Human Dignity and Uniform Law: An Unhappy Relationship

TICOM Working Paper on Comparative and Transnational Law No. 2008/2

ESSAYS IN HONOR OF SAUL LITVINOFF, Olivier Moréteau, Julio Romanach, Alberto Zuppi, eds., pp. 749-760, Baton Rouge, 2008

10 Pages Posted: 14 May 2008

See all articles by Jan M. Smits

Jan M. Smits

Maastricht University Faculty of Law - Maastricht European Private Law Institute (M-EPLI)

Date Written: May 2008

Abstract

This contribution argues that there is no "transnational" concept of human dignity or of public policy. These concepts are essentially local and we should not try to harmonize them by drafting common principles or rules. To substantiate this thesis, the inquiry into the harmonizing effect of human dignity and public policy takes place at four different levels. First, two instruments in the field of international contract law (the PECL and the Unidroit Principles) are considered. Second, some case law of the European Court of Justice (notable the Omega case) is looked at. A third level of inquiry concerns a representative case of the Human Rights Committee of the United Nations (the Wackenheim case). The fourth level of analysis is whether a uniform interpretation of human dignity is likely at the national level. In the absence of one uniform concept of human dignity, one should stop claiming that it could form a barrier against the negative effects of globalization.

Keywords: Public policy, ordre public, human dignity, human rights, harmonization

Suggested Citation

Smits, Jan M., Human Dignity and Uniform Law: An Unhappy Relationship (May 2008). ESSAYS IN HONOR OF SAUL LITVINOFF, Olivier Moréteau, Julio Romanach, Alberto Zuppi, eds., pp. 749-760, Baton Rouge, 2008; ESSAYS IN HONOR OF SAUL LITVINOFF, Olivier Moréteau, Julio Romanach, Alberto Zuppi, eds., pp. 749-760, Baton Rouge, 2008. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1132684

Jan M. Smits (Contact Author)

Maastricht University Faculty of Law - Maastricht European Private Law Institute (M-EPLI) ( email )

P.O. Box 616
Maastricht, NL-6200 MD
Netherlands

HOME PAGE: http://www.jansmits.eu

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