This work is a controversial collection of interrelated papers investigating and arguing about issues of concern to lawyers and politicians today. MacCormick combines a scholarly concern with leading thinkers such as John Locke, Lord Stair, Adam Smith and David Hume, John Rawls, Ronald Dworkin, and Patrick Atiyah, and stringently argued view of questions of political obligation, civil liberty, and legalrights.
The literature, as are the intuitions of many, is sceptical as to the coherence of ‘legalrights to do legal wrong’. A right to do wrong is a right against interference with wrongdoing. A legal right to do legal wrong is, therefore, a right against legal enforcement of legal duty. It is, in other words, a right that shields the right holder’s legal wrongdoing. The sceptics notwithstanding, the category of ‘legal right (...) to do legal wrong’ coheres with the concepts of ‘right’ and ‘legality’. In fact, once the parameters and features of the category of ‘legal right to do legal wrong’ are clarified, it becomes apparent that positive law contains actual doctrines that have the structure of a right to do wrong. One example is the doctrine of diplomatic immunity. This, and other examples of normatively sound legal doctrines that constitute legalrights to do legal wrong, demonstrate that such rights are not only conceptually coherent, but at times are normatively valuable. Moreover, looking to the law helps detect a category of rights to do wrong that has thus far gone wholly undetected in the literature, which is immunity from liability for violation of duty. (shrink)
How can there be rights in law? We learn from moral philosophy that rights protect persons in a special way because they have peremptory force. But how can this aspect of practical reason be captured by the law? For many leading legal philosophers the legal order is constructed on the foundations of factual sources and with materials provided by technical argument. For this 'legal positivist' school of jurisprudence, the law endorses rights by some official (...) act suitably communicated. But how can any such legal enactment recreate the proper force of rights? Rights take their meaning and importance from moral reflection, which only expresses itself in practical reasoning. This puzzle about rights invites a reconsideration of the nature and methods of legal doctrine and of jurisprudence itself. LegalRights argues that the theory of law and legal concepts is a project of moral and political philosophy, the best account of which is to be found in the social contract tradition. It outlines an argument according to which legalrights can be justified before equal citizens under the constraints of public reason. The place of rights in law is explained by the unique position of law as an essential component of the civil condition and a necessary condition for freedom.
History and theory -- Descriptions and constructions -- The practical argument -- Rights in law -- Obligation and permission -- Legal relations -- The right to property -- Freedom through law -- Rights in legal deliberation.
A Northern Ireland politician declared not long ago that the British people had a right not to believe the IRA’s latest statement on disarmament. Therefore, he said, the British government had no right to allow the IRA further representation at the talks. Rights assertions like these are quite common in everyday talk, even if pronouncements linking epistemic and legalrights are less so.
Hohfeld’s analysis on the different types of rights and duties is highly influential in analytical legal theory, and it is considered as a fundamental theory in AI&Law and normative multi-agent systems. Yet a century later, the formalization of this theory remains, in various ways, unresolved. In this paper I provide a formal analysis of how the working of a system containing Hohfeldian rights and duties can be delineated. This formalization starts from using the same tools as the (...) classical ones by Kanger and Lindahl used, but instead of focusing on the algebraic features of rights and duties, it aims at providing a comprehensive analysis of what these rights and duties actually are and how they behave and at saying something substantial on Power too—maintaining all along the Hohfeldian intentions that these rights and duties are sui generis and inherently relational. (shrink)
It is characteristic of many discussions in jurisprudence that the questions group around a relatively small selection of so-called basic legal concepts. Some authors explicitly maintain that the main task of a philosophy of law should be conceptual analysis. Authors expressing this view are usually classified as exponents of “analytical jurisprudence.” Within analytical jurisprudence itself there is considerable disagreement over such questions as what “analysis” is, what kind of methods the analyst ought to employ, etc. Most writers representing this (...) school, however, have in common a marked interest in terminological problems. Their discussions typically take as a point of departure certain verbal expressions, and their primary task is to clarify the actual, or desired, meaning of these expressions, either generally or in certain connections. (shrink)
Exploring the peculiar nature of future generations and concluding that types of future people is the most promising object on which to project our concern for future generations the article poses two main questions: “Can future people have rights?” and, if so, “Do they in fact have any rights?” The article first explains why the non-existence of future people raises doubts whether future generations can have rights. Within the philosophical literature, the leading approach explaining how future people (...) can, nevertheless, have rights argues that they have rights as tokens of types of people. After presenting this account of the rights of future people and couching it in a jurisprudential context, this Article points out a possible deficiency in the approach’s metaphysical underpinnings. Assuming that future people can have rights the article goes on to explain that there is reason to doubt whether any such rights actually exist, which derive from the doubt whether future people will be harmed by most actions and choices in their prenatal past. According to what has come to be known as the “nonidentity argument,” actions and choices that are necessary parts of the causal chain leading up to the existence of a person cannot harm that person - had the act or choice not occurred that person would have never existed, and one is better off existing than not. Under the two prevalent theories of rights, the Will Theory and the Interest Theory, the nonidentity argument seemingly entails that future people have no rights. After exploring how this is the case, the conception of harm underlying the nonidentity argument is analyzed. Two types of interests future people may have in prenatal identity-determinative events (constitutive interests and threshold interests) are explored as possible sources of certain rights future people may have - the nonidentity argument notwithstanding. The article then elaborates and assesses the merits of these approaches. (shrink)
Professor Matthew Kramer offers a delimiting ‘criterion’ or test for his Interest Theory of legal claim-rights. The ‘Minimum Sufficiency’ test is thought necessary because the Interest Theory is charged with being over-inclusive: it purportedly counts certain agents and entities as legal right-holders even though the law itself does not recognize them as such. This paper nonetheless argues that Kramer’s test is inadequate and unnecessary. It proceeds as follows. Section II offers a brief explanation of the Interest and (...) Will Theories of rights. Section III outlines the over-inclusiveness charge levied against the Interest Theory. Section IV explains Kramer’s test and how it aims to resolve the matter, while Section V shows why the test does not do the job. Section VI, however, provides Kramer and other rights theorists with a superior alternative. (shrink)
Legal philosophers divide over whether it is possible to analyze legal concepts without engaging in normative argument. The influential analysis of legalrights advanced by Jules Coleman and Jody Kraus some years ago serves as a useful case study to consider this issue because even some legal philosophers who are generally skeptical of the neutrality claims of conceptual analysts have concluded that Coleman and Kraus's analysis manages to maintain such neutrality. But that analysis does depend (...) in subtle but important ways on normative claims. Their argument assumes not only a positivist concept of law, but also that it counts in favor of an analysis of legalrights that it increases the number of options available to legal decisionmakers. Thus, whether Coleman and Kraus's analysis is right in the end depends on whether those normative assumptions are justified. If even their analysis, which makes the thinnest of conceptual claims, depends on normative premises, that fact serves as strong evidence of the difficulty of analyzing legal concepts while remaining agnostic on moral and political questions. (shrink)
Various proponents of animal rights—for example, H. J. McCloskey— maintain that while brute animals cannot have; moral rights they can have legalrights. Indeed, McCloskey himself goes so far as to maintain that even inanimate objects are able to have legalrights. 1 And why should not inanimate objects be able to? After f all, for there to be a legal right is anything more required than that whatever agency is empowered to issue (...)legalrights simply legislate or proclaim that so-and-so has that legal right? (shrink)
The US federal research regulations prohibit informed consent, whether written or oral, from including provisions in which human subjects waive or appear to waive legalrights. We argue that policies that prevent human subjects from waiving legalrights in research can be ethically justified under the rationale of group, soft paternalism. These policies protect competent adults from making adverse decisions about health and legal matters that they may not understand fully. However, this rationale is less (...) defensible if there is a comprehensive compensation for injury programme available in which subjects are asked to waive some legalrights in order to participate in the programme. In this situation, subjects should be allowed to waive some legalrights to obtain the benefits of the programme. (shrink)
This paper outlines the current common law principles that protect people’s interests in their bodies, excised body parts and tissue without conferring the rights of full legal ownership. It does not include the recent statutory amendments in jurisdictions such as New South Wales and the United Kingdom. It argues that at common law, people do not own their own bodies or excised bodily material. People can authorise the removal of their bodily material and its use, either during life (...) or after their death, for medical or scientific purposes. Researchers who acquire human bodies, body parts or tissue pursuant to such an authority have a right to possess and use them according to the authorisation they have been given, but their rights fall short of full ownership because they are limited in the way that they can use the material. The legalrights of researchers who develop intellectual property and biological products from excised human tissue can be adequately protected by existing common law principles without the need for a new legal principle that people own body parts and tissue removed from their bodies. (shrink)
Many states recognize a legal right to bodily integrity, understood as a right against significant, nonconsensual interference with one’s body. Recently, some have called for the recognition of an analogous legal right to mental integrity: a right against significant, nonconsensual interference with one’s mind. In this chapter, we describe and distinguish three different rationales for recognizing such a right. The first appeals to case-based intuitions to establish a distinctive duty not to interfere with others’ minds; the second holds (...) that, if we accept a legal right to bodily integrity, then we must, on pain of philosophical inconsistency, accept a case for an analogous right over the mind; and the third holds that recent technological developments create a need for a legal right to mental integrity. (shrink)
This book deals with one of the most important issues of philosophy of law and constitutional thought: how to understand clashes of fundamental rights, such as the conflict between free speech and privacy. The main argument of this book is that much can be learned about the nature of fundamental legalrights by examining them through the lens of conflicts among such rights, and criticizing the views of scholars and jurists who have discussed both fundamental (...) class='Hi'>legalrights and the nature of conflicts among them. -/- Theories of rights are necessarily abstract, aiming at providing the best possible answers to pressing social problems. Yet such theories must also respond to the real and changing dilemmas of the day.Taking up the problem of conflicting rights, Zucca seeks a theory of rights that can guide us to a richer, more responsive approach to rights discourse. -/- The idea of constitutional rights is one of the most powerful tools to advance justice in the Western tradition. But as this book demonstrates, even the most ambitious theory of rights cannot satisfactorily address questions of conflicting rights. How, for instance, can we fully secure privacy when it clashes with free speech? To what extent can our societies assist people in dying without compromising the protection of life? Exploring the limitations of the rights discourse in these areas, Zucca questions the role of law in settling ethical dilemmas helping to clarify thinking about the limitations of rights discourse. (shrink)
In this article, I discuss Alf Ross's claim that the concept of a legal right is best understood as a technical tool of presentation, which ties together a disjunction of operative facts and a conjunction of legal consequences, and that rights statements render the content of a number of legal norms in a convenient manner. I argue that while Ross's analysis is appealing, it is problematic in at least three respects. I also argue, however, that despite (...) these difficulties Ross's analysis deserves our continued attention, because the fundamental idea—that the concept of a legal right must be understood functionally—is sound. (shrink)
COVID-19 is a highly contagious infection with no proven treatment. Approximately 2.5% of patients need mechanical ventilation while their body fights the infection.1 Once COVID-19 patients reach the point of critical illness where ventilation is necessary, they tend to deteriorate quickly. During the pandemic, patients with other conditions may also present at the hospital needing emergency ventilation. But ventilation of a COVID-19 patient can last for 2–3 weeks. Accordingly, if all ventilators are in use, there will not be time for (...) patients to ‘queue up’ to wait for those who arrived earlier to recover. Those who need a ventilator will die if they do not receive access to one quickly. Many nations now face the prospect that they failed to prepare appropriately for this foreseen risk of pandemic and that their populations will need far more ventilators than the health service can supply. For many weeks, the UK has been anticipating a surge of COVID-19 infections that could leave patients queuing in hospitals for ICU care. Luckily, social distancing has ‘flattened the curve’ and this problem might not arise. There is still a degree of risk, however, and other countries will not be so lucky. At some point, during this pandemic or the next, all countries will need to answer hard questions about whether and when scarce ICU resources should be either withheld or withdrawn from certain groups of patients solely for the purpose of providing them to others. Attempts to answer these questions can be found in a wide range of ICU triage protocols and ethical guidance documents, many of which embrace the foundational principle of ‘save the most lives’. Unfortunately, this worthwhile goal has generated many suggestions that could violate the law. This article identifies …. (shrink)
In recent years, the most widespread doctrine about the conflicts between fundamental (usually constitutional) legalrights could be summarized in the following three main theses: (1) The elements in conflict are legal principles, as opposed to legal rules; (2) Those conflicts are not consequences of the existence of inconsistencies or antinomies between the norms involved, but rather depend on the empirical circumstances of the case. In other words, the norms are logically consistent and the conflicts are (...) not determinable a priori or in abstracto , but only in concreto ; and (3) The classical criteria for solving conflicts between norms, such as lex superior , lex posterior and lex specialis , are not suitable to solve conflicts among fundamental legalrights. Indeed, they require a specific method known as ‘weighing and balancing’. Although all three theses could be (and indeed have been) regarded as problematic, in this paper I address mainly the second one. I try to show that there is room for a tertium genus between antinomies (deontic inconsistencies) and conflicts caused by strict empirical circumstances that I call ‘contextual antinomies’. There are situations in which the norms involved are not inconsistent but the conflict arises for logical reasons. My thesis is that many conflicts between fundamental legalrights fall in this category. I offer, in an appendix, a proposal of formalization of this kind of conflict and the elements involved in it. (shrink)
This essay maintains that the question in its title is really three sets of questions: a conceptual inquiry, a moral/political inquiry, and an empirical inquiry. After devoting some attention to the relevant conceptual issues, the essay ponders in detail the moral/political issues. It suggests some answers to the germane moral/political questions, and it takes pains to distinguish those questions from other lines of inquiry with which they might be confused. Although only animals and dead people are mentioned in the title, (...) the essay also considers whether infants, comatose people, lunatics, future generations, groups, trees, and natural phenomena such as rivers should be classified as potential holders of legalrights. (shrink)
In this paper I offer a new interpretation of Marx’s essay On the Jewish Question which re-states its key ideas but removes unnecessary debates that are not relevant to current political and legal problems. Because OJQ is a demonstration of critique it does not offer positive proscriptions or suggestions for change. Its utility, I argue, lies in the way it can help us think about the limits of resolving deeply entrenched power-relations without a thoroughgoing engaging of how those powers (...) are created and enacted in civil society. With this in mind I read OJQ alongside the recent campaign to legislate for marriage equality in Australia and the movement to recognise environmental human rights. While both movements might ameliorate instances of discrimination and harm, I argue that they cannot resolve those powers that limit certain kinds of access or render people and things subordinate to other interests. (shrink)
ABSTRACT This essay analyses French literature on protectorates that was published in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Firstly, I examine French understanding of protectorates with a focus on contrasting views about whether or not a protectorate treaty warrants the intervention of the protector in the internal affairs of the protected. In doing so, I attempt to delineate specific ways legal scholarship engaged with the ideological construction of a supposedly uncivilized other. Then I move on to trace the (...) development of a type of argument employed by the French to justify their colonialism that had to do with protectorate treaties. In the discussion, I explain the particular role the ‘violation’ argument played within French colonial discourse, both in the absence of the ‘territorium nullius’ argument, and in the face of critics of empire. Lastly, I place under scrutiny the relationship between the ‘violation’ argument and the distinction of two kinds of coercion – coercion of a state, and coercion of its representative. (shrink)
At the UN, important projects laying down transnational corporations' (TNCs) human rights responsibilities have been launched without ever clarifying the relevant theoretical foundations. One of the consequences is that the human rights principles in projects like the 2000 UN Global Compact and the 2003 Norms on the Responsibilities of Transnational Corporations and Other Business Enterprises with Regard to Human Rights can be understood in different ways, which should not cause surprise given that their authors come from diverse (...) backgrounds, including economics and public policy. An examination of these projects and the views of their authors reveals that, although they are superficially linked to international human rights law, they go well beyond it and attempt to deal with corporate social responsibility issues in ways that elude neat classification as fitting neatly in either legal or non-legal categories. Too little attention has been paid to how in the course of developing these projects the legal and ethical dimensions have become entwined and how lines have gotten blurred. Meanwhile, there has been recognition that these UN projects have emerged simply as ad hoc responses to practical concerns about the sustainability of globalization. The lack of any foundational theory or normative framework should be addressed; it is time to bring together specialists from different fields concerned with the human rights responsibilities of corporations to see if it is possible to define a coherent overarching theory for these UN projects. (shrink)
"Provides a definition and defense of individual privacy rights. Applies the proposed theory to issues including privacy versus free speech; drug testing; and national security and public accountability"--Provided by publisher.
Tom Campbell is well known for his distinctive contributions to legal and political philosophy over three decades. In emphasising the moral and political importance of taking a positivist approach to law and rights, he has challenged current academic orthodoxies and made a powerful case for regaining and retaining democratic control over the content and development of human rights. This collection of his essays reaches back to his pioneering work on socialist rights in the 1980s and forward (...) from his seminal book, The Legal Theory of Ethical Positivism (1996). An introductory essay provides an historical overview of Professor Campbell's work and argues for the continuing importance of 'democratic positivism' at a time when it is again becoming clear that courts are ineffective protectors of human rights. (shrink)
Human rights have become an important ideal in current times, yet our age has witnessed more violations of human rights than any previous less enlightened one. This book explores the historical and theoretical dimensions of this paradox. Divided into two parts, the first section offers an alternative history of natural law, in which natural rights are represented as the eternal human struggle to resist opression and to fight for a society in which people are no longer degraded (...) or despised. At the time of their birth in the 18th Century and again in the popular uprisings of the last decade, human rights became the dominant critique of law and society. The radical rhetoric of rights and its apparently endless expansive potential has led to its adoption by governments and individuals alike seeking to justify their actions on moral grounds and has undermined its radical edge. Part Two examines the philosophical logic of rights. The classical critiques of Kant, Burke, Hegel and Marx illuminate traditional aproaches to the concept of human rights. The work of Heidegger, Sartre and psychoanalysis is used to deconstruct the metaphisical essentialism of bothe universalists and cultural relativists. Finally, through a consideration of the ethics of otherness, and with reference to recent human rights violations, it is argued that the end of human rights is to judge law and politics from a moral stand point which both transcends the present and is historically relevant. (shrink)
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