Research Report

The Right to Food in the UK - An Explainer

Alternative title Briefing - Economic, Social and Cultural Rights Part Four



Boyle K & Flegg A (2022) The Right to Food in the UK - An Explainer [Briefing - Economic, Social and Cultural Rights Part Four]. 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 fourth 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 food means in terms of international law and how this can be understood at the domestic level at both national and devolved level. It explains what the right to food means, why the devolved regions and the UK both 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 report looks at different means of legal incorporation with practice from around the world taken into account. This means exploring the ways that we can implement and enforce the right in our own domestic laws. In other words, how can the UK best protect the right to food? The importance of ensuring a human rights-based approach to food should not be underestimated. It is a key component of international human rights law, and in particular, economic, social and cultural (ESC) rights as provided for by the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR). ESC rights cover housing, employment, heath care, education, and the right to an adequate standard of living to name but a few. 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 require further exploration within this context to ensure ESC rights are properly implemented into domestic law, with effective remedies made available via the courts.

FundersThe Nuffield Foundation
Title of seriesAccess to Justice For Social Rights: Addressing The Accountability Gap
Publication date31/05/2022
Place of publicationLondon

People (2)


Professor Katie Boyle
Professor Katie Boyle

Chair of International Human Rights Law, Law

Mr Aidan Flegg
Mr Aidan Flegg

Lecturer, Philosophy

Projects (1)