Legislatures and rights: Comment on legislated rights - securing human rights through legislation

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This Comment discusses Grégoire Webber et al.’s new book, Legislated Rights: Securing Human Rights Through Legislation (2018). The central thesis of this impressive and novel book is that the legislature is well placed to secure and promote human rights.1 In establishing this thesis, the book challenges a number of widespread theses in human rights discourse: theses about the nature of legislatures, courts, rights, and the common good.2 This book therefore makes significant contributions to at least three areas of scholarship: the study of legislatures and legislation; the law and theory of rights; and the debates about judicial review.

My comment will discuss the book’s contributions to the subject of legislatures and legislation vis-à-vis rights. I shall therefore focus on the parts of the book dealing with this subject.3 I should also note that one of the original and interesting facets of the book is that it is a multi-authored book that was purposefully and masterfully written as a single (albeit jointly authored) coherent monograph. Webber and Yowell’s introduction in Chapter 1 is the main chapter that ties all the chapters together, introduces the book in its entirety, and presents its overarching argument and theses. Hence, in presenting the book’s arguments, I shall often draw upon this chapter and treat it as representative of the arguments of the book as a whole.
In Section II, I will briefly highlight the book’s contribution in ameliorating two shortcomings in legal scholarship in general and human rights scholarship in particular: the neglect and disrespect of legislatures. In Section III, I will briefly comment about the book’s reconceptualization of the relationship between legislation and rights. In Section IV, which will be the main part of my comments, I will critically analyze the book’s reconceptualization of the relationship between legislatures and rights.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)112-128
Number of pages17
JournalJerusalem Review of Legal Studies
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1 Jun 2020


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