n Acta Juridica - Reception of international labour standards in common-law legal systems

Volume 2012, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 0065-1346
  • E-ISSN: 1996-2088



Fundamental human rights, which include the core international labour standards, are inherent in all human beings and find expression in international human rights instruments, national constitutions and legal systems throughout the world. Although the dualist approach to international law regards domestic law and international law as separate systems of law, there has been an increasing use of international human rights law by municipal courts in common-law systems that adopt the dualist approach. Common-law systems provide a range of mechanisms for incorporating international law into domestic law or relying on it to develop domestic law. The contribution looks at three broad mechanisms of incorporation: legislative enactment (transformation); common-law incorporation (international customary law and common-law development); and constitutional and statutory interpretation. It argues that even in the most rigid of dualist approaches, there are legal pathways available to practitioners and courts to use international labour standards as a source to enrich domestic law and harmonise it with comparative and international best practice.

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