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22 - Human Goods and Human Rights Law

Two Modes of Derivation from Natural Law

from Part IV - The Human Person, Political Community, and Rule of Law

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  03 November 2022

Tom Angier
Affiliation:
University of Cape Town
Iain T. Benson
Affiliation:
University of Notre Dame, Australia
Mark D. Retter
Affiliation:
University of Cambridge
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Summary

The category of ‘human rights law’ is sometimes limited to bills and charters of rights on the model of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and to the case law of courts interpreting and applying these legal measures. This chapter argues that the measures that realise human rights in the law are the everyday, unremarkable measures that make up the full corpus of legal materials directing what may, must, and must not be done. The argument explores how all sound positive law finds its source in the human goods through one of two modes of derivation: deduction or specification. These are the same two modes of positive law’s derivation from natural law, for the reach of human rights law is more or less coextensive with the reach of positive law and the human goods from which are derived human rights law are the same human goods from which are derived natural law’s practical principles and precepts.

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Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2022

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