What is a “judicial divination”?

What is a “judicial divination” in next sentence? I quoted it from the book “Human rights written by Andrew Clapham”.

They considered the matter was better left to national legislators than to a judicial divination of overriding human rights principles

According to my dictionary, “judicial” refers “relating to the law, judges or their decisions” and “divination” refers “the ability to say what will happen in the future”. I could understand each word but I could not understand the compound form “judicial divination“.


In this context divination is not about predicting the future. It is closer to an “intuitive perception”. And not particularly a successful or accurate one.

The Webster’s New World gives the following definition:


  1. the act or practice of trying to foretell the future or explore the unknown by occult means
  2. a prophecy; augury
  3. a successful guess or intuitive perception

The sentence means it would be preferable to have explicit laws written by legislators address this issue rather than have judges intuit an interpretation of vague general principles. The use of “divination” gives a connotation that their determination would not be based on logic but very figuratively on “occult means or augury”.

Source : Link , Question Author : MS.Kim , Answer Author : George White

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