Would International Adjudication Enhance Contextual Theories of Justice? Reflections on the UN Human Rights Committee, Lovelace, Ballantyne, and Waldman

Andrew M. Robinson, Wilfrid Laurier University

This article was originally published in Canadian Journal of Political Science, 39(2): 271-291. © 2006 Cambridge University Press


This article seeks to advance thinking about contextual theories of justice as found in Carens’ Culture, Citizenship, and Community and Parekh’s Rethinking Multiculturalism by considering the suggestion that such theories would be enhanced by the incorporation of an element of international adjudication. It explores possible advantages and disadvantages of this proposal both theoretically and by reflecting on Canadian experience with the UN Human Rights Committee (HRC) in its Lovelace, Ballantyne and Waldman views. The article concludes that international adjudication would enhance contextual theories of justice if it incorporated key elements of the HRC’s individual communication procedure, including the non-binding nature of its decisions.