Boyle K & Flegg A (2022) The Right to Adequate Housing in the UK - An Explainer [Briefing - Economic, Social and Cultural Rights Part Three]. Nuffield Foundation. Access to Justice For Social Rights: Addressing The Accountability Gap. London.
This briefing document has been prepared for the Nuffield Foundation project on ‘Access to Justice For Social Rights: Addressing the Accountability Gap’, led by Dr Katie Boyle. It forms the third part of four briefings that explore and explain the international legal obligation to provide the rights to food, housing, and social security. This briefing explains what the right to adequate housing means in terms of international and regional law and how this can be understood domestically at both a devolved and national level. It explains what the right to adequate housing means, why both the devolved regions and the UK have an obligation to provide the right and why it is important to do so, and how this could be best realised within the context at the national level and each devolved nation. In particular, the briefing sets out the different means of legal incorporation. This means exploring the ways that we can incorporate and enforce the right in our own domestic laws. In other words, how can the UK best protect the right to adequate housing? The importance of ensuring a human rights-based approach to housing should not be underestimated. It is a key component of international human rights law, and in particular, economic, social and cultural (ESC) rights. ESC rights cover rights including housing, employment, heath care, education, and an adequate standard of living. They more broadly protect marginalised groups such as those living in poverty, women, children, the elderly, disabled persons, migrants and so on. ESC rights are also often overlooked in the UK’s legal systems, including at the devolved level, and so require further exploration to ensure that they are properly implemented into domestic law (known
as incorporation). Housing is also a devolved area, meaning Wales, Northern Ireland (NI), and Scotland all have powers to implement and effect changes to housing policy and practice.