Common Law Rights: Balancing Domestic and International Exigencies

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


The protection of human rights through common law principles and values has a greater potential than has been recognised hitherto. First, the adoption at common law of the proportionality test of interferences with rights shows that, when human rights are at issue, the courts will apply an exigent test, allowing interferences only if, amongst other things, a less intrusive measure could not have been used. Secondly, the principle of legality, along with common law constitutionalism as developed recently by the Supreme Court, now means that there is a common law pendant to the rule in s. 3(1) of the Human Rights Act 1998. Thirdly, in cases where the protection offered by the Act is displaced by obligations under the Charter of the United Nations, there is no displacement of common law rights, which continue to operate. Fourthly, common law rights are more open to the influences of the customary international law of human rights than are Convention rights. These factors combine to mean that the future of common law rights is an auspicious one.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)220–243
Number of pages23
JournalCambridge Law Journal
Issue number02
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2016


  • human rights
  • common law rights
  • Human Rights Act

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