Rights and the Citation of Foreign Law

Jeremy Waldron

in The Legal Protection of Human Rights

Published in print February 2011 | ISBN: 9780199606078
Published online September 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780191729720 | DOI:
Rights and the Citation of Foreign Law

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This chapter addresses the specific issue of whether or not courts within jurisdictions that involve judicial review of legislation on human-rights grounds should cite foreign law. It argues that, whatever we think of the legitimacy of such powers, if they exist it is preferable that courts should be able to draw on the experience of comparable decisions in other jurisdictions. This enables courts to learn from the deliberations that have taken place elsewhere. It also generates more informed public debate on rights. Further the citation of foreign cases and statutes contributes to the harmonization of human rights law. However, improving the quality of human rights decision making and promoting the global consistency of human rights law should not be confused with the propriety of propriety of the judicial review in question.

Keywords: foreign law; judicial review; public debate; harmonization of laws; global consistency

Chapter.  10502 words. 

Subjects: Human Rights and Immigration

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