The Use of Foreign Jurisprudence in Human Rights Cases before the UK Supreme Court.
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This thesis is the first major study of the UK Supreme Court’s use of jurisprudence from foreign domestic courts in human rights cases. It contributes to the debate on judicial comparitivism by asking when, how and why the Supreme Court uses foreign jurisprudence, as well as whether the Court should be making greater use of it. The research findings are drawn from quantitative and qualitative analysis of judgments handed down by the Supreme Court during its first four years (2009-2013). These are supported by evidence obtained through interviews with ten Justices of the Supreme Court, one Lord Justice of Appeal and the eight Supreme Court Judicial Assistants. In the absence of legislative guidance, the use of foreign jurisprudence is neither consistent nor systematic. Different Justices use foreign jurisprudence to different degrees and for different reasons. The main use of foreign jurisprudence is as a heuristic device: it provides the Justices with a different analytical lens through which to reflect on their own reasoning about a problem. Some Justices also use foreign jurisprudence when interpreting a common legislative scheme and to support their conclusions. As a result, the Justices use foreign jurisprudence differently according to the audience to whom their reasons are addressed. Thus foreign jurisprudence can assist the Supreme Court to enter into dialogue with the Strasbourg Court. However, this thesis does not support theories of transjudicial dialogue with other domestic courts; the evidence does not indicate that the Supreme Court considers itself to be part of global conversation. Further, the use of foreign jurisprudence is limited by practical barriers including, but not restricted to, time pressures, the availability of comparative resources and the greater use of plurality style judgments. These barriers are worth addressing if the Supreme Court is to fully utilise the heuristic value of foreign jurisprudence
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