Damages and Human Rights: Introduction

Chapter 1 of JNE Varuhas, Damages and Human Rights (Hart Publishing, 2016)

9 Pages Posted: 28 Sep 2016

See all articles by Jason N. E. Varuhas

Jason N. E. Varuhas

University of Melbourne Law School; Centre for Public Law, University of Cambridge

Date Written: September 24, 2016


Damages and Human Rights is a major work on awards of damages for violations of human rights that will be of compelling interest to practitioners, judges and academics alike. Damages for breaches of human rights is emerging as an important and practically significant field of law, yet the rules and principles governing such awards and their theoretical foundations remain underexplored, while courts continue to struggle to articulate a coherent law of human rights damages. The book's focus is English law, but it draws heavily on comparative material from a range of common law jurisdictions, as well as the jurisprudence of international courts.

The current law on when damages can be obtained and how they are assessed is set out in detail and analysed comprehensively. The theoretical foundations of human rights damages are examined with a view to enhancing our understanding of the remedy and resolving the currently troubled state of human rights damages jurisprudence. The book argues that in awarding damages in human rights cases the courts should adopt a vindicatory approach, modelled on those rules and principles applied in tort cases when basic rights are violated. Other approaches are considered in detail, including the current 'mirror' approach which ties the domestic approach to damages to the European Court of Human Rights' approach to monetary compensation; an interest-balancing approach where the damages are dependent on a judicial balancing of individual and public interests; and approaches drawn from the law of state liability in EU law and United States constitutional law.

The analysis has important implications for our understanding of fundamental issues including the interrelationship between public law and private law, the theoretical and conceptual foundations of human rights law and the law of torts, the nature and functions of the damages remedy, the connection between rights and remedies, the intersection of domestic and international law, and the impact of damages liability on public funds and public administration.

Keywords: damages, remedies, human rights, torts, vindication, compensation, public law, private law, public law-private law distinction, just satisfaction, Human Rights Act 1998, public administration, European Convention on Human Rights, constitutional torts, state liability, administrative law

JEL Classification: K13, K23, K33, K41, K42

Suggested Citation

Varuhas, Jason N. E., Damages and Human Rights: Introduction (September 24, 2016). Chapter 1 of JNE Varuhas, Damages and Human Rights (Hart Publishing, 2016), Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2842950

Jason N. E. Varuhas (Contact Author)

University of Melbourne Law School

University Square
185 Pelham Street, Carlton
Victoria, Victoria 3010

Centre for Public Law, University of Cambridge ( email )

10 West Road
Cambridge, CB3 9DZ
United Kingdom

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