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Human rights law

Gearty, Conor ORCID: 0000-0002-3885-2650 (2019) Human rights law. In: Masterman, Roger and Schütze, Robert, (eds.) The Cambridge Companion to Comparative Constitutional Law. Cambridge Companions to Law. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, UK, 291 - 311. ISBN 9781107167810

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Identification Number: 10.1017/9781316716731.012


Any analysis of the role of human rights in domestic constitutional law must grapple with a central tension lying at the core of the relationship between the two. Whereas constitutional law is inevitably grounded in a particular place covering defined sets of people, human rights aspire, as the term makes clear, to transcend the political in the name of entitlements that inhere in people wherever they are from and regardless of the governmental arrangements under which they live. National constitutional law can almost always point to a specific moment when the foundational document from which all else follows is agreed and brought into effect, and even in those very few places where this is not the case (the United Kingdom, for example) the ‘constitution’ is made up of a bundle of documents (statutes; judicial decisions; shared practices) which are similarly rooted in time as well as in place and people. In this way too human rights appear different: the vast ambition of the phrase involves a claim to stand outside a history made up not only of people and places but of foundational turning points as well.

Item Type: Book Section
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2019 Cambridge University Press
Divisions: Law
Subjects: K Law > K Law (General)
J Political Science > JC Political theory
Date Deposited: 04 Aug 2020 08:33
Last Modified: 16 May 2024 05:54

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