David Dyzenhaus – Human Rights and Emergencies

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Max Weber Occasional Talk with David Dyzenhaus (University of Toronto)

dyzenhaus“Human Rights and Emergencies”

7 December 2016, 17:30-19:00
Badia, Emeroteca


“Salus populi suprema lex esto”—let the safety of the people be the supreme law. If Cicero’s maxim is correct, human rights do have limits. In an emergency situation, when the safety of the people is under threat the law that governs is not the law of human rights, but a judgment about what it takes to secure the safety of the people. I shall argue that the juridical concept of the safety of the people includes respect for the human rights of the individuals who make up what we can think of as the ‘jural community’ of ‘the people’. It follows that emergencies do not so much expose limits to human rights as show how human rights constitute the jural community. Far from emergencies telling us primarily how human rights will or may legitimately be limited, they tell us why human rights limit–or better shape–the way in which states respond to emergencies, when they respond as states.

About the speaker:

David Dyzenhaus is University Professor of Law and Philosophy at the University of Toronto, and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada. This year he is a fellow of the Wissenschaftskolleg zu Berlin.He is the author of ‘Hard Cases in Wicked Legal Systems: South African Law in the Perspective of Legality’, ‘Legality and Legitimacy: Carl Schmitt, Hans Kelsen, and Hermann Heller in Weimar’, ‘Judging the Judges’, ‘Judging Ourselves: Truth, Reconciliation and the Apartheid Legal Order’, and ‘The Constitution of Law: Legality in a Time of Emergency’.

All welcome but please register