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The YTL Centre for Politics, Philosophy & Law presents a symposium with Sir...

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K2.31 (Nash Lecture Theatre), King's Building

King's College London

Strand

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WC2R 2LS

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The Yeoh Tiong Lay Centre for Politics, Philosophy and Law presents a symposium with Sir Noel Malcolm on his latest book, 'Human Rights and Political Wrongs'.

About the Book:

In Human Rights and Political Wrongs, one of the UK’s most eminent historians of ideas offers a powerful critique of the existing system of human rights law, and an original analysis of the fundamental principles on which any such law should be based.

As Noel Malcolm shows, the European Court of Human Rights at Strasbourg operates on erratic and uncertain principles; it expands the scope of the European Convention beyond what was agreed by the signatory states; and it erodes democracy, encroaching on matters that should be decided by democratic legislatures. The Court not only tries to deduce law from unclear abstractions, but also invents ones that are not in the text of the Convention, such as ‘personal autonomy’. The result is bad law-making, of a subjective and open-ended kind.

Human rights, Malcolm argues, need to be re-thought from the foundations. They are not statements about everything that is most valuable about being human; no coherent legal system can be based on that. Rather, they are essential political statements about the limits of state power – the things that governments absolutely must not do to their people. And, since human rights are the fundamental political rights of people under democratic government, they should be used to protect democracy, not to erode it.

This is the first ever study that both analyses all the essential flaws in the Strasbourg Court’s methods and reconsiders the fundamental nature of human rights. It offers a new understanding, on which a better system of human rights protection can be built.



Biography:

Sir Noel Malcolm is a Senior Research Fellow of All Souls College, Oxford, and a Fellow of the British Academy. He did his doctorate in History at Cambridge, and was for seven years a Fellow of Gonville and Caius College. He has been a Visiting Lecturer at Harvard and a Visiting Fellow of St Antony’s College, Oxford; he is an Honorary Fellow of Peterhouse, Gonville and Caius College, and Trinity College, Cambridge. His work has ranged widely in European history and intellectual history, with a particular interest in the history of political philosophy. A general editor of the Clarendon Edition of the Works of Thomas Hobbes, he has published in that series editions of Hobbes’s Correspondence (2 vols, 1994) and Leviathan (3 vols, 2012). He was knighted in 2014 for services to scholarship, journalism and European history.

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K2.31 (Nash Lecture Theatre), King's Building

King's College London

Strand

London

WC2R 2LS

United Kingdom

View Map

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