In the past seventy years, the idea of education as a fundamental right has spread in democratic countries throughout the world. Multiple constitutions and international treaties have codified an inalienable right to education provided by the government. Recent litigation has highlighted a possibility that high tuition rates for universities may effectively serve as barriers to accessing higher learning and infringe upon this fundamental right to education.
This Note will address a 2011 case in the United Kingdom, Hurley and Moore v. Secretary of State for Business, Innovation & Skills, which recognized the harm of increasing higher education tuition fees to low-income students, and analyze its applicability in the United States. Part I will outline the specifics of the case, the arguments made by each party, and the holding. Part II will examine the treaties and laws under which the plaintiffs claimed a cause of action. Part III will provide an overview of the educational system in the United Kingdom. Part IV will examine the effect of the Hurley holding in the United Kingdom. Part V will argue that the United States is bound to the terms of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights as a signatory. Part VI will assert that the United States is violating the terms of the treaty by failing to provide a comprehensive system for students to access loans, and will analyze outcomes in the United States should liability under the treaty be recognized.
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