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Article

EU Corporate Governance

The Ongoing Challenges of the ‘Institutional Investor Activism’ Conundrum

Journal European Journal of Law Reform, Issue 4 2014
Keywords EU corporate governance, institutional investors, stewardship, shareholders, asset managers
Authors Konstantinos Sergakis
AbstractAuthor's information

    Institutional investor activism seems to be the ultimate means for steady improvement in corporate governance standards, as well as a powerful tool for refocusing short-term strategies towards more sustainable and viable business projects. Although EU institutions have endeavoured over the past decade to facilitate the exercise of a wide range of shareholder rights, the impact of such regulatory initiatives remains to be seen. This paper challenges the current EU regulatory approach by supporting the idea that, while it has touched upon important topics, such as companies or financial intermediaries, hoping that the investor community will make full use of its discretion and evaluation of these actors, it has avoided resolving another crucial issue, namely, that of investor behaviour. In fact, institutional investors have been partially accused of apathy and contributing indirectly to the EU capital markets crisis. EU law thus needs to find new ways to nurture and maintain an effective willingness to engage in long-term dialogue with companies. It is therefore crucial to reassess all EU initiatives and critically challenge their efficiency in order to propose a way forward to unblock institutional investor activism and establish a veritable alignment of objectives with corporate managers.


Konstantinos Sergakis
Lecturer in Law, University of Bristol. The author is very grateful to Professor Charlotte Villiers for her valuable comments at the early stages of this article. The usual disclaimer applies.
Article

Living in the Past

The Critics of Plain Language

Journal European Journal of Law Reform, Issue 3 2014
Keywords plain language, legal drafting, legislation, professional responsibility, legalese
Authors Derwent Coshott
AbstractAuthor's information

    This article addresses three core complaints that are frequently levelled by critics of plain legal language: (1) It will reduce reliance on lawyers; (2) It is uncertain and will lead to greater litigation; and (3) Legal writing is, and should only be, for a legally trained audience. The article develops a definition of plain language that reflects a more contemporary understanding. It demonstrates that the three core criticisms misrepresent this understanding and are unsustainable with regard to lawyers’ duty to clients, the role of legislation as public documents, and modern commercial realities.


Derwent Coshott
BA (Dist) (UNSW) JD (Syd) GradDipLegalPrac (ColLaw) LLM (Syd). PhD Candidate and Casual Lecturer at the University of Sydney.
Article

Legislative Drafting in Plain Urdu Language for the Islamic Republic of Pakistan

A Question of Complex Intricacies

Journal European Journal of Law Reform, Issue 3 2014
Keywords Urdu, Pakistan, multilingual jurisdictions, legislative drafting, plain language movement
Authors Mazhar Ilahi
AbstractAuthor's information

    The plain language movement (PLM) for the writing of laws calls for improving legislative clarity by drafting the laws in a clear, simple, and precise manner. However, the main purpose of this aspiration is to facilitate the ordinary legislative audience to understand the laws with the least effort. In this respect, turning the pages of recent history reveals that this movement for plain language statutes has mostly been debated and analysed in the context of English as a language of the legislative text. However, in some parts of the multilingual world like India and Pakistan, English is not understood by the ordinary population at a very large scale but is still used as a language of the legislative text. This disparity owes its genesis to different country-specific ethnolingual and political issues. In this context but without going into the details of these ethnolingual and political elements, this article aims to analyse the prospects of plain Urdu legislative language in the Islamic Republic of Pakistan by by analyzing (1) the possibility of producing a plain language version of the legislative text in Urdu and (2) the potential benefit that the ordinary people of Pakistan can get from such plain statutes in terms of the themes of the PLM. In answering these questions, the author concludes that neither (at present) is it possible to produce plain Urdu versions of the statute book in Pakistan nor is the population of Pakistan likely to avail any current advantage from the plain Urdu statutes and further that, for now, it is more appropriate to continue with the colonial heritage of English as the language of the legislative text.


Mazhar Ilahi
The author is Solicitor in England and Wales and currently an Associate Research Fellow as well as Director of the Legislative Drafting Clinic at the Institute of Advanced Legal Studies, School of Advanced Study, University of London. Previously, he has worked as a Civil Judge/Judicial Magistrate and practised as Advocate of High Courts in Pakistan. He is also a country (Pakistan) representative of ‘Clarity’, an international association promoting plain legal language.
Article

“What Does He Think This Is? The Court of Human Rights or the United Nations?”

(Plain) Language in the Written Memories of Arbitral Proceedings: A Cross-Cultural Case Study

Journal European Journal of Law Reform, Issue 3 2014
Keywords arbitration, legal language, plain language, specialised discourse, corpus linguistics
Authors Stefania Maria Maci
AbstractAuthor's information

    Arbitration as an alternative dispute resolution (ADR) is an extra-judicial process resolved privately outside an ordinary court of justice. As such, the award has the same legal effects as a judgment pronounced by a court judge. Arbitration can be preceded by a pre-trial process in which arbitrators try to reach a conciliation agreement between the parties. If an agreement is not reached, the arbitration process begins with the gathering of the parties’ memories. In both oral and written evidence, language is used argumentatively, and above all persuasively, by all sides or parties involved.
    Extensive studies in arbitration have been carried out from the viewpoint of law. From an applied linguistics angle, the study of interaction in legal contexts has recently been carried out with particular regard to witness testimony and cross-examination in international commercial arbitration within the processes of arbitral hearings and the writing of minutes.
    To the best of my knowledge, to date there has never been an investigation on plain language in arbitral memories across national and professional cultures. Therefore, by carrying out a comparative analysis of the written evidence presented in two arbitral processes, this paper tries to evaluate the degree of influence that different legal cultures may exert on the type of language used in written arbitration evidence. The main objective is to offer insights into some instances of arbitration proceedings and their development within their British and Italian contexts.


Stefania Maria Maci
Stefania M. Maci is Aggregate Professor of English Language and Translation at the University of Bergamo, where she teaches English linguistic courses at graduate and undergraduate level. She is member of CERLIS (Research Centre on Specialized Languages), CLAVIER (The Corpus and Language Variation in English Research Group), BAAL (British Association of Applied Linguistics), and AIA (Associazione Italiana di Anglistica).
Article

Shifting from Financial Jargon to Plain Language

Advantages and Problems in the European Retail Financial Market

Journal European Journal of Law Reform, Issue 3 2014
Keywords financial markets, financial information, PRIPs/KIIDs, financial jargon, plain language
Authors Francesco De Pascalis
AbstractAuthor's information

    The purpose of this paper is to discuss the European regulatory efforts to guarantee investors a proper understanding of the characteristics of the products being offered in the retail financial market. In particular, the analysis emphasises the proposal to introduce plain language as a mandatory requirement for drafting pre-contractual documents relating to retail financial products.
    The 2007-2009 financial crisis brought to attention the importance of providing investors with more information on financial products to help them make informed investment decisions. However, more disclosure alone is not enough. The quantity and quality of information to be disclosed must go hand in hand with the way the information is communicated.
    Plain language is seen as an adequate tool to make information more transparent and understandable to the average investor. However, to make plain language a valuable instrument, it is necessary to enhance the ability of those who have the responsibility to apply it, that is, the financial products’ issuers and distributors.
    This aspect deserves proper consideration; otherwise, the benefit of plain language will remain on paper.


Francesco De Pascalis
The author obtained an LLM degree in Banking and Finance Law at Queen Mary University of London in October 2010 and is admitted as a barrister to the Verona Bar Society. Currently, he is doctoral candidate at the Institute of Advanced Legal Studies, University of London.
Article

Plain, Clear, and Something More?

Criteria for Communication in Legal Language

Journal European Journal of Law Reform, Issue 3 2014
Keywords plain language, legislative drafting, definition, mediation, ignorance of the law
Authors Derek Roebuck
AbstractAuthor's information

    Legislation may be presumed to be intended to transmit a message to those whose conduct it aims to affect. That message achieves its purpose only insofar as it is intelligible to its recipients. Drafters should make every effort to use plain language, but not all meaning can be transferred in plain language. The true criterion is clarity.
    ‘Mediation’ and ‘conciliation’ are examples of definitions created by legislators which do not correspond with categories in practice. Historical research illuminates cultural differences which affect transmission of meaning. Recent practice also illustrates the possibilities of creative methods for resolving disputes and the dangers of unnecessary prescription.
    Imprecise thinking of legislators precludes transmission of precise meaning, as does preference for word-for-word translation. ‘Highest Common Factor’ language is no substitute for natural target language.
    No efforts of legislators or translators can prevail against political power. ‘Ignorance of the law is no excuse’ overrides the imperative to transfer meaning.
    If research is to be effective, it must be not only comparative but interdisciplinary.


Derek Roebuck
Professor Derek Roebuck, Senior Associate Research Fellow, Institute of Advanced Legal Studies, University of London.
Article

Plain Language in Legal Studies

A Corpus-Based Study

Journal European Journal of Law Reform, Issue 3 2014
Keywords legal discourse, metadiscourse, epistemic modality, personalization, code glosses
Authors Michele Sala
AbstractAuthor's information

    This article investigates the influence of Plain Language in legal academic research. The Plain Language Movement (PLM) in Anglophone cultures and Common Law systems considerably affected the way legal experts and practitioners use the language in professional contexts, both in writing and in oral situations. The assumption at the basis of this investigation is that the exposure to and experience with this way of using the language in professional settings is likely to have influenced the way experts write in research-related and pedagogical contexts.
    Based on a comparison between a subcorpus of 40 research articles (RAs) written by English, American, and Australian authors and 40 RAs authored by experts working in Civil Law contexts – thus not affected (at least not so distinctively) by PLM ideology – this article seeks to establish the main differences in the two subcorpora especially at the interpersonal level of discourse and, more precisely, in the use of metadiscursive interactional strategies such as epistemic modality markers and personalization – both intended to facilitate interpretation by controlling assertiveness and lexicalizing the rhetorical figure of the author – and interactive metadiscourse markers like code glosses – which are meant to paraphrase or reformulate meaning to both simplify and bias the interpretive process.


Michele Sala
Michele Sala is a researcher in English Language and Translation at the University of Bergamo, Faculty of Foreign Languages, Literatures and Communication Studies.
Article

Making EU Legislation Clearer

Journal European Journal of Law Reform, Issue 3 2014
Keywords European Union, transparency, openness, clarity of legislation
Authors William Robinson
AbstractAuthor's information

    This article looks at the clarity of the legislation of the European Union (EU), in particular the clarity of the language used. It sketches out the basic EU rules on transparency and openness, past expressions of concern for clearer EU legislation, and the response of the institutions. Finally, it considers briefly some ways to make EU legislation clearer.


William Robinson
Associate Research Fellow at the Institute of Advanced Legal Studies, University of London, formerly coordinator in the Quality of Legislation Team of the European Commission Legal Service.

Giulia Adriana Pennisi
Giulia Adriana Pennisi is a Tenured Researcher in English Language and Translation at the University of Palermo (Italy), where she teaches English linguistic courses at graduate and undergraduate level. She is an Associate Research Fellow in the Sir William Dale Centre for Legislative Studies, Institute of Advanced Legal Studies, University of London.
Article

Medically Assisted Reproduction in Egypt, Iran, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates

Sunni and Shia Legal Debates

Journal European Journal of Law Reform, Issue 2 2014
Keywords medically assisted reproduction, Islam, Middle East, family formation, law
Authors Andrea Büchler and Eveline Schneider Kayasseh
AbstractAuthor's information

    Since the mid-1980s, biotechnologies have been widely used to assist human conception around the world, and especially in the Middle East. In this article, our main focus is the United Arab Emirates (UAE), as well as Egypt, the Islamic Republic of Iran, and Saudi-Arabia. In these Muslim-majority countries, an ever rising demand for fertility treatments runs parallel to far-reaching demographic and social changes. While assisted reproductive technologies offer various methods to pursue the desire to have biological children, they do also underscore religious and cultural sensibilities about traditional male-female relationships and family formation.
    In order to outline contemporary opinions and state laws and regulations in the countries mentioned in the outset, core notions and concepts of the Islamic family that are relevant for understanding attitudes regarding reproductive medicine and that have influence on couples seeking fertility treatment are outlined. It is also shown how ethical-juridical considerations have shaped the scholarly discourse about assisted reproduction. In this context, assisted reproductive techniques that include eggs, sperm, embryos, or wombs from third parties have been particularly contentious. In fact, there remain different views among Islamic jurists and senior clerics in Shia Islam regarding ethically controversial issues such as egg and sperm donation, as well as surrogate motherhood. While the number of IVF-clinics is on the rise in all countries discussed in this article, only in the UAE are clinics operating with rather comprehensive legislative oversight.


Andrea Büchler
University of Zurich, Switzerland.

Eveline Schneider Kayasseh
University of Zurich, Switzerland.
Article

Democracy, Constitutionalism and Shariah

The Compatibility Question

Journal European Journal of Law Reform, Issue 2 2014
Authors A.T. Shehu
Abstract

    This article is a contribution and a response to the debate on the compatibility, or rather the incompatibility, of Islam and Shariah with democracy and constitutionalism. The debate has been both inter and intra; Muslims as well as non-Muslims are divided among themselves on the issue. A careful synthesis of the arguments on both sides shows fundamental problems of semantics and lack of proper appreciation of the issues involved because of divergent construction of the basic rules and normative concepts. This article identifies as a problem the tendency for cultural prejudice and intolerance to largely determine the direction of the debate and endure not only a ‘clash of civilizations’, but also, in reality, a clash of normative concepts. This article contends that Islam is more democratic in nature and that Shariah itself is a system of constitutionalism; needless to say, the objectionists have long forgotten that, in essential formulations, Shariah is the foundation of thoughts on human rights.


A.T. Shehu
Article

An Introduction to Islamic Law

Journal European Journal of Law Reform, Issue 2 2014
Keywords foundations of Islamic law, Islamic jurisprudence, Ijthad, Masaleh Mursala, Istihsan
Authors Salma Taman
Author's information

Salma Taman
LLB Alexandria University Faculty of Law (2006), LLM Indiana University School of Law – Indianapolis (2009).
Article

Protection of Intellectual Property Rights Under Islamic Law

From Tort to Special Privileges

Journal European Journal of Law Reform, Issue 2 2014
Keywords intellectual property rights, basic property rights, intellectual property privileges, monopoly rights, prohibition of harm
Authors Mahmood Bagheri, Mojtaba Nayyer and Mahdi Moalla
AbstractAuthor's information

    Knowledge and innovation, which are the basis of intellectual property rights, are public goods leading to some kind of market failure in terms of positive externalities. Such a market failure undermines the motivation for production of knowledge and innovation, which in turn would be a social loss and distributive injustice. Therefore, there has to be a response beyond the mere respect for basic property rights under Islamic law according to the Rule of Prohibition of Harm to others. The general application of such a rule and within the private law paradigm confers merely normal protection to intellectual property rights, like any other property rights, which is too little too late. However, affording the extra protection and special privileges to the owner of such rights as a mechanism to compensate the market and private law failure requires a different interpretation of this rule. This article suggests that ownership rights in knowledge and innovation could benefit from this rule at two levels: a general level of basic rights and a special level of privileges based on a social trade-off and distributive justice to avert a social loss. As such, Islamic law is capable of offering such special privileges to the owner of intellectual property rights who is willing to make a deal with society for improved but limited property rights.


Mahmood Bagheri
Mahmood Bagheri is Associate Professor of Law at the Faculty of Law and Political Science, University of Tehran, and Senior Research Fellow at the Institute of Advanced Legal Studies, University of London

Mojtaba Nayyer
Mojtaba Nayyer is LLM in Intellectual Property Law at the Faculty of Law and Political Science, University of Tehran

Mahdi Moalla
Mahdi Moalla is PhD Candidate in Private Law at the Research Institute for Islamic Culture and Thought, Qom, Iran.
Article

Islamic Policy of Environmental Conservation

1,500 Years Old – Yet Thoroughly Modern

Journal European Journal of Law Reform, Issue 2 2014
Keywords environment, waqf (endowment), khalifa (steward), God's equilibrium, Arab Spring
Authors Mohamed A. ‘Arafa
AbstractAuthor's information

    Any legal system plays a significant role in the principle underlying its legal doctrines. The legal system works in compliance with, or as a consequence of cultural order. In other words, any legal system is restricted to a certain environment and subject to cultural impact. Culture and law operate in conjunction. Politics and economy are, among others, the main disciplines affecting that legal system including environmental laws and natural resources. The present article attempts a comparative analysis of three different legal systems and their approaches to environmental law, contributing to the extensive literature on this area of law in numerous areas of the world such as the United States, Europe, and the Middle East. However, that literature appears to have had little coverage of the treatment of environmental law in Islamic law, one of the three main global legal systems together with common and civil law. The bold spread of Islamic tendency in the Middle East that followed the so-called “Arab Spring” assures major changes in the political and economic sphere, including environmental and natural resource levels. Environmental threats are very pressing all over the world, as the Earth needs to be protected through the adoption of universally applicable legal rules and the right to a healthy environment needs to be elaborated on in international instruments. It is very significant to understand Islam's overall view of the universe to comprehend the gap between Islamic theories and practices in Muslim countries. The universe is full of diversified creatures that aim to fulfill man's needs and prove God's greatness. The Qur'an states: “Have you not seen that God is glorified by all in the heavens and on earth, such as birds with wings outspread? Each knows its worship and glorification, and God is aware of what they do.”All creatures in the universe perform two specific roles: a religious role of evidencing God's perfection and presence and a social role of serving man and other creatures. The final outcome is the solidarity of the universe and the realization of its common good (benefit).
    Man's position in the universe is premised on two principles: the stewardship of man which means that man is not only a creature but also God's khalifa (steward) on earth; God is the only proprietor of earth; and man is a mere beneficiary, and man can exploit nature for his/her and other creatures’ benefit without depleting it and the principle of trust that all natural resources created by God are placed as a trust in man's hand and needs of coming generations must be taken into consideration by man. Islamic environmental law uses a “duty paradigm” in the sphere of the right to healthy environment, as human beings must not destroy, deplete, or unwisely use natural resources but have an obligation to develop and enhance natural resources. Any disturbance of God's equilibrium in the universe is a transgression and athm (sin) against the divine system. Last but by no means least, Islamic law regards man as a creature with elevated status. In Islamic environmental law, the human is not the owner of nature, but a mere beneficiary. Islamic environmental safety is based upon the principle of “use” without “abuse”. Environmental protection under the Islamic legal scheme does not differ from any modern environmental legal system.


Mohamed A. ‘Arafa
Adjunct Professor of Islamic Law at Indiana University Robert H. McKinney School of Law (USA); Assistant Professor of Criminal Law and Criminal Justice at Alexandria University Faculty of Law (Egypt). SJD, Indiana University Robert H. McKinney School of Law (2013); LLM, University of Connecticut School of Law (2008); LLB, Alexandria University Faculty of Law (2006). Dr. ‘Arafa is a Visiting Professor of Business Law at the Arab Academy for Science, Technology, and Maritime Transport (‘College of Business Management’). Moreover, Professor ‘Arafa is a Domestic Public Mediator under Alternative Dispute Resolution, Indiana Rule ADR 25 (2012) and served as an Associate Trainee Attorney and Executive Attorney Assistant at ‘Arafa Law Firm (2007). Of course, all errors remain the author's.
Article

The Place of Shariah among the Legal Systems of the World

Journal European Journal of Law Reform, Issue 2 2014
Keywords Ijtihad, harmonise, Al-husn wal qubh, Islamic law, Hadith
Authors Issam Saliba
AbstractAuthor's information

    Islamic law has been classified during the International Congress on Comparative Law held in Paris in 1900 as a great original legal system. The basic foundation of Islamic law rests on a moral concept of right and wrong as found in the Koran, the Holy Book of Islam and the traditions of the Prophet Mohammed. Muslim scholars formulated the legal rules and organized into a number of schools of Islamic legal thought. The plurality of opinion among and within these schools attest to the flexibility built into the structure of Islamic law. Later generations of Muslim scholars and intellectual leaders often failed to reach the spirit of the law and to build upon its accomplishments.


Issam Saliba
Lebanese Attorney serving as Foreign Law Specialist at the Law Library of the United States Congress, Washington, DC.
Article

Human Rights in Islamic Law, Specifically the Guarantee of Procedural Justice

Journal European Journal of Law Reform, Issue 2 2014
Keywords Islamic law, procedural justice, human rights, rules of evidence, Cairo Declaration of Human Rights
Authors Mohamed Y. Mattar
AbstractAuthor's information

    International law guarantees several fundamental principles of procedural justice, such as presumption of innocence, the right against self-incrimination, the right to be tried without undue delay, the right to examine witnesses, and the right to legal assistance. In this article I examine whether Islamic law guarantees similar procedural protections and demonstrate how Islamic law provides for basic human rights as well as general principles that may serve as guidelines in procedural justice. These include the principle of non-retroactivity, the principle of personal accountability, the principle of no crime or punishment without law, the right to be presumed innocent until proven guilty, and the right to defence. The article also identifies rules of evidence provided by Islamic law which are designed to protect the accused.


Mohamed Y. Mattar
Mohamed Y. Mattar is a Senior Research Professor of International Law and the Executive Director of The Protection Project at The Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS).
Article

The Manifestation of Religious Belief Through Dress

Human Rights and Constitutional Issues

Journal European Journal of Law Reform, Issue 2 2014
Keywords religion, religious freedom, burqa, hijab, Muslim
Authors Anthony Gray
AbstractAuthor's information

    Jurisdictions around the world continue to grapple with the clash between religious freedoms and other freedoms and values to which a society subscribes. A recent, and current, debate concerns the extent to which a person is free to wear items of clothing often thought to be symbolic of the Muslim faith, though the issues are not confined to any particular religion. Bans on the wearing of this type of clothing have often (surprisingly) survived human rights challenges, on the basis that governments had legitimate objectives in banning or restricting them. A pending case gives the European Court another chance to reconsider the issues. It is hoped that the Court will closely scrutinise claims of legitimate objectives for such laws; perceptions can arise that sometimes, governments are pandering to racism, intolerance and xenophobia with such measures, rather than seeking to meet more high-minded objectives.


Anthony Gray
Professor of Law, University of Southern Queensland, Australia.
Article

Women's Rights in the Islamic Perspective

Journal European Journal of Law Reform, Issue 2 2014
Keywords Sharey'ah, Alquamah, Qur'an, Nafaqa, ma'aroofe
Authors Omar Alsunaid and Bashar Almofadda
AbstractAuthor's information

    Women in Sharey'ah play an essential role in the Muslim community. In the relationship among men and women, Sharey'ah adopted the theories of integration and justice rather than theories of competition and equality. This leads Sharey'ah to distribute human rights between men and women depending on their nature and personal need. However, many stereotypes and misapprehensions concerning women's rights in Sharey'ah have appeared owing to a lack of understanding of the objectives of Sharey'ah's rules. This article demonstrates women's rights and the Sharey'ah's objectives behind these rights, including Alquamah, political participation, marriage and inheritance. The article then goes on to explain why there is a variation between women's rights in Sharey'ah and the reality of some Muslim communities.


Omar Alsunaid
Omar Alsunaid is a Doctor of Juridical Science candidate at the Indiana University Robert H. McKinney School of Law.

Bashar Almofadda
Bashar Almofadda is an SJD candidate at the Indiana University Robert H. McKinney School of Law, United States and Lecturer at The Higher Judicial Institute Imam Mohammed Bin Saud Islamic University, Saudi Arabia.
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