Much has been written about the effects of "rights" on access to basic services such as water and health care. By contrast, very little is know about the effects of legislation and constitutional reforms that are designed explicitly to prevent, resist or reverse privatization and promote public services. It is unclear to what extent such legal tools can assist in developing, sustaining and improving effective public service provision.
The MSP is undertaking research that explores these legal mechanisms, both in terms of their theoretical foundations and their actual impacts. The first paper we have published on this theme, Shields and Swords: Legal Tools for Public Water, looks at six cases of citizen-backed referenda and litigation (Uruguay, Colombia, Berlin, Italy, Grenoble, Indonesia), offering a comparative and global perspective.