Human rights abuses occur in every corner of the world and when they do, justices are asked to weigh in.
But will a court in, say, India view human rights the same way as in New Zealand?
A new book by Thompson Rivers University law professor Ken Cooper-Stephenson shows that constitutionally entrenched human rights are not so different around the world.
"Every (country's) constitution is worded a little bit differently, but they bear a similarity to our constitution in Canada," said Cooper-Stephenson. "The underpinning of not respecting people's dignity is universal."
That being the case, judges often rely on other countries' interpretations of the document on fundamental principles to guide their way through complicated human rights abuse allegations.
Cooper-Stephenson's recently published book, Constitutional Damages Worldwide, seeks to ease the way. It's the first book of its kind to compare cases from such dispersed jurisdictions.
He reviewed cases from every corner of the globe each with varying degrees of impact — from one man to a vast group to an entire race of people.
The details are drawn from decisions in more than 30 countries.
In one case, the Supreme Court of India dealt with the failure to regulate asbestos after victims of contamination sued the government.
In a case of discrimination, a New Zealand airport was sued for failure to provide proper medical and personal services to a Thai immigrant.
Yet another reviews the 2010 Supreme Court of Canada case against the City of Vancouver involving the mistaken identification, wrongful arrest and strip-search of a protester.
The book also explores the social, political and theoretical underpinnings of these claims.
"It is a legal book, but it's absolutely fascinating stuff," said Cooper-Stephenson.
He and publishing house Carwell expect that courts and human rights organizations worldwide will quickly adopt Constitutional Damages Worldwide as a reference book.
It can be purchased online at www.carswell.com.