© 2018

The Reality of Human Dignity in Law and Bioethics

Comparative Perspectives

  • Brigitte Feuillet-Liger
  • Kristina Orfali


  • Offers a wide-ranging perspective from 20 different jurisdictions on how human dignity is used

  • Presents critical analysis from countries spanning different continents, religions and cultures

  • Articulates the relevance of dignity and its use as a practical tool in the regulation of biomedicine


Part of the Ius Gentium: Comparative Perspectives on Law and Justice book series (IUSGENT, volume 71)

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xviii
  2. The Realitie(s) of Human Dignity in Europe

  3. The Realitie(s) of Human Dignity in Africa

  4. The Realitie(s) of Human Dignity in America

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 179-179
    2. Maria-Claudia Crespo-Brauner, Anderson Orestes Cavalcante Lobato
      Pages 181-190
    3. Anderson Orestes Cavalcante Lobato, Brigitte Feuillet-Liger
      Pages 219-227

About this book


Adopting an interdisciplinary perspective, this volume explores the reality of the principle of human dignity – a core value which is increasingly invoked in our societies and legal systems. This book provides a systematic overview of the legal and philosophical concept in sixteen countries representing different cultural and religious contexts and examines in particular its use in a developing case law (including of the European Court of Human Rights and of the Inter-American Court of Human Rights). Whilst omnipresent in the context of bioethics, this book reveals its wider use in healthcare more generally, treatment of prisoners, education, employment, and matters of life and death in many countries. 

In this unique comparative work, contributing authors share a multidisciplinary analysis of the use (and potential misuse) of the principle of dignity in Europe, Africa, South and North America and Asia. By revealing the ambivalence of human dignity in a wide range of cultures and contexts and through the evolving reality of case law, this book is a valuable resource for students, scholars and professionals working in bioethics, medicine, social sciences and law. Ultimately, it will make all those who invoke the principle of human dignity more aware of its multi-layered character and force us all to reflect on its ability to further social justice within our societies.


Human Dignity and Comparative Law The Jurisprudence of Human Dignity: A Comparative Perspective Realizing Human Dignity Law, Medicine and Dignity Regulation and Bioethics Culture, Dignity and Law Notion of Human Dignity Principle of Dignity in German Law Principle of Dignity in Belgium Human Dignity in Spanish Biomedicine Principle of Human Dignity in France Principle of Human Dignity in Greek Law Human Dignity in Law and Biomedicine in Hungary Principle of Human Dignity in Italy Human Dignity and Biomedicine in English Law Human Dignity in Swiss Law Principle of Dignity and the European Court of Human Rights Human Dignity in Tunisia Dignity and Freedom in Turkish Law Dignity in Canadian Law

Editors and affiliations

  • Brigitte Feuillet-Liger
    • 1
  • Kristina Orfali
    • 2
  1. 1.University of RennesRennesFrance
  2. 2.Columbia UniversityNew YorkUSA

About the editors

Brigitte Feuillet-Liger is Professor of Law at the Faculty of Law, University of Rennes 1 (France), where she specializes in Family Law, Human Rights and Bioethics.She is a Senior Member of the Institut Universitaire de France, member of the Institut de l’Ouest: Droit et Europe (IODE, UMR CNRS 6262), and Chair of the International Academic Network for Bioethics.She is Doctor Honoris Causa of University of Louvain (Belgium) and a recipient of the French Legion d’Honneur. She has been awarded numerous prizes, (Award of Dissez le Penanrun of the Académie des Sciences Morales et Politiques; Emile Girardeau Award of the Academy of Moral and Political Sciences (Institute of France) for her distinguished academic career, and has published extensively in the field of Law, Bioethics and Religion. 
Kristina Orfali, Ph.D., a graduate from the École Normale Supérieure (Paris), the Institut d’Etudes Politiques de Paris and the Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales (France) is Professor of Bioethics at Columbia University Medical Center in New York. She has worked on patient's hospital experiences in a cross-cultural perspective, on clinician and family decision making in neonatal intensive care units and on bioethics in France and Europe. She has published several books and articles in Social Science and Medicine, The Journal of Clinical Ethics, Perspectives in Medicine and Biology, Sociology of Health and Illness, American Journal of Bioethics etc.  She has a particular interest in empirical cross-cultural studies and comparative research in the field of bioethics. Before joining Columbia, Kristina Orfali has been an Assistant Professor in Medicine and Assistant Director at the MacLean Center for Clinical Ethics at the University of Chicago and Directeur de Recherches invitée at the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique in France. As an ethicist she is a member of the Morgan Stanley Children’s Hospital of New York ethics committee and a clinical ethicist consultant in paediatrics.

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