The right to privacy is not recognised at common law. However, like many other rights, it has gained increasing prominence and legal recognition since the explosion in rights-based normative discourse following the Second World War. Rights-based moral theories are appealing because their language is individualising; promising to expand the sphere of liberty and protection offered to people. It is therefore not surprising that we as individuals are attracted to such theories - they allow us a vehicle through which we can project our wishes and demands onto the community. While in abstract the right to privacy sounds appealing, it has many potential disadvantages. This article examines the justification for the right to privacy. It argues that either the right is illusory (devoid of an overarching doctrinal rationale) or at its highest the right to privacy is an insignificant right - one which should rarely trump other interests. It follows that there is a need to re-assess the desirability of introducing a separate cause of action protecting privacy interests.
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