Legal Interpretation and Human Rights
Interpretazione giuridica e diritti umani
Palermo, 1 - 8 June 2009
The Summer School on “Legal Interpretation and Human Rights” has been organized by the University of Palermo PhD Program on Human Rights jointly with the Brussels Academy of Legal Theory, the renowned research centre in the field of Philosophy of Law and the Theory of legal interpretation. “Legal Interpretation” and “Human Rights” are the focus of two main areas of interest of contemporary philosophical reflection. Since 70’s Legal interpretation has increasingly been a crucial theme in theories of Law. Indeed, lawyers have realized that interpretative practices are essential for the understanding and practice of Law. This has been possible, in particular, thanks to the increasing amount of Bills of Rights enacted all over the world and the related phenomenon of the constitutionalization of legal orders. This process consists in a radical transformation of what we consider a legal order, such that one cannot give any more an account of what a legal order is, without making appeal to the notion of constitutional norms, at least when constitutional forms of state are taken into consideration: indeed, essential features of a constitutional legal order are a written
constitution containing a bill of rights and some kind of instruments for judging the legitimacy of norms in the light of constitutional norms. However, these features are necessary but not sufficient for judging that a legal order is a constitutional legal order. We further need to check that there is a legally binding constitution, constitutional overinterpretation, constitutional norms directly applied by judges, interpretation of legal norms in conformity with constitutional norms, and that constitutions somehow influence political equilibriums. This explains the significance of the connection between he subject of legal interpretation and human rights.
The Summer School aims at offering some tools for the analysis of the subject of “Legal interpretation and Human Rights”, on the basis of different perspectives and accounts, and favouring the interaction between legal practice and philosophy. What Bobbio named “Age of Rights” will be the main background for understanding how legal culture has understood and changed interpretative practices.
Lectures will be followed by debates. Lecturers are professors from Italian or foreign Universities. The Summer School will be hosted by the Dipartimento Studi su Politica, Diritto e Società (DPDS), piazza Bologni 8, 90134 Palermo.
Teaching hours will be 10.00 a.m. till 1.00 p.m. and 3.30 p.m. till 6.30 p.m. Students will receive the materials sent by lecturers, and they will have free access to the Library of the DPDS, as well as to the other libraries of the Law Faculty.
Working languages will be: English, French, Italian, Spanish.