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Rights and Values

Subtheme II

This subtheme focuses on the role of fundamental rights and values in law beyond the nation state. It seeks to understand how rights and values can serve both as a source of coherence and legitimacy in law, and as a source of pluralism and contestation.

Fundamental rights and values play an important role in the development and understanding of relationships among different legal orders, institutions and regimes. Severe crises on a European and global scale can, from this perspective, be understood as value crises, which suggests that a resort or return to values may also be part of the solution, in particular of the legal response to such crises.

Research under this theme approaches the subject of fundamental rights and values in law beyond the nation state from the following angles:

  • The institutional and substantive dimensions of the role of rights and values in law beyond the nation state, including  the question of who is the most legitimate (or otherwise appropriate) interpreter of fundamental rights and values.
  • The question of the horizontal effect, direct and indirect, of fundamental rights (and perhaps also of values) in a Europeanising and globalising world, both from a normative and from an institutional point of view.
  • The connection between rights and values itself. Rights may be justified by values and vice versa. However, the ideas of rights and values also represent two competing and conflicting political philosophies, i.e. liberal and communitarian, each with their related conceptions of law.