Domestic Implementation of International Human Rights Norms

Michael Kirby AC CMG.; “Domestic Implementation of International Human Rights Norms

The Bangalore Principles state, in effect:

  • 1. International law (whether human rights norms or otherwise) is not, in most common law countries part of domestic law.
  • 2. Such law does not become part of domestic law until Parliament so enacts or the judges (as another source of law-making) declare the norms thereby established to be part of domestic law.
  • 3. The judges will not do so automatically, simply because the norm is part of international law or is mentioned in a treaty – even one ratified by their own country.
  • 4. But if an issue of uncertainty arises (by a gap in the common law or obscurity in its meaning or ambiguity in a relevant statute), a judge may seek guidance in the general principles of international law, as accepted by the community of nations.
  • 5. From this source material, the judge may ascertain and declare what the relevant rule of domestic law is. It is the action of the judge, incorporating the rule into domestic law, which makes it part of domestic law.

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