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Article

The EU Approach to Consumer ODR

Journal International Journal of Online Dispute Resolution, Issue 2 2019
Keywords consumer alternative/online dispute resolution, European Union, ODR Regulation 524/2013, ADR Directive 2013/11, ODR platform
Authors Emma van Gelder
AbstractAuthor's information

    The EU internal market has undergone several developments in the past decades. One of the main developments is the inclusion of a digital dimension. One of the fields in which these developments are very evident is the consumer market. A further development of e-commerce is however hindered because there are no suitable redress mechanisms for consumers involved in low-value, high volume claims typically arising from e-commerce transactions. In response to the ills of existing redress mechanisms, an emerging trend of consumer alternative dispute resolution (ADR) and consumer online dispute resolution (ODR) schemes has been identified throughout the Member States (MS) aimed to offer consumers a swift, cheap and simple procedure through which they can enforce their rightsThis paper outlines the EU approach to Consumer ADR/ODR, gives some observations of the functioning of the legislation in practice and concludes with some thoughts for the future.


Emma van Gelder
PhD Candidate Erasmus University, Rotterdam.
Article

ODR as a Public Service

The Access to Justice-Driven Canadian Experience

Journal International Journal of Online Dispute Resolution, Issue 2 2019
Keywords ODR, access to justice, courts, legal process, sense of fairness
Authors Nicolas Vermeys and Jean-François Roberge
AbstractAuthor's information

    Canadian courts and tribunals are successfully incorporating online dispute resolution (ODR) mechanisms into their processes in order to offer user-centric dispute resolution systems aimed at increasing access to justice. Although they use different approaches, three such examples, British Columbia’s Civil Resolution Tribunal, Ontario’s Condominium Authority Tribunal, and Quebec’s PARLe-OPC platform, have all demonstrated how public ODR can increase litigants’ sense of justice while respecting basic legal tenets. This article serves as a short introduction to this user-centric Canadian approach.


Nicolas Vermeys
Nicolas Vermeys is the Associate Dean of Programs at the Université de Montréal’s Faculty of law, the Associate director of the Cyberjustice Laboratory, and a Researcher at the Centre de recherche en droit public (CRDP).

Jean-François Roberge
Jean-François Roberge is a Professor and the Director of the Dispute Prevention and Resolution programmes at the Université de Sherbrooke Faculty of law.
Article

Readiness for Family and Online Dispute Resolution

Journal International Journal of Online Dispute Resolution, Issue 2 2019
Keywords online dispute resolution, family dispute resolution, domestic violence, ripeness and readiness, divorce
Authors Nussen Ainsworth, Lisa Zeleznikow and John Zeleznikow
AbstractAuthor's information

    The International Conflict Resolution Community has developed considerable theory and many case studies about ripeness and readiness for mediation. Readiness involves a readiness of the disputant to resolve the conflict, while ripeness indicates the time is appropriate to attempt a resolution. There is a sparse amount of theory about these issues in commercial and family dispute resolution (FDR). We discuss the practice of readiness for mediation, FDR and online dispute resolution and develop practices about when to mediate such disputes – especially when domestic violence has occurred.


Nussen Ainsworth
Nussen Ainsworth, Victoria University, Melbourne, Australia – nussen.ainsworth@vu.edu.au.

Lisa Zeleznikow
Lisa Zeleznikow, Jewish Mediation Centre, Melbourne, Australia – lisa@jmc.org.au.

John Zeleznikow
John Zeleznikow, Victoria University, Melbourne, Australia – john.zeleznikow@vu.edu.au.

    The UN General Assembly established the International Law Commission (“ILC”) in 1947 to assist States with the promotion of 1) the progressive development of international law and 2) its codification. The ILC’s first assignment from the General Assembly was to formulate the Nuremberg Principles, which affirmed the then radical idea that individuals can be held liable for certain international crimes at the international level. Since then, the ILC has played a seminal role in the development of modern international criminal law. In 2017, the ILC adopted on first reading a draft convention aimed at the prevention and punishment of crimes against humanity which it transmitted to States for comments. The draft treaty will help fill the present gap in the law of international crimes since States criminalized genocide in 1948 and war crimes in 1949, but missed the opportunity to do so for crimes against humanity. This Article examines the first reading text using the lens of the ILC’s two-pronged mandate. Part II explains how the ILC can take up new topics and the main reasons why it decided to propose a new crimes against humanity convention. Part III discusses positive features of the draft convention, highlighting key aspects of each of the Draft Articles. Part IV critiques the ILC draft treaty focusing on inconsistencies in the use of the ICC definition of the crime, immunities, amnesties, and the lack of a proposal on a treaty monitoring mechanism. The final part draws tentative conclusions. The author argues that, notwithstanding the formal distinction drawn by the ILC Statute between progressive development, on the one hand, and codification, on the other hand, the ILC’s approach to the crimes against humanity topic follows a well settled methodology of proposing draft treaties that are judged likely to be effective and broadly acceptable to States rather than focusing on which provisions reflect codification and which constitute progressive development of the law. It is submitted that, if the General Assembly takes forward the ILC’s draft text to conclude a new crimes against humanity treaty after the second reading, this will make a significant contribution to the development of modern international criminal law.


Charles C. Jalloh B.A. LL.B Ph.D
Professor of Law, Florida International University and Member, International Law Commission.
Article

Access_open Mercosur: Limits of Regional Integration

Journal Erasmus Law Review, Issue 3 2019
Keywords Mercosur, European Union, regionalism, integration, international organisation
Authors Ricardo Caichiolo
AbstractAuthor's information

    This study is focused on the evaluation of successes and failures of the Common Market of the South (Mercosur). This analysis of Mercosur’s integration seeks to identify the reasons why the bloc has stagnated in an incomplete customs union condition, although it was originally created to achieve a common market status. To understand the evolution of Mercosur, the study offers some thoughts about the role of the European Union (EU) as a model for regional integration. Although an EU-style integration has served as a model, it does not necessarily set the standards by which integration can be measured as we analyse other integration efforts. However, the case of Mercosur is emblematic: during its initial years, Mercosur specifically received EU technical assistance to promote integration according to EU-style integration. Its main original goal was to become a common market, but so far, almost thirty years after its creation, it remains an imperfect customs union.
    The article demonstrates the extent to which almost thirty years of integration in South America could be considered a failure, which would be one more in a list of previous attempts of integration in Latin America, since the 1960s. Whether it is a failure or not, it is impossible to envisage EU-style economic and political integration in South America in the foreseeable future. So far, member states, including Brazil, which could supposedly become the engine of economic and political integration in South America, have remained sceptical about the possibility of integrating further politically and economically. As member states suffer political and economic turmoil, they have concentrated on domestic recovery before being able to dedicate sufficient time and energy to being at the forefront of integration.


Ricardo Caichiolo
Ricardo Caichiolo, PhD (Université catholique de Louvain, Belgium) is legal and legislative adviser to the Brazilian Senate and professor and coordinator of the post graduate programs on Public Policy, Government Relations and Law at Ibmec (Instituto Brasileiro de Mercado de Capitais, Brazil).
Article

Certain Factors Influencing Compliance with International Humanitarian Law

Journal Hungarian Yearbook of International Law and European Law, Issue 1 2019
Keywords implementation of international humanitarian law, compliance measures and mechanisms, enforcement of international humanitarian law, non-state actors, individual criminal responsibility
Authors Réka Varga
AbstractAuthor's information

    There are various mechanisms within and outside the sphere of international humanitarian law (IHL) which contribute to a better application, respect and enforcement of its rules. The present study takes stock of specific factors or mechanisms that may have an effect on better respect. This analysis attempts to demonstrate that even though states could not agree on the setting up of a permanent mechanism to meet regularly and discuss IHLrelated issues (the so-called Compliance process), there are certain instruments which could lead to similar result. The UN’s role with respect to IHL is examined. The International Criminal Court (ICC) is also briefly analyzed from this perspective, bearing in mind the international politics within which it has to function. The International Humanitarian Fact-Finding Commission (IHFFC) that has successfully completed its first mandate is a string of hope if more frequently used. Soft law documents are filling a void caused by the fatigue of states in adopting new rules, at the same time they start to have a similarly binding effect as legally binding obligations. All these factors become especially interesting if we understand that most conflicts today are fought with the involvement of non-state armed groups who are not involved in law-making. This reality gives training, both within state and non-state armed forces a special significance. States should also make efforts to undertake enquiries in cases of serious violations of IHL, as well as through exercising jurisdiction to repress violations, be they their own nationals or not.


Réka Varga
Associate professor, Pázmány Péter Catholic University, Budapest; Member of the International Humanitarian Fact-Finding Commission.

Tamás Török
PhD candidate, University of Pécs.
Article

The European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages

Specific Features and Problems of Application

Journal Hungarian Yearbook of International Law and European Law, Issue 1 2019
Keywords European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages, protection of minority languages, protection of regional languages, supervisory regime
Authors Gábor Kardos
AbstractAuthor's information

    As was the case after the Great War, World War II was followed by the setting up of international legal regimes to protect national (national, ethnic, linguistic, and religious) minorities in Europe. The emerging ideas of universalism and European unity were to prevent the aftermath of World War I, a conflict which erupted as a result of Western focusing the system of European minority protection on Central and Eastern Europe. The European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages protects minority languages, without granting minority rights. It provides an á la Carte system of obligations, with a supervisory system hinged on government reports. The Charter was intended to be a ‘high politics’ treaty. Nevertheless, with the protection of the minority linguistic heritage and the indirect provision of minority linguistic rights, it meant a first step towards bringing an end to the 19th century processes linguistic homogenization of the budding nationstates. As such, its implementation is highly political. The minority languages protected by the Charter are strongly varied in nature. If we add this factor to the á la Carte system of obligations, the sheer complexity of the system prevents evaluations of the Committee of Experts from being as consistent as they should be. An important contribution of the soft supervisory mechanism is that it at least puts some problematic issues on the agenda, however, experience has shown that the transposition of treaty obligations into national law is always a simpler task than creating the substantive conditions for the actual use of minority languages.


Gábor Kardos
Professor of law, ELTE Law School, Budapest; Member of the Committee of Experts of the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages.
Article

The Rights of the Victim in Hungarian Criminal Proceedings

Journal Hungarian Yearbook of International Law and European Law, Issue 1 2019
Keywords rights of victims, code of criminal procedure in Hungary, victims in criminal procedure, Directive 2012/29/EU, rights of vulnerable persons
Authors Anna Kiss
AbstractAuthor's information

    In the course of the development of criminal law victims lost their former leading role in the procedure and were pushed to the periphery of justice. Legal experts have come to realize that this tendency is tremendously unfair to the victim. European documents on the legal position of the victims increasingly called the attention of the legislature to the need of bringing about changes. In Hungary, the relevant new law was passed in June 2017. The Code came into effect in July 2018 and confirmed the victim’s procedural position. Since July, there are three groups of victims’ rights in Hungarian Criminal Proceedings: provision of information and support; participation in criminal proceedings; protection of victims and recognition of victims in need of special protection. In addition to describing the rights, the study also draws attention to the fact in light of the principle that all rights are worth upholding it is not enough to regulate the rights of victims. The study also warns that although the rights of victims are important, we should not forget the guarantees concerning suspects’ rights, which must also be ensured.


Anna Kiss
Senior research fellow, National Institute of Criminology, Budapest.

Petra Lea Láncos
Researcher, Deutsches Forschungsinstitut für öffentliche Verwaltung, Speyer; associate professor, Pázmány Péter Catholic University, Budapest.
Article

Conference on the Evaluation of Legislation

Report on the ‘Evaluation of Legislation’ Conference Organized by Pázmány Péter Catholic University, 3 May 2019, Budapest

Journal Hungarian Yearbook of International Law and European Law, Issue 1 2019
Authors Noémi Suri
Author's information

Noémi Suri
Assistant professor, Pázmány Péter Catholic University, Budapest.
Article

A Multipolar System for the Protection of Fundamental Rights in Practice

Unjustified Dismissals of Government Officials in Hungary

Journal Hungarian Yearbook of International Law and European Law, Issue 1 2019
Keywords Constitutional Court of Hungary, Multilevel constitutionalism, right to an effective remedy, unjustified dismissal of government officials, European protection of fundamental rights
Authors Zsuzsanna Szabó
AbstractAuthor's information

    Today, within the European multi-level and cooperative constitutional area the ECHR, the constitutional values enshrined in the EU Treaties together with the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights, as well as the constitutions of the EU Member States function as parallel constitutions. The legal remedies offered by international forums are subsidiary by nature, since it is desirable that legal issues of human rights be solved by the states at national level. The obligation to exhaust domestic legal remedies as a procedural precondition is necessary to afford the national level the opportunity to remedy the violation of human rights within its own legal system. This paper focuses on Section 8(1) of Act LVIII of 2010 on the legal status of government officials, which states that the employer has the right to terminate the contract of government officials with a two months’ notice period without justification. This research is of considerable interest because the dismissed officials – who, in my opinion, de facto suffered injury for the violation of their human rights – were forced to turn to international fora due to the fact that the Hungarian legal system was unable to grant them proper relief. Therefore, the analysis also evaluates the current level of fundamental rights adjudication and jurisprudence related to fundamental principles in Hungary.


Zsuzsanna Szabó
Assistant lecturer, University of Debrecen.
Article

Defining the Role of the Aarhus Convention as Part of National, International and EU Law

Conclusions of a Case-Law Analysis

Journal Hungarian Yearbook of International Law and European Law, Issue 1 2019
Keywords Aarhus Convention, principle of public participation, protection of the environment, environmental issues before national (constitutional) courts, direct applicability
Authors Ágnes Váradi
AbstractAuthor's information

    As a basic point of reference in international law the Aarhus Convention has a considerable impact on the framework of public participation in environmental matters. The fact that the Convention forms part of national legal orders of EU Member States both as part of international and EU law, the proper enforcement of its provisions makes it inevitable to draw up certain principles of interpretation. The current paper aims to analyze how the Aarhus Convention appears at the level of legal argumentation in the case-law of the CJEU and selected national constitutional courts or high courts of EU Member States, namely, Germany, France and Hungary. Those decisions are examined that refer directly and explicitly to the Aarhus Convention. The case-law analysis is completed by the reference to the relevant secondary literature. The findings can provide a synthesis about the role of the Aarhus Convention, thematic milestones can be drawn up concerning the interpretation of the obligations stemming from the Convention and they can give useful insights into the relationship of national laws, EU law and international law. Meanwhile, they contribute to the analysis of the role of civil participation in the protection of the environment. This way, the conclusions can support the emergence of a (more) general approach in EU Member States as far as public participation in environmental matters is concerned.


Ágnes Váradi
Research fellow, Hungarian Academy of Sciences, Centre for Social Sciences, Institute for Legal Studies.

    Géza Herczegh was a Hungarian academic, justice of the Hungarian Constitutional Court and judge of the International Court of Justice (ICJ). In this paper, which commemorates the 90th anniversary of Géza Herczegh’s birth, his successor at the ICJ, Judge Peter Tomka, offers his reflections on Herczegh’s time at the Court. While they had only limited interaction, Judge Tomka recalls his encounters with Herczegh, both before and after Herczegh’s election to the ICJ. Additionally, Judge Tomka reviews Herczegh’s legacy at the ICJ, considering both the occasions when Herczegh wrote separately from the Court and his reputation amongst people familiar with the ICJ as a dedicated and open-minded judge interested in finding areas of consensus.


Peter Tomka
Member of the ICJ since 6 February 2003 (re-elected as from 6 February 2012), Vice-President of the ICJ from 6 February 2009 until 5 February 2012; President of the ICJ from 6 February 2012 until 5 February 2015.
Article

The Case of the Hungarian Constitutional Court with Environmental Principles

From Non-Derogation to the Precautionary Approach

Journal Hungarian Yearbook of International Law and European Law, Issue 1 2019
Keywords Constitutional Court of Hungary, environmental issues, non-derogation principle, precautionary principle, Article P of the Fundamental Law of Hungary, right to a healthy environment
Authors Gyula Bándi
AbstractAuthor's information

    Principles influence legislation, implementation and enforcement of the law to a great extent. This is especially the case with those fields of law, which are relatively new and subject to constant changes, such as environmental law. Principles have legal value, among others to fill legal gaps or to assist proper interpretation. It is always expedient to have a high-level judicial forum for legal interpretation at national level this would be a constitutional court or a supreme court. Legal interpretation can be particularly tricky when principles are combined with human rights. Constitutional courts, such as the Hungarian Constitutional Court are the preferred choice for such legal interpretation, since human rights are normally enshrined in the constitutions. In Hungary both the previous (1989) Constitution and the currently effective Fundamental Law of 2011 contain express and rather similar provisions regarding the right to environment, the content of which need clarification. Beside this similarity, the Fundamental Law has several other additional provisions supporting interpretation in the interests of the environment. This paper only presents – as examples of necessary interpretation – two principles to illustrate what the right to environment actually means. These are the non-regression (non-derogation) and the precautionary principles, which will be described both in general and in light of their current Hungarian interpretation. Non-regression (non-derogation) basically represents a decent minimum that should not be contravened, while precautionary principle is more in flux, a moving target, focusing on likely consequences, with scientific uncertainty at its core. Both principles will be introduced through the decisions of the Hungarian Constitutional Court.


Gyula Bándi
Jean Monnet professor of law, Pázmány Péter Catholic University, Budapest; Ombudsman for future generations.
Article

Towards a Conceptualization of the Notion of Solidarity in the Legal Framework of the EU

Journal Hungarian Yearbook of International Law and European Law, Issue 1 2019
Keywords Concept of solidarity, principle of solidarity in EU law, theory of EU law, solidarity as a value concept
Authors András Pünkösty
AbstractAuthor's information

    This article carries out an in-depth analysis of the complex meaning of solidarity within the EU legal framework. Solidarity is a multi-layered concept that serving as the basis for different policy-making choices of highly variable material substance, contributing significantly to the judgments of the CJEU. The point of departure in the analysis are references made to the notion of solidarity in the Founding Treaties. An important layer of its meaning derives from solidarity considered as a ‘value’. Important references are made to solidarity as a ‘principle’ or ‘spirit’ and there are additional layers of its meaning in the Treaties. In secondary legislation and the institutions’ communications, solidarity serves mainly as a basis for socially orientated policymaking. Following the analysis of the meaning of solidarity, I consider the notion of ‘solidarity acquis’ elaborated by Malcolm Ross that suggests that solidarity is one of the most effective tools in maintaining the consistency of the EU legal framework. Finally, the paper focuses on the case-law of the CJEU to conceptualize core legal implications of solidarity in order to establish whether solidarity may be recognized as a general principle of EU law.


András Pünkösty
Senior lecturer, Pázmány Péter Catholic University, Budapest.
Article

E Pluribus Unum? Racial Injustice in the US and the International Response

Journal Hungarian Yearbook of International Law and European Law, Issue 1 2019
Keywords UN human rights machinery, prohibition of discrimination, segregation in the US, racial discrimination, UN Human Rights Council
Authors Thamil Venthan Ananthavinavagan
AbstractAuthor's information

    The UN issued a scathing report in 2016 stating that “[I]n particular, the legacy of colonial history, enslavement, racial subordination and segregation, racial terrorism and racial inequality in the US remains a serious challenge.” After international slave trade, abolition of slavery, Jim Crow laws, civil rights struggle, ongoing systemic police brutality against African Americans and a prison machinery with a high prison rate with African Americans inmates the question remains: has racial discrimination ever ended in the US? The rising strength of a white supremacist movement poses another significant threat to the national cohesion of different communities in the US. Moreover, it reveals the dormant white nationalism that has awakened in light of policies and rhetoric animated and nourished by leading politicians in the country. To this end, this paper will investigate the following question: what is the impact of the colonial past on the US and how did the UN respond to this past? Finally, what will be the role of the UN to enhance the US human rights infrastructure for African Americans and ameliorate their situation in light of rising white supremacism?


Thamil Venthan Ananthavinavagan
Lecturer, Griffith College, Dublin.
Article

European Water Law and Uncertainty

Managing Hydrological Variability in Shared River Basins in the EU

Journal Hungarian Yearbook of International Law and European Law, Issue 1 2019
Keywords hydrological variability, transboundary water governance, EU water law, shared river basins, variability management
Authors Gábor Baranyai
AbstractAuthor's information

    Hydrological variability has been on the rise in the past decades with dramatic consequences for water management on the national and international plane alike. Yet, most legal regimes governing the use and protection of water resources reflect a high degree of rigidity presuming that hydrological conditions prevailing at the time of their conception remain stable indefinitely. The mismatch between rigid legal frameworks and rapidly changing natural conditions are likely to give rise to new types of interstate conflicts in shared river basins (or accentuate existing ones), since historically the adoption of (new) transboundary governance regimes has been very slow and reactive in character. While the EU has been praised worldwide as an exemplary model of co-riparian cooperation, its multi-layered water governance regime also deserves a comprehensive fitness check that, among others, should evaluate its ability to handle the growing uncertainty surrounding underlying hydrological circumstances. This article provides a resilience assessment of European water law from the perspective of the management of hydrological variability.


Gábor Baranyai
Senior lecturer, National University of Public Service, Budapest.
Article

Access_open Levying VAT in the EU Customs Union: Towards a Single Indirect Tax Area? The Ordeal of Indirect Tax Harmonisation

Journal Erasmus Law Review, Issue 3 2019
Keywords single indirect tax area, VAT action plan, quick fixes, e-commerce package, definitive VAT system
Authors Ben Terra
AbstractAuthor's information

    This contribution deals with the latest proposals regarding levying VAT in the European Union (EU) Customs Union. The present system, which has been in place since 1993 and was supposed to be transitional, splits every cross-border transaction into an exempted cross-border supply and a taxable cross-border acquisition. It is like a customs system, but lacks equivalent controls and is therefore the root of cross-border fraud. After many years of unsuccessful attempts, the Commission abandoned the objective of implementing definitive VAT arrangements based on the principle of taxing all cross-border supplies of goods in the Member State of their origin, under the same conditions that apply to domestic trade including VAT rates. The European Parliament and the Council agreed that the definitive system should be based on the principle of taxation in the Member State of the destination of the goods. After a brief discussion of the VAT Action Plan of 2016 (Section 1), the e-commerce package in the form of Directive (EU) 2017/2455 is dealt with (Section 2), followed by the proposal to harmonise and simplify certain rules in the VAT system and introduce the definitive system, only partially adopted (Section 3). Section 4 deals with the proposal to introduce detailed measures of the definitive VAT system. The proposed harmonisation and simplification of certain rules were meant to become applicable on 1 January 2019, but will become only partially applicable on 2020. It is proposed to make the detailed measures of the definitive VAT system applicable in 2022. It remains to be seen whether the Member States are willing to accept the definitive VAT system at all; hence the subtitle ‘the ordeal of indirect tax harmonisation’.


Ben Terra
Prof. Dr. Dr. h.c. Ben Terra was a professor of tax law at the universities of Amsterdam and Lund and visiting professor at the Universidade Católica in Lisbon.
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