Chapter

Children's Rights: a Test-Case for Theories of Right

Neil MacCormick

in Legal Right and Social Democracy

Published in print March 1984 | ISBN: 9780198255024
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191681561 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198255024.003.0008
Children's Rights: a Test-Case for Theories of Right

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There are two competing theories as to the nature of rights: the theory which says that having a right of some kind is to do with the legal or moral recognition of some individual's choice as being pre-eminent over the will of others as to a given subject-matter in a given relationship, and the other theory which says that having a right is having one's interests protected in certain ways by the imposition of normative constraints on the acts and activities of other people with respect to the object of one's interests. Between various manifestations of the will theory and the interest theory, there has been a long-running series of test matches. This chapter discusses a test-case, in the light of which it shows the untenability of the will theory, in place of which the chapter suggests as an alternative a theory more along the lines of traditional interest theories.

Keywords: children's rights; normative constraints; will theory; interest theory; test-case

Chapter.  5548 words. 

Subjects: Jurisprudence and Philosophy of Law

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