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Title: A constitutional doctrine of freedom : on the moral structure of constitutional rights
Author: Møller, Kai
ISNI:       0000 0004 2714 8216
Awarding Body: Oxford University
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2010
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The thesis proposes a substantive moral, reconstructive theory of the practice of constitutional rights law as it has emerged in the last 60 years in various jurisdictions all over the world. In a nutshell, this practice is characterised by an extremely broad approach to the interests protected as prima facie rights combined with a far-reaching limitability of those rights under a balancing or proportionality approach. It thus stands in striking contrast to the conceptions of rights endorsed by philosophers who almost unanimously regard rights as protecting a limited range of very important interests and enjoying some special normative force. Having set out the project in Chapter One, the following three chapters develop a theory of the prima facie stage of rights. Chapter Two identifies the value of personal autonomy - positive freedom - as explaining better than its main rival, negative freedom, the core features of the practice. Chapter Three builds on this result and defends a particular conception of autonomy - the protected interests conception - as cohering best with the practice. This conception regards autonomy as including certain interests which can be ranked according to their importance for the self-conception of the agent. Chapter Four develops a theory of the prima facie stage of constitutional rights by arguing that constitutional rights protect comprehensively the autonomy interests of the right-holder. Chapters Five to Seven deal with the justification stage of rights. Chapter Five develops a theory of the justifiability and, related, the standard of judicial review, arguing that constitutional rights are violated when a policy fails to set up a reasonable - as opposed to the one correct - specification of the spheres of autonomy of equal citizens. Chapters Six and Seven draw on this result to provide theories of the main doctrinal tools at the justification stage, namely balancing and proportionality. Chapter Six proposes a theory of the resolution of conflicts of autonomy interests and thus clarifies the concept of balancing. Chapter Seven integrates the results of the previous chapters into a theory of proportionality, arguing that this principle provides lawyers with an attractive tool for the structured resolution of conflicts of autonomy interests and thus also constitutional rights cases.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available