Legal reading group: "Human Rights and the turn to justification: On the structure and domain of human rights practice"

Postdoctoral fellow Alain Zysset will introduce the article written by Mattias Kumm.

Open book

Illustration photo: Colourbox

"There are three puzzling structural features of global human rights adjudication that have fostered scepticism about its philosophical respectability.  First, the scope of legally recognized human rights is not narrowly focused on things fundamental or basic to human existence, but extremely broad (call this the problem of rights inflation). Second, most rights may be limited by measures that meet the proportionality requirement, thereby appearing to undermine prominently made claims that rights are trumps or fire walls that have priority over competing policy concerns (call this the problem of casual override). And third, notwithstanding the claim that human rights are universal, the kind of things that can be found on lists in international, regional or national human rights documents vary considerably between jurisdictions and instruments. And even when provisions are worded similarly, they are often interpreted differently in different states (call this the problem of variance).  

Yet, there is nothing pathological about a human rights practice that has such a structure. On the contrary, each of these structural features, I will argue, is connected to a distinctive moral point. Gaining a clearer understanding of each of these moral points and elucidating how they relate to one another is an important step towards the development of a more comprehensive theory of human rights."


As the publication is forthcoming, all that are interested in participating should contact Tanja Erika Andersen Czelusniak.


The legal reading group meets on a regular basis to discuss leading publications on international courts and tribunals. The aim is to develop our understanding of an article/book chapter and how it might be relevant for our own projects, through sharing insights on its substance, merits, and broader context. The reading group managed by PluriCourts, but open to everyone that is interested.


Tags: Human Rights
Published Nov. 23, 2016 2:14 PM - Last modified July 28, 2018 10:15 PM