n Lesotho Law Journal - Horizontal application of the Bill of Rights : comparative perspective - research

Volume 26 Number 2
  • ISSN : 0255-6472


The traditional public-private distinction portrays the world as a continuum, the one side of which is occupied by the state and the other by individuals, with a dividing line between public power and private right. On this theory, human rights act as a legal tool that mediates between these extremes and never between the individuals themselves; a shield that protects individuals against state power and enforceable against the state only. The distinction forms the basis for this vertical application of the Bill of Rights. This paper discusses the rise of public-private distinction, the implication of the traditional categorical approach on human rights realisation, the fall of the distinction and how this paved the way to the horizontal application of the Bill of Rights - the application of the Bill of Rights in private actors’ legal relationships. The paper unpacks the doctrine of horizontal application of the Bill of Rights by identifying the different variants or models of the doctrine and the implications of Bill of Rights horizontality on the judiciary and the private actors regarding the enforcement and realisation of human rights in the private sphere.

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