio-economic rights, click here.