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Reaching out to the needy? access to justice and public attorneys' role in right to health litigation in the city of São Paulo

Wang, Daniel W. L. and Ferraz, Octavio Luiz Motta (2013) Reaching out to the needy? access to justice and public attorneys' role in right to health litigation in the city of São Paulo. Sur (International Journal on Human Rights), 10 (18). pp. 158-179. ISSN 1806-6445

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Abstract

Right to health litigation in Brazil raises a debate regarding its distributive eff ects in a resource-constrained setting. Several studies have found that a signifi cant proportion of litigation features individual claimants who live in the most affl uent states, cities and districts of Brazil and are usually represented by private lawyers, whose fees are beyond the reach of most of the poor population. For some, this is an indication that the distributive eff ects of litigation are very likely negative because litigation tends to benefi t a privileged socio-economic group and may force health authorities to divert to them resources from comprehensive health programs that benefi t the majority of the population. Others, however, argue that courts can nonetheless provide an important institutional voice for the poor and promote health equity when they manage to access them. The main problem for this "prolitigation camp" is thus to enhance access to Justice. Our aim is to analyze lawsuits in which litigants are represented by public attorneys in right to health litigation in the city of São Paulo to inquire if at least this type of litigation is reaching out to the neediest citizens. This study analyzes three indicators: the income of litigants, the Human Development Index and the Health Need Index of the areas where they live. Our conclusion is that although public attorneys seem to represent mostly low income people, other indicators suggest that there are still important obstacles for public attorneys to reach the neediest. © This paper is published under the creative commons license.

Item Type: Article
Official URL: http://www.surjournal.org
Additional Information: © 2013 The Authors
Divisions: Law
Subjects: K Law > K Law (General)
Sets: Departments > Law
Date Deposited: 12 Mar 2014 11:55
Last Modified: 20 Oct 2019 01:56
URI: http://eprints.lse.ac.uk/id/eprint/56062

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