Aharon Barak,Human Dignity. The Constitutional Value and the Constitutional Right, Cambridge University Press, 2015

Aharon Barak,Human Dignity. The Constitutional Value and the Constitutional Right, Cambridge University Press, 2015

Human dignity is now a central feature of many modern constitutions and international documents. As a constitutional value, human dignity involves a person’s free will, autonomy, and ability to write a life story within the framework of society. As a constitutional right, it gives full expression to the value of human dignity, subject to the specific demands of constitutional architecture. This analytical study of human dignity as both a constitutional value and a constitutional right adopts a legal-interpretive perspective. It explores the sources of human dignity as a legal concept, its role in constitutional documents, its content, and its scope. The analysis is augmented by examples from comparative legal experience, including chapters devoted to the role of human dignity in American, Canadian, German, South African, and Israeli constitutional law.

  • Provides a comprehensive legal theory of human dignity, including the analytical tools necessary to grant human dignity its proper place as a constitutional value and as a constitutional right
  • Demonstrates the application of the theory by comparing judgments from many legal systems
  • Offers the perspective of a judge who applies these theories in practice

Part I. Fundamental Concepts and History:
1. The various aspects of human dignity
2. The intellectual history of the social value of human dignity
3. Human dignity as a value and as a right in international documents
4. Human dignity as a value and as a right in constitutions
Part II. Human Dignity as a Constitutional Value:
5. Purposive constitutional interpretation
6. The role of human dignity as a constitutional value
7. Three types of models for determining the content of the constitutional value of human dignity
Part III. Human Dignity as a Constitutional Right:
8. Recognition of the constitutional right to human dignity and its content
9. Human dignity as a framework right (mother-right)
10. The area covered by the right to human dignity
Part IV. Human Dignity in Comparative Law:
11. Human dignity in American constitutional law
12. Human dignity in Canadian constitutional law
13. Human dignity in German constitutional law
14. Human dignity in South African constitutional law
15. Human dignity in Israeli constitutional law.


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