How Do We Select Cases for the Caselaw Database?

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  • Our idea of "caselaw" goes beyond judgments in the traditional court-focused sense. We include decisions of courts, administrative tribunals, international judicial and quasi-judicial bodies, review bodies of international financial institutions, national human rights institutions and other legal entities.
  • For the selection of the cases and decisions we have considered the (i) binding force of decision (ii) level of the court/decision-making body (iii) nature of the decision (iv) significance of the case for ESCR advocacy (v) precedent value (vi) the nature of the order and (vii) the possible uses of the decision by advocates in other countries.
  • In general, we have selected cases which address critical issues with respect to the status or enforceability of ESCR in a country or region or which relate either directly or indirectly to a right recognized in the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR).
  • Cases may also address the status of international human rights law more generally in a domestic legal system. They may demonstrate or establish the overlap between civil and political rights and social and economic rights, or they may rule on the positive obligations of governments to address the needs of disadvantaged individuals and groups.
  • We are particularly interested in cases which deal with issues frequently encountered by ESCR advocates. These include judicial deference, evidentiary issues, standing of affected constituencies or the nature of appropriate remedies. Decisions which may be of use to others are a priority. We are also including some of the seminal cases in the area of ESCR which have been and are likely to be referred to in subsequent cases.
  • Women, children, the elderly, disabled persons and other vulnerable groups are at greatest risk of experiencing fundamental violations of ESCR. However, they are often denied legal protections or access to courts. Thus, the ESCR claims of these groups are a key element of the database.


There are currently 82 cases in the Caselaw Database.

For each case you will find a synopsis in English and Spanish which includes the (1) title of case (2) country where the case was decided or to which the decision applies (3) forum that decided the case and date of the release of the decision (4) nature of case (5) a summary of the case focusing on what the court decided or the order issued (6) outcomes of the case, including issues of enforcement (7) general information on the groups involved on the case and (8) what we considered to be the significance of the case for ESC rights advocates and claimants.
For the majority of cases, we have included relevant legal documents such as the judgments, legal briefs or copies of orders. Most of such documents are only provided in their original language, except where existing translations were already available. Unfortunately at this time we do not have the resources to undertake translations of these documents.

With the aim of contextualizing each case, we have provided a compilation of secondary literature. As far as possible we have made all secondary information available online as either a downloadable file or a webpage. However, where this was not possible, we have included a bibliographical reference for the corresponding article or document. As with legal documents most of the secondary literature is only available in the original language, except where existing translations were already available. If you have translations for any of the legal documentation or the secondary literature that you would like to share please contact us.

Work in Progress...

The database is a work in progress and does not claim to represent an exhaustive compilation of important ESCR cases. We hope to take direction from practitioners and affected constituencies as to what the critical issues are in different countries and regions and to benefit from local and regional expertise in further developing the database. There are gaps in terms of regions, constituencies, themes and areas of law. We look forward to working with the members of ESCR-Net and other human rights advocates to fill in the gaps and to hearing about significant cases and issues that can be added.

We wish to express our thanks and appreciation to all the advocates, researchers and rights claimants who contributed to the creation of this database. 

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Back to Resource Page on Justiciability of ESCR