There are no enforceable economic , social or cultural rights in the UK. Although the UK has ratified ICESCR it has not been incorporated into domestic law and the ECHR is of course primarily concerned with civil and political rights.  Therefore it is generally uncontroversial that there are no rights to state benefits or social security in the UK. The attempts that have been made to infer such rights under ECHR have largely failed.

Nonetheless , there have still been a large number of challenges brought to various aspects of the benefits system. Mostly these have been on grounds derived from the common law , EU law , the public sector equality duty or Article 14 ECHR discrimination. As is clear from the summer 2015 budget and the Welfare Reform and Work Bill 2015/16 , the program of reform to the UK social security system is likely to remain a political reality for some time to come and doubtless the legal challenges will also continue.

Author: Jamie Burton

Publication date: November 6 2015