Support and Conflict within Systems of Rights: Ten Theses

During this MultiRights seminar Professor of Philosophy and Law, University of Miami, Jim W. Nickel, will speak about the support and conflict within systems of rights. Jim W. Nickel teaches and writes in human rights law and theory, jurisprudence, and political philosophy. He is the author of "Making Sense of Human Rights"(2nd ed. 2007) and many articles in philosophy and law. 

Rights within particular systems of operating legal rights display relations of both support and conflict.  An example of support is the support the right to a fair trial provides to fundamental freedoms such as expression, assembly, and movement.  An example of conflict is between the right to a fair trial and the right to privacy of a witness required to testify.  Four examples of Professor Nickel's theses are: 

     -  A generic notion of support is that the supporting right promotes (helps with, assists in) the ongoing realization of the second right (in particular cases or across the board).  Support need not be bidirectional.

     -  A generic notion of conflict is that the conflicting right undermines (frustrates, holds back) the realization of the second right (in particular cases or across the board).  Conflict is bidirectional.

     -  A right has a high level of realization when the following conditions exist and persist: (a) there is widespread acceptance of the right by officials and the public; (b) most people know about the right and are prepared to use it if necessary; (c) the right is effectively implemented through measures that include enforcement; (d) there is general compliance with the right; (e) problems of inequality in implementation and compliance have been largely overcome; and (f) necessary and highly useful background conditions are present.

    -  Rights with higher levels of realization tend to have more conflict with other rights.  They are likely to be more determinate in their content, have more implementation machinery running, and require more resources.  These three things increase the likelihood of conflict.


The MultiRights seminars are organised by the MultiRights project on the multi-level human rights judiciary. They provide a forum for discussions for researchers from various backgrounds, including law, philosophy and political science. The seminars take place on a regular basis on Tuesdays and are open for all.

Tags: Human Rights
Published Aug. 13, 2015 1:41 PM - Last modified Jan. 14, 2016 9:09 AM