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Bringing rights home: time to start a family?

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Proposals for a new constitutional settlement have highlighted issues, many of them factitious, about the Human Rights Act. This paper suggests that the relationship of rights to duties is poorly understood, and that the majority of recognised rights already carry corresponding duties, but that to try to make the enjoyment of rights conditional on the fulfilment of duties is neither principled nor practicable. It is suggested that, using mutual respect as a sounder basis, a larger Bill of Rights can be contemplated. But good constitutions cannot be willed into being: pending the arrival of a constitutional moment, reform is likely to be a process of interest-group wrangling in which the most that can be looked for are some modest but necessary reforms.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2008-09-01

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