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Invitation to the next ILDG Discussion: Interpreting International Human Rights Standards

You are very warmly invited to the International Law Discussion Group, which is taking place on Wednesday 11th of February (Room M1, Appleton Tower 4.30pm-6pm).

Dr Kasey McCall-Smith (Edinburgh Law School) will present her paper on:

Interpreting International Human Rights Standards – Treaty Body General Comments in Domestic Courts

Here is the abstract:

This paper explores the introduction of treaty body jurisprudence into domestic legal systems. Specifically it will consider the use of general comments by human rights treaty bodies. The contribution begins with a brief introduction of the treaty bodies, as it is the nature of these bodies that warrants consideration of their jurisprudence as a legitimate interpretive tool. It will then present an overview of references to treaty body general comments in the case law across a selection of jurisdictions, including the UK and South Africa, as well as the EU as a supranational jurisdiction. Finally, it will analyse the impact that these domestic engagements with treaty body jurisprudence has on the interpretation of international human rights standards. It will consider whether the outcome of a court case that has relied upon general comments contributes to or detracts from the strength of the treaty body outputs. It is posited that in instances where rights are progressively recognised for protection, general comments serve as a chisel to aid in refining rights. In instances where the judiciary disregards or distorts treaty body guidance, it is suggested that the general comments act more as a hammer that weakens a particular right. Thus it is extremely important that treaty bodies take special care when drafting their opinions, comments and reports therefore some attention will be given to the issue of treaty body drafting.

Please find below the links to the full paper and the event page: – Working Paper 4: – Event page:

I just want to draw your attention that the event takes place in Appleton Tower, located at 11 Crichton Street, Edinburgh EH8 9LE (off George Square). Here is a link to the map:

As usual, there will be a moment for discussion and refreshments after the presentation.

For the ILDG, The convenors,

Justine Bendel and Winston Wu.

International Law Discussion Group University of Edinburgh Law School


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