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date: 04 June 2020

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter discusses the boundaries, the authority, and the methods of comparative human rights law (CHRL). It first explains what comparing human rights means and how it developed historically, along with some distinctions between subfields of CHRL, before considering the transnational consensus method, how it works, and how it relates to some of the general methods of comparative law. It goes on to examine the authority of and the justifications for the authority of CHRL, the democratic objection to the legitimacy of CHRL, and selected issues in CHRL. In particular, it analyzes three potential solutions to the problem of securing the universal scope of CHRL: the turn to quantitative methods in CHRL, the development of (trans-)regional human rights comparison, and generalizing CHRL to all universal human rights treaty bodies. In conclusion, the chapter argues that, unlike other areas of domestic and even international law, human rights law amounts to a necessarily comparative project, i.e. a law-making enterprise in which comparative law is not only interesting, but is required and in which it should not only amount to a piecemeal and retail practice, but to a systematic and universal one.

Keywords: authority, comparative human rights, democracy, human rights law, legitimacy, quantitative methods, (trans-)regional comparison

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