The Law and People`s Legal Rights

TheLaw and People’s Legal Rights

TheLaw and People’s Legal Rights

Protectionof legal rights of people is one of the main responsibilities of thelaw in all circumstances. Once the law is followed, the observance ofthe rule of legal rights people is maintained and the relevant toolsof the law are significant. This means that, whenever the law doesnot protect the rights of people. Its effectiveness is lost and so isthe meaning. However, it is the responsibility of people to protecttheir legal rights using all the means and tools provided by the law.Therefore, if people do not protect their own rights, the law becomesineffective. Despite being ineffective, it is the opinion of thispaper that the law still remains meaningful.

TheLaw and People’s Legal Rights

Therule of law is the aspect that makes the law effective in creatingthe right environment for people to live within the legal confines.It is the influence of the law that leads to the protection of thelegal rights of people that are provided for in the law. At the sametime, the rule of law keeps the public in a state that reflects therespect and observance of the legal regulations that guard humanrights. This means that legal rights of people are embedded in theeffectiveness of the rule of law. The more effective the establishedlaw is in effecting its rule, the more meaningful the law remains inthe observance of the legal rights.

Inrelation to the human rights, the law establishes a set ofregulations that guide the protection of the rights as well asdemocratic values of people. The existence of human rights makes thelaw an effective tool that creates meaning of itself and the legalframework that establishes it. The protection of human rights doesnot only give meaning to the law, but also gives it significance inthe society. This means that in the event of poor human rightsobservance, the law loses its effectiveness, but not its meaning.Therefore, the establishment of the law creates a legal expectationof its effectiveness, which does not make its observance ameaningless phenomenon.

Protectionof Human Rights

Thecentral role of the law is the protection of human rights with theinput of both the legal enforcement frameworks and the people whoserights are being protected. According to Williams and Hume (2013),the protection of human rights is based on the degree ofeffectiveness of operation of the general law of the land. This meansthat without proper operations of the laws regulating the legalprocesses of a country, the observance of the human rights beingprotected by the law loses meaning, in relation to this argument, thelaw does not lose meaning, what loses meaning is the essence or thesignificance of the law on the protection of human rights.

However,the effectiveness of the operation of the law in general termsdepends on several tools and determinants as far as the rule of lawis concerned. The general operation of the law discussed by Williamsand Hume (2013) is done by law enforcers in different aspectsdepending on the country. For instance, in Australia, law enforcementis tasked to the police, a similar practice in many westerncountries. Therefore, if the law enforcers do not focus theirattention to the protection of the law, the effectiveness of the lawis eroded. Despite the erosion of the meaning, the practice does notrender the law meaningless. This is because the law remains the same,whether with effective enforcement of not.

Anotherdeterminant of the effectiveness of the law in the protection ofhuman rights is the interpretation of the same law in differentstatutes. According to Williams and Hume (2013), the interpretationof the law is based on different presumptions that guide differentstatutes. The observance of the law is based on these presumptionsthat guide the extent that the law provides legal protection of humanrights. In relation to the general operation of the law, Williams andHume (2013), lists a number of presumptions that should direct theinterpretation of different statutes. This illustrates thedifferences that the law is taking on with based on the differencesin the presumptions. However, the differences in the presumptions donot make the law meaningless.

Thegeneral operation of the law is also based on the judicial system’sability to ensure the effectiveness of the law. This effectiveness isbased on the ability of the law, as well as the legal platforms inthe country to protect human rights. The observance of human rightsis also based on the ability of the courts to interpret the law andapplies the statutes in defining human rights. Williams and Hume(2013) describe clear and up to date elements of the jurisprudence ofthe Australian high courts in the interpretation of the law.Therefore, the effectiveness of the courts becomes the basis of theeffectiveness of the law, especially in the observance of humanrights.


Accordingto Williams and Hume (2013), observance of human rights is a keyelement of evaluating the effectiveness of the law, which gives themeaning of the law. The use of human rights observance index is usedby different national and international bodies to rank countriesbased on their law as well as the effectiveness of the law. Accordingto Williams and Hume (2013), Australia ranks highly on the humanrights observance as provided by different organizations. This showsa trend in observing human rights that are based on the traditions ofa country. Williams and Hume (2013) further describe the relation ofthe country’s human rights observance with other countries.Therefore, the effectiveness of the law in protecting human rights isinfluenced by the traditions of a country.

Bycomparing the human rights law to the western countries’traditions, Australian observance is highly influenced by thepractices in these nations. Human rights observance in many countriesis based on the legal traditions of the western nations. This isfurther influenced by the extent that the Australian legal systemshave borrowed from the legal practices of the western nations.According to Williams and Hume (2013), many countries depend on thesetraditions, but also depend on their own cultural and religiouspractices. This means that the effectiveness of observance of humanrights of a country depends on several aspects of the same law.

Theextent of respect and observance of people’s rights and freedoms,therefore, depends on the country’s historical record of a country.The historical aspects of observing human rights in a country thatbases its legal traditions on the traditions of western countries arestrong. For instance, Australian observance of human rights is basedon the western nations that adopt the use of the human rights indexand ranking. Through the description of the human rights rankings onhistorical aspects, Williams and Hume (2013) hold that Australiaprovides a proper precedence to the future relevance of the law. Acountry’s human rights protection is determined not only by the useof the law, but its own traditions.

Accordingto Williams and Hume (2013), human rights observance has a longerhistory than the laws that are set to protect the rights. Humanrights extend away from the constitution and take the dimensions ofthe historical perspectives of a country. Williams and Hume (2013)argue that the adoption of the international human rightsdeclarations and western human rights conventions are based on deeperpractices of human rights in these countries. Therefore, the currentconstitutional provisions and laws that protect human rights arebased on the traditions and the historical record of a country toprotect human rights. For instance, the adoption ofnon-discrimination policy that is practiced in Australia dates fromthe year 1850, when the legislation was passed.

Roleof the People

Peoplehave personal responsibilities to protect their own human rights aswell as those of others. The law is not rendered meaningless simplybecause people fail to protect their own rights. Instead, it is theefforts of the people that are rendered meaningless to effectivelyaddress their own rights and freedoms. This means that people have astrong position in terms of observance of human rights andeffectiveness of the law. It is important that each and every personunderstands the law and the legal rules that guide his or her rights.Similarly, people should understand the legal rules that guaranteethem of rights and freedoms. Through such understanding, [peoplewill know what is expected of them and what is expected of the law.

Theeffectiveness of the use of the law by people to protect their rightsand freedoms determines the meaning that the law holds in theprotection of human rights. This is because the law does not justguarantee the protection of human rights without its effective use.The law is affected by the people and for the protection of thepeople. This means that the rule the law is best evaluated by theextent at which the law leads to the observance of human rights. Theuse of the law to protect human rights is effective in relation tothe response that people have on the same law. For example, if aperson does not report a case of violation of his or her basic humanrights, the law cannot apply effectively.

Therefore,the failure of the people to safeguard their own legally guaranteedrights does not mean that the law is ineffective or meaningless. Thismeans that the effectiveness of the use of law by the people lead tothe establishment of the meaning of the law. According to Allan(2011), the liberty of a person is best defined when the personenumerates an understanding of the rights and freedoms. The meaningof the law in Australia for example, will be practiced by the levelof information that circulates to the people in relation to theawareness of the human rights and freedoms. Allan (2011) furtherargues that any disagreement between the uninformed and the smart,the educated or the informed is based on such understanding of theviews on the law.

Countriesthat have effective observance of the human rights portray a clearerunderstanding of the human rights and liberty clause in theconstitution. People have a history of understanding the law anddemanding nothing less than what is guaranteed in the same law. Thismeans that the use of the law in these countries is meaningful due tothe people themselves. In an analytical perspective, it is right tonote that western countries have better human rights observance indexbecause of the ability of the people in these countries to defendtheir rights. In these countries, the law has a better meaningbecause of the people and not necessarily because of its existence.

Thepower of the people in protecting their own rights is also an elementin the determination of the strength of the law and legal platformsthat establish the law. In western countries, for example, lawenforcement tools as well as their judicial systems are strongbecause of the effectiveness of the people in fighting for theirrights. Therefore, western countries have stronger laws in relationto Asian or African countries because of their people’s commitmentto the observance of human rights. Therefore, the law does not becomemeaningless in the countries with lower human rights law observanceindex. Instead, it is the people who are ineffective.

Therefore,the ineffectiveness of the people to protect their own rights andlegal freedoms makes the law look meaningless. However, themeaningless of the law is mostly a perceived aspect and not a realfact of the state of affairs of countries with low human rightsobservance. In addition, the perception of a weak law is held bypeople who instead are supposed to defend their own rights. They areexpected to protect themselves as the main agents of influencing thelaw that should be protecting them.

Thereare perceived differences in the observance of the law and protectionof human rights in different countries. According to Williams andHume (2013), different countries are ranked differently on the basisof their observance of the law. The difference in the ranking isexistent despite the adherence to a common international law orUnited Nations human rights convention. At the same time, manycountries base their human rights law on the internationalconventions and western doctrines. This means that the law is thesame in almost all countries that share the same human rights valuesideals. However, the difference is due to the extent at which peopleprotect their human rights. In western countries, people havetraditions of taking human rights protection as theirresponsibilities and not the responsibilities of the law.


Theobservance of human rights is one of the core bases of the law andthe platforms that establish the law. It is a universal phenomenon touse the law to protect human rights and freedoms of all people. Atthe same time, the law is established based on the need to observehuman rights and freedoms. However, the effectiveness of the lawvaries depending on the traditions of the country that the law ispracticed on. More importantly, the effectiveness of the law is basedon the ability of people taking the responsibility to protect theirhuman rights and freedoms. This means that people use the law toobserve human rights and protect their legal rights. Therefore, thelaw does not become meaningless is people cannot effectively protecttheir legal rights.


Alan,J. (2011). Rights Charter`s vague abstractions must be repealed. TheAustralian.June 10, 2011

Williams,G., &amp Hume, D. (2013). HumanRights under the Australian Constitution.South Melbourne, Oxford University Press