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Litigating Health Rights

Litigating Health Rights

Can Courts Bring More Justice to Health?

Edited by Alicia Ely Yamin and Siri Gloppen

ISBN 9780979639555

Publication date: 09/12/2011

The last fifteen years have seen a tremendous growth in the number of health rights cases focusing on issues such as access to health services and essential medications. This volume examines the potential of litigation as a strategy to advance the right to health by holding governments accountable for these obligations. It includes case studies from Costa Rica, South Africa, India, Brazil, Argentina and Colombia, as well as chapters that address cross-cutting themes.

The authors analyze what types of services and interventions have been the subject of successful litigation and what remedies have been ordered by courts. Different chapters address the systemic impact of health litigation efforts, taking into account who benefits both directly and indirectly—and what the overall impacts on health equity are.


  • Alicia Ely Yamin is Director of the Program on the Health Rights of Women and Children, François-Xavier Bagnoud Center for Health and Human Rights, and Adjunct Lecturer on Health Policy and Management, Harvard University.
  • Siri Gloppen is Professor of Comparative Politics at the University of Bergen and Research Director at the Chr. Michelsen Institute (CMI) in Norway.

Book Details

  • 446 pages
  • 6 x 9 inches
  • Human Rights Program, Harvard Law School