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The Universality of Human Rights

Speech by Lord Hoffmann at the Judicial Studies Board Annual Lecture 2009



Lord Hoffmann considered the history of human rights legislation, starting with the Declaration of Independence in 1776.

He went on to examine the workings of the Court of Justice in Luxembourg, and the impact of this court on the independence of the UK’s courts.

"If one accepts, as I have so far argued, that human rights are universal in abstraction but national in application, it is not easy to see how in principle an international court was going to perform this function of deciding individual cases, still less why the Strasbourg court was thought a suitable body to do so."


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