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Keywords:

  • parliamentary rights model;
  • political rights review;
  • judicial review

This paper examines the emergence of a new model for protecting rights (referred to as the ‘parliamentary rights’ model) in Canada, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, and the Australian Capital Territory. This parliamentary model is distinguished from the more traditional, judicial-centric, approach to rights protection in at least two ways. The first is that this parliamentary rights model incorporates the notion of legitimate political dissent from judicial interpretations of rights. The second way it challenges the court-centred model is by incorporating the systematic evaluation of proposed legislation from a rights perspective. Both of these features allow for the possibility of a broader range of perspectives on the appropriate interpretation of rights or the resolution of disagreements involving claims of rights than those arising from more judicial-centric bills of rights. The paper assesses whether this alternative approach to rights protection satisfies those sceptics who doubt the virtue or prudence of conceiving of political disputes as legal rights claims for which the judiciary has the dominant role in their interpretation and resolution.