Whether socio-economic rights should be entrenched in constitutions has been a subject of lively debate. On the one hand, it has been argued that such an entrenchment is necessary in order to recognize the worth and standing of those rights and in order to give individual claimants sufficient remedies in cases of a breach of a right. On the other hand, it has been argued that it is unnecessary (because statutory recognition is sufficient) and even harmful because it invites judges to enter into the field of social policy where they have neither competence nor legitimacy to act.
Quite where the boundaries of justifiable judicial social policymaking lie will depend on one’s own understanding of the nature and value of democracy. Most will agree that there is value to policy outcomes possessing democratic legitimacy, but that this should not mean that the rights and interests of minorities are routinely ignored.
Are civil juries today incapable of understanding the complex issues presented to them? Are the results obtained through civil jury trials unfair, ill-informed or tainted? Should the United States move instead toward specialized juries, or trial before specialized judges, in place of the present system?
This report presents the views of a number of leading medical and legal experts on the complex evidential issues arising at inquests into sudden adult deaths. Participants include Michael Burgess OBE (HM Coroner of the Royal Household and Legal Secretary of the Coroners’ Society of England & Wales) and Professor Hugh Watkins (an expert in molecular genetics and molecular biology of heart muscle disease).