This analysis consists of three principal parts. First, it briefly reviews the classical contract account that explains how and why individuals enter civil society, found in the writings of both Hobbes and Locke. The analysis then examines the limited extent to which classical contract theory treats questions of rights vindication or, in more modern terms, with questions of access to justice. Second, the analysis examines the nature of collective and diffuse rights claims and will make a case for their importance in the modern world. Third, the analysis seeks to identify arguments from the classical account that might be useful in the context of trying to vindicate what we now call collective and diffuse rights. In this connection, this reflection analyzes the possibilities for and limitations of, if any, classical contract theory to accommodate modern collective and diffuse rights claims. Without question, the analysis will thus at times paint with a very broad brush. However, the aim is not to provide an exhaustive analysis of the response (or not) of classical contract theory to the challenge presented by collective and diffuse rights questions, but rather to begin to trace out the relation of classical contract theory to these rights claims, which are of evergrowing importance today.
27 Ind. J. Global Legal Stud. 59 (2020).