The Right to Happiness between Legal Basis and Judicial Practice: A Comparative Constitutional Study
happiness, in fact, is something that is sought inside the man’s body, which makes it searched for and studied as a psychological and philosophical matter, not a legal one. However, this matter is aroused in the western legal jurisprudence a long time ago in terms of acknowledging it as one of the human rights. In reality, we can say that the supposed purpose of every law and every right embodies in achieving happiness for man. In other words, we can say that law and right are originally created for man’s happiness.
In this research, we tried our best to tackle the matter of happiness from a legal point of view. And whether it is possible to look at it today, not as a feeling or a sensation that philosophers and sociologists care about, nor a far-reached and impossible-to-imagine idea as a worth-taking right for man, but as a legal right protected by a lawsuit.
At the start of the 18th Century, happiness gradually began to appear in the human rights related legal texts, then in the constitutions. Since the American Independence Declaration in 1776, that stated happiness is an original right for a person and can’t be ill-used. Then, appeared in the two declarations of the French human rights in 1789 and 1793, which regarded happiness as a target for community. Then appeared in the constitutions of Japan, North and South Korea, Turkey, Niger, Bhutan Kingdom and Egypt. Then, appeared recently when the UAE issued new local legislations in 2020. Happiness started to indulge in legal texts that represent the top of the legislative pyramid in many countries. Today, happiness stands high (as a human right) in more than 20 countries, and this number increases if we considered constitutions that included it away from the frame of rights. In addition, a lot of countries started targeting happiness in their economic and developing programs. The UAE was the first in the world to set up a Ministry of Happiness in 2016.
Constitutional judiciary was not far from that legislative development in terms of the right of happiness. Although there wasn’t an obvious and direct judicial obligation for that right till date, judiciary in many countries has become more open to accept lawsuits based on the constitutional reference of that right, especially in confirmation of other rights, either mentioned in the constitutional text or not. Also, constitutional judiciary in various countries accepted lawsuits regarding that right on the basis of setting up a balance between public and private interest for the pleasure of people and for guaranteeing the respect of other basic rights of individuals.
Abo El Wafa, Dr. Tarek
"The Right to Happiness between Legal Basis and Judicial Practice: A Comparative Constitutional Study,"
UAEU Law Journal: Vol. 2021:
87, Article 1.
Available at: https://scholarworks.uaeu.ac.ae/sharia_and_law/vol2021/iss87/1