Seminar 5: The Culture of Justification (with Murray Hunt & Dimitrios Kyritsis)

When the Human Rights Act 1998 was enacted, it was sometimes said that it would usher in ‘a culture of justification’ where ‘exercise of power is expected to be justified by reference to reasons which are publicly available to be independently scrutinised for compatibility with society’s fundamental commitments’ (Hunt, 2015, 15-16).  In this seminar, we will probe the idea of ‘the culture of justification’, examining how it relates to upholding rights in the UK and beyond.


*Murray Hunt, ‘Introduction’, in Hunt, Hooper & Yowell (eds) Parliaments and Human Rights (Hart Publishing 2015)

*David Dyzenhaus, ‘What is a Democratic Culture of Justification?’ in Hunt, Hooper & Yowell (eds) Parliaments and Human Rights (Hart Publishing 2015)


In this seminar series, we will discuss some key topics in comparative constitutionalism, drawing out some of the theoretical questions which underpin them.

The seminars will be led by Aileen Kavanagh and various visiting speakers.  Each seminar will start with a short presentation by each of the speakers, followed by a roundtable discussion.  The seminars will look closely at just two or three readings, mostly from recently published work or work-in-progress by the speakers.  The readings are hyperlinked below so that people can read them in advance and join in the roundtable discussion. 

The seminar is not associated with any particular course or examination, but all are welcome to attend.  The seminar may be of interest to graduate students in the Law Faculty, especially BCL/MJur students taking Constitutional Theory, Comparative Human Rights and Comparative Public Law, or to research students working in the areas of constitutional law, constitutional theory or comparative constitutional law.