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European Journal of Law Reform


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Issue 4, 2016 Expand all abstracts
Article

Credibility of Sunnah

Keywords Sunnah, Hadith, traditions of Prophet Muhammad, sources of Islamic Law, rules of Hadith acceptance
Authors Ahmad Alomar
AbstractAuthor's information

    Islamic Law (Sharia) consists primarily of the Qur’an, the actual word of God revealed to Prophet Muhammad during his lifetime. The Qur’an itself is relatively short, compact and immutable. It was revealed in Classical Arabic and in a very poetic and elaborate format. Many parts of it are not easy to understand even for educated speakers of Arabic. In order to understand the meaning of some of its provisions and to be able to apply its teachings to changing times and societies, recourse is often made to other sources of Islamic law, first and foremost the Sunnah, or traditions of the Prophet Muhammad. The Sunnah consists of historic records of things the Prophet did or said in various situations during his lifetime. Because of the Prophet’s exalted position as God’s messenger, his words and deeds are considered supreme guidance for Muslims anywhere, as they are seeking to understand the teachings of Islam and its application to their lives. The problem with the Sunnah is, however, that the historic record of the words and deeds of the Prophet is not always clear and reliable. Therefore, giving the force of law to these words and deeds can be problematic. Distinguishing reliable and unreliable Sunnah is critically important. Muslim believe in many hadiths that may directly contradict the Qur’an, scientific evidence, fundamental principles of law and human rights, or each other. This article examines the Sunnah and the science of verifying hadith and argues that a more cautious approach should be taken and that Muslims around the world are being taught many rules that are supposedly rules of Islamic law where at the very least we cannot be sure. Instead of declaring thousands of weak hadith to be binding elements of Islamic law, we should be more discerning between strong and weak hadith and only treat those that are verifiable as binding. Other rules can still be persuasive if they meet certain conditions, in particular compatibility with the Qur’an itself, but they must not be used to impose rules on Muslims against their will, let alone against the provisions of the Qur’an.


Ahmad Alomar
S.J.D Candidate at IU McKinney School of Law, Faculty Member at King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals.
Article

ChAFTA, Trade, and Food Safety

When the Rubber Hits the Road

Keywords food safety laws in China and implementation issues, China-Australia Free Trade Agreement (ChAFTA), agricultural trade, corporate social responsibility, collaborative governance
Authors Ying Chen
AbstractAuthor's information

    Over the past decade, food safety has evolved into a compelling issue in China. The Chinese government has been committed to strengthening the regulatory framework. A series of laws and regulations ensuring the quality and safety of food in the interests of public health have been promulgated. However, a fairly comprehensive set of laws, along with harsh punishments, does not substantially deter food safety violations. Rather, foodborne illnesses continue to occur on a daily basis. How to improve food safety has become China’s national priority; it is also the main focus of this research. This article determines that one of the main obstacles to food safety is poor implementation of laws. It identifies the external and internal impediments to food safety governance in China. It further proposes an evolving series of potential solutions. Externally, weak enforcement undermines the credibility of the food safety laws. Internally, food manufacturers and distributors in China lack the sense of corporate social responsibility (CSR). To effectively reduce or even remove the external impediment, it is imperative to improve the overall governance in various sectors. As for the internal impediment, incorporating CSR principles into business operations is vital for food safety governance. In fact, the enforcement of many regional trade agreements, in particular, the enforcement of China–Australia FTA (ChAFTA) will largely increase market share of Australian food products in China. Undoubtedly, Chinese food businesses will face unprecedented competition. The pressure to gain competitive advantages in food markets yields an enormous change in motivation for Chinese food businesses. Chinese food companies will ultimately be forced to ‘voluntarily’ integrate CSR principles into their business operations. A significant change in the food sector is expected to be seen within the next decade. The article concludes that better practice in food safety governance in China requires two essential elements: a comprehensive regulatory and cooperative framework with essential rules and institutions, and an effective implementation mechanism involving both the public and private sectors.


Ying Chen
Dr. Ying Chen, Lecturer in Law, University of New England School of Law, Armidale, NSW2351, Australia. Email: ychen56@une.edu.au.
Article

A More Forceful Collective Redress Schemes in the EU Competition Law

What Is the Potential for Achieving Full Compensation?

Keywords full compensation, private enforcement, damages actions, collective actions, deterrence
Authors Žygimantas Juška
AbstractAuthor's information

    The damages actions reform of the European Union is predetermined to fail in achieving its stated goal of full compensation. There are two main reasons for this. First, the Directive on damages actions fails to maintain a balance between the claims of direct and indirect purchasers. Second, the EU policy is not designed to collect a large group of antitrust victims, who have suffered only a low-value harm (e.g., end consumers). The only way to achieve compensation effectiveness is to overstep the bounds of the EU compensatory regime, which is trapped in the grip of conservatism. In such circumstances, this article will explore three forceful scenarios of collective redress that include different types of deterrence-based remedies. The principal aim is to assess the chances of these scenarios in achieving full compensation. After assessing them, the best possible mechanism for compensating victims will be designed. In turn, it will allow the evaluation of to what extent such a scheme can ensure the achievement of full compensation.


Žygimantas Juška
PhD candidate at Leiden University. The author was the EU Fulbright Schuman grantee at Stanford University and the University of Michigan (2015-2016). Hence, this article is based on the study performed in the United States.
Article

Systems Thinking, Big Data, and Data Protection Law

Using Ackoff’s Interactive Planning to Respond to Emergent Policy Challenges

Keywords big data, data protection, data minimization, systems thinking, interactive planning
Authors Henry Pearce
AbstractAuthor's information

    This article examines the emergence of big data and how it poses a number of significant novel challenges to the smooth operation of some of the European data protection framework’s fundamental tenets. Building on previous research in the area, the article argues that recent proposals for reform in this area, as well as proposals based on conventional approaches to policy making and regulatory design more generally, will likely be ill-equipped to deal with some of big data’s most severe emergent difficulties. Instead, it is argued that novel, and possibly unorthodox, approaches to regulation and policy design premised on systems thinking methodologies may represent attractive and alternative ways forward. As a means of testing this general hypothesis, the article considers Interactive Planning, a systems thinking methodology popularized by the organizational theorist Russel Ackoff, as a particular embryonic example of one such methodological approach, and, using the challenges posed by big data to the principle of purpose limitation as a case study, explores whether its usage may be beneficial in the development of data protection law and policy in the big data environment.


Henry Pearce
University of Hertfordshire, Lecturer in law, e-mail: h.pearce@herts.ac.uk.

Liliana Popa
Essex University