In the last fifteen years, judicial claims to secure health services as a matter of right have become an important phenomenon in a number of countries including South Africa, India, Brazil, Colombia, Argentina, and Costa Rica. Little systematic empirical information is available with respect to the impact on health financing of such litigation. However, a multi-disciplinary research project coordinated by the Chr. Michelsen Institute provides some preliminary findings.

Existing evidence portrays a mixed picture where litigation on the one hand may force greater governmental responsiveness and open a path to systemic changes, while in other cases litigation may exacerbate existing inequities in health.