The Handbook of Human Rights Law

The Handbook of Human Rights Law
Author: Michael Arnheim
Price: 19.99
Pages: 274
Publisher: Kogan Page
ISBN: 0749444800

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This is a fascinating book. The author has managed to translate some of the most dreary legal principles into a lively and interesting read.

Michael Arnheim is a practising barrister, but his writing style has an engaging and easy-to-read quality that makes it suitable for any reader. Students of law will probably gain most benefit from it, but it may be too in-depth for the average HR practitioner.

The book deals with all the areas of human rights law, and Arnheim explores the principles simply using examples from well-known news stories, such as the Tony Martin case, where he defended himself against an intruder, or the Naomi Campbell freedom of expression case. I found myself absorbed in the twists and turns of these cases, while at the same time learning more about human rights law – the perfect way to do it.

The question and answer sections scattered throughout the book are particularly helpful in dealing with everything from euthanasia to privacy and gender reassignment. Do asylum seekers have the right to be supported at public expense? Does the state have a positive duty to protect or preserve life? Is there real protection for the individual’s freedom of speech? Does tighter security really mean less liberty for ordinary law-abiding citizens, or only for terrorists and their sympathisers? These are just some of the questions asked and answered, and Arnheim’s take on them is both erudite and pragmatic.

If you want an accessible legal/ethical guide to some of the human rights questions of the day, this is the book for you.

Useful? 4 stars
Well-written? 5 stars
Practical? 5 stars
Inspirational? 3 stars
Value for money? 3 stars
Overall 4 stars

Reviewed by Ian Foster, strategic HR adviser, Hampshire County Council

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