The Pretoria University Law Press (PULP), established in 2005 and located in the Centre for Human Rights of the Faculty of Law at the University of Pretoria, celebrated a landmark this week as it launched its 175th publication. On 15 May 2017, PULP hosted Dr Malcolm Langford, co-editor of the landmark publication The Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights: A Commentary (OP-ICESCR Commentary), which recently appeared at PULP. Dr Langford is a renowned socio-economic rights scholar based at the Norwegian Centre for Human Rights.
The OP-ICESCR Commentary breaks new ground. It is the first and most comprehensive book of its kind. It offers rigorous scholarly commentary on the provisions of the OP-ICESCR, aimed at informing and encouraging research, reasoned argument, consistent interpretation and effective advocacy, adjudication and remedies under the Protocol. It also provides a critical resource for users of the Optional Protocol (applicants, lawyers, governments, the Committee) and a broader audience of scholars, students, national judiciaries and policymakers.
A second volume of essays, Social Rights Judgments and the Politics of Compliance: Making it Stick, was also launched on this occasion. Dr Langford, is also the co-editor of Making it Stick, and the Centre made the most of his presence by hosting the African launch of this cutting edge publication during his visit.
Making it Stick dissects the matter of compliance by states of orders related to socio-economic rights. The authors question whether there is compliance of judgments, they plot the levels of compliance with social rights judgments across fourteen jurisdictions, and investigate the reason why social political judgments are (often) not enforced. The publication engages in a comparative study of compliance of social rights judgments, as well as its broader effects. It aims to identify the factors affecting compliance and focusses on key explanations, rather than a single or exhaustive theory. The publication aims to offer successful strategies to improve enforcement.
The two book launches took place in the context of a one-week course on the 'judicial enforcement of socio-economic rights', presented as part of the Centre's Advanced Human Rights Courses (AHRC). This particular course brought together almost 60 participants from all over Africa. The course is presented as part of the Global School on Socio-Economic Rights, comprised of the Centre for Human Rights, the Norwegian Centre for Human Rights, the Institute for Human Rights, Abo Akademi (Finland), the Chair of Human Rights (University of Stellenbosch), and the University de los Andes (Colombia). The Centre presents around ten short courses per year; see http://www.chr.up.ac.za/index.php/projects/ahrc.html
Professor Jackie Dugard from the University of the Witwatersrand, one of the course lecturers, presented some reflections on the two books. She expressed the firm view that Malcolm Langford's research is cutting-edge and illustrates a connection between social rights judgments and attaining compliance. She commended him for his editorial work, and also congratulated PULP on the publication of the very important OP-ICESCR Commentary.
This event marks a milestone for PULP, which was established with the aim of increasing access to innovative, high-quality, peer-reviewed texts with a focus on human rights and other aspects of public international law, especially in Africa. Prof Frans Viljoen, Director of the Centre, congratulated all involved in the initiative to establish PULP, adding: 'The establishment of PULP, as the only publishing house at the University of Pretoria, is remarkable. Even more praiseworthy, is its incredible productivity (175 publications over 13 years, thus an average of 14 publications per year). This accomplishment has been achieved through the immense dedication and unfailing professionalism of the PULP manager, Lizette Hermann, who is almost single-handedly responsible for all of PULP's outputs. Our immeasurable thanks go to her!'
All PULP publications are open access and can be accessed at www.pulp.ac.za. Publications are overseen by a management committee, convened by Professor Charles Fombad, and also including Professors Danie Brand, Christof Heyns, Frans Viljoen, Dr Femida Cassim and Mr Tshepo Madlingozi.