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International Human Rights Law and Constitutional Rights: In Favour of Synergy (Apr 2010)

Fiona De Londras

This paper is concerned with demonstrating the capacity of international human rights law and domestic constitutional law to have a synergistic relationship that is focused on the ways in which the two sets of standards can be harmonised rather than on questions of ‘superiority’ and ‘inferiority’. Conceiving of the relationship between the two bodies of law in this way requires us to recognise their shared dignitary core and the optimal effect of international human rights law, namely effective rights-protection at the domestic level with international law playing a subsidiary role. This paper uses the example of LGBT rights in European Convention on Human Rights jurisprudence to demonstrate such a synergistic relationship and argues that such a relationship is possible as between US constitutional law and international human rights law notwithstanding some prima facie barriers thereto.

International Review of Constitutionalism, Vol. 9, No. 2, pp, 307-328, 2009

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