Vulnerability as a Legal Principle | Max-Planck-Institut für Sozialrecht und Sozialpolitik - MPISOC



Vulnerability as a Legal Principle

“People who are vulnerable must be empowered." This is the first sentence of the 23rd recital of the introduction to the UN Agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development. However, it remains unclear what this empowerment should look like and which actors have a duty to act in this respect. The concept of vulnerability is frequently used in declarations of intent, binding legal acts, court rulings and scientific contributions in various disciplines. Yet, the answers to supposedly simple questions such as: "Who are these vulnerable people and what makes them vulnerable?" remain equivocal. Is vulnerability therefore merely a political buzzword or are substantial protection and benefit rights associated with categorisation? The dissertation project attempts to counter the ambiguity surrounding the concept of vulnerability with legally manageable standards. On the basis of a systematic evaluation of the vulnerability discourse, the potentials of this concept as a legal analysis category are to be sounded out and then examined in legal practice on the basis of the existing body of law.


Tim Rohmann