The art and science of interpretation in human rights law
Title: The art and science of interpretation in human rights law
Author: SCHEININ, Martin
Citation: Bård A. ANDREASSEN, Hans-Otto SANO and Siobhàn MCINERNEY-LANKFORD (eds), Research methods in human rights : a handbook, Cheltenham ; Northampton : Edward Elgar, 2017, Handbooks of research methods in law, pp. 17-37
ISBN: 9781785367786; 9781785367793
This chapter will address one of the most important questions for the methodology of human rights law, both as a social practice and as a scholarly discipline: how to interpret, i.e. give specific and concrete meaning to, the provisions of human rights treaties, many of which are seemingly vague or open-ended as texts. Is interpretation of human rights treaties subjective and unpredictable, or is it governed by clear rules and a rigorous methodology? The author defends the view that there is a proper methodology for this activity, and that even if different scholars or different lawyers may sometimes end up defending differing interpretations, often also related to their worldviews or who they happen to represent in a case, the interpretive activity of each of them can be assessed for the correctness of its methodology and ultimately also for the correctness of the answer arrived at.
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