The SDG Temple of Justice
The Third Pillar: Contract Rights
The eight pillars of legal empowerment
of the SDG Temple of Justice
The blueprint presented here seeks to help realize the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by leveraging the human rights foundation of SDGs through the eight pillars of rights relating to legal empowerment of the people including the poor and vulnerable groups.
Why contract rights matter for the SDGs?
Property law and contract law together provide the legal foundation for markets.
Contract rights are those rights that are granted through a valid contract. These can be expressly written, such as the exclusive rights to use copyrighted material. They can also be inferred from the contract, such as the party’s rights to a fair and equal disclosure of the contract material. Contract rights exist on both sides of the agreement: one party may have the right to purchase a product, while the other party may have the right to supply that product to the buyer. Each contract addresses a different set of rights depending on the needs of the parties.
More importantly, the right to freedom of contract is the freedom of private or public individuals and groups (of any legal entity) to form contracts without external control such as government restrictions. Through freedom of contract, individuals possess a general freedom to choose with whom to contract, whether to contract or not, and on which terms to contract, however, subject to legal restrictions such as minimum wage, competition law, or price fixing.
Therefore contract rights are an important tool of empowering the poor and the vulnerable groups which places a duty on national legislatures to create efficient and inclusive legal frameworks for the recognition and enforcement of contractual rights.
As contracts govern the exchange of goods and services, money and properties, contract rights play a critically important role in ending poverty (Goal 1), ending hunger and achieving food security (Goal 2), achieving gender equality and empowering all women and girls (Goal 5), ensuring access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all (Goal 7), promoting sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all (Goal 8), and generally the implementation of all other SDGs.