Human Dignity and Judicial Interpretation of Human Rights: A Reply
15 Pages Posted: 24 Apr 2009
Date Written: 2008
This essay is a reply to Christopher McCrudden's "Human Dignity and Judicial Interpretation of Human Rights," 19 EJIL 655 (2008). It argues that McCrudden's study of the uses of the idea of human dignity in constitutional human rights adjudication confirms the thesis that there is at present an emerging global ius commune of human rights. Although McCrudden understates the existence and value of transnational agreement about human dignity and instead emphasizes divergences in the judicial uses of human dignity, in fact there is good reason to regard the core recognition of the status and principle of human dignity as more robust and useful and the disagreements as comparatively marginal and unimportant. Nevertheless, this article concludes, a substantive cross-cultural dialogue about the meaning and implications of human dignity for law is vital to the future of the human rights project; merely regarding the use of human dignity in functionalist terms as an empty placeholder for judicial discretion is inadequate.
Keywords: human dignity, human rights adjudication, transnational judicial dialogue, ius commune
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