This book is intended to provide students with some understanding of the variety of approaches to human rights in a selection of the world’s legal systems. By including cases from both the United States and the European human rights systems, the book should enable students to consider differences between legal systems deriving from a more or less common tradition. Japanese cases offer a view of the legal system of a developed, non-Western country, and Indian cases give an idea of the approach taken by a developing country with a legal system greatly influenced by that of a former colonial power but also by its own tradition. The book includes a brief introduction intended to give the student some understanding of the structures of the European, Japanese, and Indian systems.
The topics addressed in this book focus on the most basic personal rights found in legal systems: the extent to which citizens may criticize the government, the right to form groups for whatever purposes members may deem appropriate, and governmental control of religion are all fundamental measures of the scope of personal freedom individuals enjoy. Students accustomed to American approaches to these issues will probably be surprised at the differences in assumptions in different systems regarding, for example, the circumstances in which human rights concepts do, or do not, limit the an individual’s ability to obtain damages for an alleged defamation.
This book can be a useful element in any course aimed at acquainting students with the range of disagreement among different societies as to just what the idea of “rights” means in practice.
This book is part of the Comparative Law Series, edited by Michael L. Corrado, Arch T. Allen Distinguished Professor of Law, UNC School of Law.
If you are a professor teaching in this field you may request a complimentary copy.