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Legislated Rights
Securing Human Rights through Legislation


  • Date Published: March 2018
  • availability: Available
  • format: Hardback
  • isbn: 9781108426572

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About the Authors
  • The important aspects of human wellbeing outlined in human rights instruments and constitutional bills of rights can only be adequately secured as and when they are rendered the object of specific rights and corresponding duties. It is often assumed that the main responsibility for specifying the content of such genuine rights lies with courts. Legislated Rights: Securing Human Rights through Legislation argues against this assumption, by showing how legislatures can and should be at the centre of the practice of human rights. This jointly authored book explores how and why legislatures, being strategically placed within a system of positive law, can help realise human rights through modes of protection that courts cannot provide by way of judicial review.

    • Challenges the dominant theory of human rights law
    • Situates the legislature as a key actor in securing human rights
    • Proposes a new understanding of human rights
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    Reviews & endorsements

    'Legislated Rights makes an important contribution to contemporary rights scholarship.' Right Honourable Beverley McLachlin, Judicial Power Project (

    'The central thesis of this profound and thoughtful book is the crucial role of the legislature in securing and promoting human rights. The arguments command strong assent. There are many, many parts of it which are fundamental and devastating.' Honourable Dyson Heydon, Judicial Power Project (

    'I very much welcome the book's overall theme that legislation gives effect to and protects human rights.' Honourable Sir Ross Cranston, Judicial Power Project (

    '… an important and essential addition to the library of anyone seeking to better understand the potential role of and justification for legislatures engaging in the protection and promotion of human rights. … the authors of Legislated Rights posit a convincing and scholarly foundation for resuscitating a legitimate role for legislatures in the protection, promotion and interpretation of human rights … a thoughtfully conceived and tightly argued piece of scholarship, whose relevance transcends the academy. … the publication of Legislated Rights will provide a much-needed and new institutional dimension to the academic discussion of human rights protection and promotion.' Chief Justice Glenn Joyal , Judicial Power Project (

    'Legislated Rights proposes a rehabilitation of the role of legislatures in realising rights. It examines ways of reconceptualising the relation between rights and the common good. It makes a significant contribution to ongoing debates on these questions.' Ioanna Tourkochoriti, Oxford Journal of Legal Studies

    'The argument in Legislated Rights is not confined to the level of the conceptual or the ideal. At a practical level, the book challenges the traditional narrative of courts protecting human rights against a legislative 'tyranny of the majority'.' Brian Bix, Law & Philosophy

    'Legislated Rights is good at tying together theoretical and practical perspectives regarding legislation and the law of human rights. It is an impressive work; one of the best books I have read on the relationship between rights and legislation. Although it has a strong theoretical orientation, it deserves to be read by both practitioners and academics.' Law Quarterly Review

    '… an important and welcome addition to the growing body of literature challenging inaccurate conceptions of the legislature's relationship with human rights. The book presents a stimulating account of human rights, which is of value in itself, and successfully uses this to present a positive re-envisioning of the legislature as the principal defender and promoter of human rights in a modern democratic state.' Robert Greally, Public Law

    'In setting out to provide a stronger jurisprudential foundation for thinking about human rights law, this book admirably achieves its methodological objective and makes a major substantive contribution to existing literature. It elucidates a compelling case that legislatures are both necessary, and underappreciated, actors in the human rights law project. Legislatures may be short of friends, but they are fortunate in having advocates as effective as these authors in advancing compelling arguments on their behalf.' Leah Trueblood, Modern Law Review

    'Though Legislated Rights is primarily written for legal philosophers, it bears important lessons for all who work to secure human rights in law. It competently challenges conventional views about the supremacy of courts in specifying and vindicating rights. And it achieves its stated goal to 'reorient general thinking about the nature of rights, legislatures, and courts'.' Adam J. MacLeod, Public Discourse

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    Product details

    • Date Published: March 2018
    • format: Hardback
    • isbn: 9781108426572
    • length: 218 pages
    • dimensions: 235 x 158 x 15 mm
    • weight: 0.43kg
    • contains: 1 b/w illus.
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    1. Introduction: securing human rights through legislation
    2. Rights and persons
    3. Why it takes law to realise human rights
    4. Legislation as reasoned action
    5. From universal rights to legislated rights
    6. How legislation aids human rights adjudication
    7. Majoritarianism and pathologies of judicial review.

  • Authors

    Grégoire Webber, Queen's University, Ontario

    Paul Yowell, Oriel College, Oxford

    Richard Ekins, St John's College, Oxford

    Maris Köpcke, Universitat de Barcelona

    Bradley W. Miller, Court of Appeal for Ontario

    Francisco J. Urbina, Pontificia Universidad Catolica de Chile

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