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Political trust and the enforcement of constitutional social rights

Vitale, David Anthony (2018) Political trust and the enforcement of constitutional social rights. PhD thesis, London School of Economics and Political Science.

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Identification Number: 10.21953/lse.651brambnyww


This thesis addresses the long-debated question of courts’ proper role in enforcing constitutional social rights; and it does so from a new perspective – that of political trust. Its central argument is that the concept of political trust – as it has been conceptualised and theorised in the relevant social science literature – has normative potential for defining such a role for courts. Specifically, I argue that courts, in enforcing constitutional social rights, can, and should, use political trust as an adjudicative tool, employing it to develop a standard to which government, in its provision of social goods and services to the public, can and will be held. To make out this argument, I draw on both theoretical and empirical social science scholarship on trust and how it functions in contemporary societies. I suggest, based on that scholarship, that we can expect constitutional social rights adjudication by courts to be able to impact (and in the right circumstances, to foster) political trust. And following from this impact, in combination with the well-recognised value of political trust by social scientists as well as a host of other principled reasons, I make the claim that political trust can, and should, lie at the very centre of social rights enforcement by courts.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Additional Information: © 2018 David Anthony Vitale
Library of Congress subject classification: K Law > K Law (General)
Sets: Departments > Law
Supervisor: Poole, Tom and Murkens, Jo

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