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Human rights adjudication has expanded in many jurisdictions across the world in the past few decades. Yet there is still scepticism about the role of courts in human rights adjudication and the question whether Australia should adopt a justiciable bill of rights remains an open one. This subject will provide students with the opportunity to reflect critically on the role of courts in human rights adjudication by introducing them to the different approaches to the adjudication of human rights in a range of jurisdictions including South Africa, India, the United States, Germany, Canada, Israel, the European Union and Australia. Several key human rights issues that have arisen in different jurisdictions will be analysed and compared.
Principal topics include:
- What are human rights?
- Different approaches to judicial review of rights
- Different traditions and conceptions of constitutionalism and of rights jurisprudence
- Key issues in rights jurisprudence: hate speech, political speech, freedom of religion, equality and affirmative action, gay rights and same sex marriage, social and political rights
- Current challenges for human rights protections.
Intended learning outcomes
A student who has successfully completed this subject will:
- Be able to critically examine, analyse, interpret and assess the role of courts in human rights protection
- Have a sophisticated appreciation of the key similarities and differences between rights-protection instruments
- Have a comprehensive understanding of some of the different approaches to human rights adjudication in a range of jurisdictions
- Have a detailed understanding of the underlying assumption and institutional choices involved in adopting a particular model for the protection of rights
- Have the cognitive and technical skills to generate critical and creative ideas relating human rights, and to critically evaluate existing legal theories, principles and concepts with creativity and autonomy
- Be able demonstrate autonomy, expert judgment and responsibility as a practitioner and learner in the field of comparative human rights.
Last updated: 2 December 2019