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Article

Legislative Techniques in Rwanda

Present and Future

Journal European Journal of Law Reform, Issue 3 2013
Keywords legislative drafting, law-making, drafting techniques, Rwanda, quality of legislation
Authors Helen Xanthaki
AbstractAuthor's information

    This report is the result of the collective work of 26 Rwandan civil servants from a number of ministries, who set out to offer the Ministry of Justice a report on legislative drafting in Rwanda. The work was undertaken under the umbrella of the Diploma in Legislative Drafting offered by the Institute for Legal Professional Development (ILPD) in Nyanza under the rectorship of Prof. Nick Johnson. The authors have used their experience of practising drafting in Rwanda, but have contributed to the report in their personal capacity: their views are personal and do not reflect those of the Government of Rwanda.
    My only contribution was the identification of topics, which follows the well-established structure of manuals and textbooks in drafting; the division of the report into two parts: Part 1 on the legislative process and Part 2 on drafting techniques; and the methodology of each individual entry to our report: what is current Rwandan practice, what are international standards, what is the future of Rwanda, and a short bibliography to allow the readers and users of the report to read further, if needed.
    The strength of this report lies both in the methodology used and in the content offered. The breakdown of topics, their prioritization and their sequence allow the reader to acquire a holistic view on how legislation is drafted in Rwanda, but there is nothing to prevent its use in the context of surveys on legislative drafting and legislative quality in other jurisdictions. The content offers a unique insight into the legislative efforts of a jurisdiction in transition from civil to common law: both styles are assessed without prejudice, thus offering a unique fertile ground for critical assessment and practical impact analysis.
    June 2013


Helen Xanthaki
Senior Lecturer and Academic Director, Centre for Legislative Studies, Institute of Advanced Legal Studies, School of Advanced Study, University of London, Lawyer (Athens Bar).
Article

Statutory Interpretation in Multilingual Jurisdictions

Journal European Journal of Law Reform, Issue 3 2013
Keywords drafting, multilingual, translation, interpretation, authenticity
Authors Odethie Birunga
AbstractAuthor's information

    Considering that every piece of legislation is subject to legal interpretation, its practicability depends highly on successful interpretation. In any legislation drafted in more than one language, divergence in meanings of versions is not only possible, but inevitable. It is not a simple task to draft in a way so that contexts are translated and included in all different language versions so that it becomes one meaningful legislation. While relying on one version only in the course of interpreting a piece of legislation may sound a lot easier, there could be ambiguous passages which may be clarified by consulting other versions. The existence of discrepancies between the versions of legislation is neither a smooth sail in multilingual environment.


Odethie Birunga
Odethie Birungi Kamugundu is a Principal State attorney in the ministry of Justice Rwanda since 2010 in the Legislative drafting department which drafts, coordinates and oversees the drafting of laws in Rwanda. Prior to that, she worked in the National Public Prosecution as a prosecutor from 2002 to 2010. She graduated in Law (LLB) from the National University of Rwanda in 1999, and in Legislative Drafting (LLM) from the University of London- Institute of Advanced Legal Studies in 2012.
Article

The Principle of Ultra Vires and the Local Authorities’ Decisions in England

Journal European Journal of Law Reform, Issue 3 2013
Keywords ultra vires, administrative decisions, legislative drafting, validity and invalidity of local authority administrative decisions, misuse of discretion
Authors Charles Aguma
AbstractAuthor's information

    The hypothesis of this article is that valid administrative decisions from local authorities are guaranteed via clear and precise enabling clauses in the primary legislation. The article argues that the style of drafting local authorities’ legislations influences decisions taken by local authorities. First, legislations need to be drafted in a style that clearly and precisely spells out the limits of powers of the local authorities in order to provide sufficient guidance to local authorities’ administrators to act lawfully. In attempting to exercise implied powers conferred by the imprecise enabling legislation, however, local authorities tend to go beyond intended legal powers and as a result take unreasonable, arbitrary and invalid decisions. More so, drafters rarely provide sufficient guidance about which considerations are properly relevant to the exercise of discretion and which are not. Secondly, obscure, wide and ambiguous enabling clauses in the primary legislations are substantial causes of courts’ misinterpretation of legislation as understanding the limits of the powers of the local authorities is a challenge. On the other hand, it is questionable whether the whole range of activities performed by a local authority by invoking implied powers, while exercising discretion, under the umbrella of doing anything that is calculated to facilitate or is conducive to or incidental to the discharge of any of its functions can be regarded as lawful. This article attempts to respond to that question. Although the principle of ultra vires requires the strict observance of the limits of the powers conferred in legislation, local authorities tend to invoke widely drafted provisions to perform activities that are said to be incidental to the express powers of which courts may declare invalid.


Charles Aguma
Charles Aguma graduated in Legislative Drafting (LLM) from the University of London- Institute of Advanced Legal Studies in 2012.

    The aim of this study is to prove that the use of section headings in legislation contributes to achieve effectiveness by helping readers of legislation find what they need to know faster, and understand it more easily. To prove the hypothesis, this study uses a comparative methodology by applying Horn’s criteria: Primary Users and Official Interpreters; Assistance for Primary Users; and Assistance for Official Interpreters. The study applies those criteria to Australian and Rwandan jurisdictions.


Samuel Ngirinshuti
Samuel Ngirinshuti graduated in Legislative Drafting (LLM) from the University of London- Institute of Advanced Legal Studies in 2012.
Article

Access_open Multinationals and Transparency in Foreign Direct Liability Cases

The Prospects for Obtaining Evidence under the Dutch Civil Procedural Regime on the Production of Exhibits

Journal The Dovenschmidt Quarterly, Issue 3 2013
Keywords foreign direct liability, corporate social responsibility, transparency document disclosure, Dutch Shell Nigeria case
Authors Liesbeth F.H. Enneking
AbstractAuthor's information

    On 30 January 2013, the The Hague district court rendered a final judgment with respect to a number of civil liability claims against Royal Dutch Shell (RDS) and its Nigerian subsidiary Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria (SPDC) that had been pursued by four Nigerian farmers and the Dutch NGO Milieudefensie in relation to various oil spills from SPDC-operated pipelines in the Nigerian Niger Delta. This case is the first Dutch example of a broader, worldwide trend towards similar transnational civil liability procedures against multinational corporations for harm caused to people and planet in developing host countries. This worldwide trend towards so-called ‘foreign direct liability cases’ and the Dutch Shell Nigeria case in particular raise many interesting socio-political as well as legal questions. This article will focus on the question what the prospects are for plaintiffs seeking to pursue such claims before a Dutch court when it comes to obtaining evidence under the Dutch civil procedural regime on the production of exhibits. This is a highly relevant question, since the proceedings in the Dutch Shell Nigeria case seem to indicate that the relatively restrictive Dutch regime on the production of exhibits in civil procedures may potentially impose a structural barrier on the access to remedies before Dutch courts of the victims of corporate violations of people and planet abroad.


Liesbeth F.H. Enneking
Liesbeth Enneking is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at UCALL, Utrecht University’s multidisciplinary Centre for Accountability and Liability Law, and an Assistant Professor of Private International Law at Utrecht University’s Molengraaff Institute for Private Law. The author would like to thank prof. I. Giesen for comments on an earlier version of this article.
Article

The Controversy Surrounding Article 9 of the Law That Defines How Brazilian Laws Are Applied

The Difficult Path to Reform of Private International Law Legislation in Brazil

Journal European Journal of Law Reform, Issue 2 2013
Keywords willingness, connecting element, controversy, Brazil
Authors Paul Hugo Weberbauer
AbstractAuthor's information

    This study aims to demonstrate that the legislative reform of Private International Law is one of the most complex subjects to be understood in terms of the Law in Brazil. With this objective, the point of reference of this study will be the controversy, which involves willingness as a connecting element, and is also known as the controversy around Article 9 of LINDB. By analyzing willingness as a connecting element within Brazilian legislation, a general panorama of the aforementioned Law is developed, as well as the debate of a doctrine nature about willingness as a connecting element and its insertion in the legal system in effect in Brazil. Finally, the difficulties encountered considering Brazil’s position towards international treaties and conventions, as well as the many attempts to reform Private International Law legislation will be analyzed.


Paul Hugo Weberbauer
Ph.D. in Law and Associate Professor of Recife Law School, Legal Sciences Centre at the Federal University of Pernambuco. Research Group: Regional integration, globalisation and International Law. E-mail: phwberbauer@hotmail.com.
Article

Judicial Delegation of Administrative Acts During the Execution Phase or Execution Process

The Application of the Constitutional Principle of Efficiency, Under the Inspiration of Recent Portuguese Law Reforms

Journal European Journal of Law Reform, Issue 2 2013
Keywords Brazilian constitutional principle of efficiency, enforcement agents in Portugal, delegation of judicial procedural administrative and enforcement acts, enforcement proceedings
Authors Rafael Cavalcanti Lemos
AbstractAuthor's information

    The Constitutional Amendment 45/2004 emphasized the need for efficiency in both administrative and judicial judgments in Brazil and introduced the right of a trial within reasonable time (Art. 5, item LXXVIII) in the 1988 Federal Constitution. Although more judges are needed to comply with this constitutional requirement, no statutory regulation was enacted to date to conform to it, particularly to allow judges to delegate administrative and enforcement functions to civil servants. However, given that fundamental rights have immediate applicability, the principle of efficiency must be implemented regardless of further regulation. In Portugal, judges are not required to order executive acts, which are conferred to an enforcement agent. A similar system should be adopted in Brazil, leaving judges time for decision-making. An efficient judicial service is essential to strengthen the image of the Judiciary and depends on this type of reforms.


Rafael Cavalcanti Lemos
Judge at the Pernambuco Court of Justice, Diploma in Civil Procedures Law, Federal University of Pernambuco.
Article

Access_open Absolute Positivism

Journal Netherlands Journal of Legal Philosophy, Issue 2 2013
Keywords jurisprudence, legal positivism, Hans Kelsen, pure theory of law
Authors Christoph Kletzer
AbstractAuthor's information

    The paper argues that we miss the point and strength of Kelsen’s Pure Theory of Law if we take it to drive a middle way between reductionism and moralism. Rather conversely, the Pure Theory is a radical theory. It tries to overcome the opposition between reductionism and moralism by making clear that both opponents rest on the same ill-conceived convictions about legal validity. Both take it that the law cannot be normative by itself. In contrast, the Pure Theory tries to find a new approach to the understanding of law that takes seriously the constitutive functions of law. It tries to understand the validity of law as resting in law itself. As such it is an attempt to find a philosophically satisfactory formulation of what can be called absolute positivism.


Christoph Kletzer
Christoph Kletzer is a Senior Lecturer at the Dickson Poon School of Law at King’s College in London.
Article

Access_open Revisiting the Humanisation of International Law: Limits and Potential

Obligations Erga Omnes, Hierarchy of Rules and the Principle of Due Diligence as the Basis for Further Humanisation

Journal Erasmus Law Review, Issue 1 2013
Keywords humanisation, constitutionalism, legal positivism, human rights, erga omnes, due diligence, positive obligations, normative hierarchy, proportionality
Authors Dr. Vassilis P. Tzevelekos
AbstractAuthor's information

    The article critically evaluates the theory of the humanisation of international law. First, it argues that despite human rights having impact on (other areas of) international law, this trend has in the past been somewhat inflated. A number of examples are given where human rights have been tested against other objectives pursued by international law, with humanisation revealing its limits and actual dimensions. The second argument consists in identifying and highlighting obligations erga omnes (partes) and the principle of due diligence as two ‘systemic’ tools, that are central to the humanisation of international law. Both these tools form part of modern positive law, but may also make a positive contribution towards the direction of deeper humanisation in international law, having the potential, inter alia, to limit state will, establish occasional material normative hierarchy consisting in conditional priority in the fulfilment of human rights, give a communitarian tone to international law and invite states to be pro-active in the collective protection of their common interests and values. In its conclusions, the article offers a plausible explanation about the paradox it identifies of the limits of the humanisation on the one hand, and its potential for further development on the other. For, it is inherent in international law that the line separating the law from deontology is thin. The process of humanisation needs to be balanced with the other objectives of international law as well as reconciled with the decentralised and sovereignist origins of the pluralistic international legal system.


Dr. Vassilis P. Tzevelekos
Lecturer in Public International Law, University of Hull Law School; Attorney, Athens’ Bar. PhD and M.Res, European University Institute; MA, European Political and Administrative Studies, College of Europe; DEA Droit international public et organisations internationales, Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne; LLB, National and Kapodistrian University of Athens.
Article

Access_open International Criminal Law and Constitutionalisation

On Hegemonic Narratives in Progress

Journal Erasmus Law Review, Issue 1 2013
Keywords hegemony, constitutionalism, constitutionalisation, international criminal law
Authors Marjan Ajevski
AbstractAuthor's information

    As we move towards constructing narratives regarding the future outlook of global governance, constitutionalisation among them, the hope is that whatever shape this world order takes it will, somehow, forestall or hinder the possibility of a hegemonic order. This article tries to deconstruct the notion of hegemony and claims that as it currently stands it is useless in doing its critical work since every successful narrative will end up being hegemonic because it will employ the ‘hegemonic technique’ of presenting a particular value (or value system), a particular viewpoint, as universal or at least applying to those who do not share it. The only way for a narrative in this discourse not to be hegemonic would be for it to be either truly universal and find a perspective that stems from nowhere and everywhere – a divine perspective – or purely descriptive; the first being an impossibility for fallible beings and the other not worth engaging with since it has nothing to say about how things should be structured or decided in a specific situation.


Marjan Ajevski
Post-Doctoral research fellow part of the MultiRights project – an ERC Advanced Grant on the Legitimacy of Multi-Level Human Rights Judiciary – <www.MultiRights.net>; and PluriCourts, a Research Council of Norway Centre of Excellence – <www.PluriCourts.net>, Norwegian Centre of Human Rights, Faculty of Law, University of Oslo. I can be contacted at marjan.ajevski@nchr.uio.no.
Article

Access_open The Quest for Behavioural Antitrust

Beyond the Label Battle, Towards a Cognitive Approach

Journal The Dovenschmidt Quarterly, Issue 2 2013
Keywords antitrust, behavioural economics, cognitive economics and law, predatory pricing, intent
Authors Luca Arnaudo
AbstractAuthor's information

    Over the past two decades behavioural economics has gained widespread consensus, and, as a consequence, is affecting many areas of law and economics. Antitrust is currently providing an interesting case study of this cultural-academic trend with a growing number of articles and comments focusing on “behavioural antritrust”. This article considers the state of the art of the behavioural approach to antitrust, taking the case of predatory pricing as useful test-bed for better evaluating practical perspectives of such an approach. The article suggests a “step beyond” by sketching a cognitive upgrade of antitrust. This move is coherent with a broader cognitive law framework that is in line with what is happening within contemporary economic theory.


Luca Arnaudo
Luca Arnaudo, Ph.D. Italian Competition Authority, Investigative Directorate Rome. This article benefited from comments and criticism from Harry Gerla, Giacomo Luchetta, Roberto Pardolesi, Maurice Stucke, participants at the VII National Convention of the Italian Society of Law and Economics, and two anonymous referees; usual disclaimers apply. Please send any comments to lucarnaudo@gmail.com.
Article

Access_open A Description of the Historical Developments in Standard Setting and Regulations for Auditors and the Audit Firms in an International Perspective

Journal The Dovenschmidt Quarterly, Issue 2 2013
Keywords Audit profession, international audit regulations, public-interest entities, historical developments
Authors Paul van der Zanden and Peter M. van der Zanden
AbstractAuthor's information

    The article discusses the historical developments within the audit profession as well as the developments in the rules and regulations relating to this profession. It does so in an international perspective. The authors compare the traditionally more Anglo-Saxon oriented approach with the traditionally more continental European approach. They discuss the influence and impact of these different approaches on each other as well as the impact of this process on regulation on a European level and implementation thereof on a local level. The developments in the Netherlands, which evidence this process, are used as an illustration. Throughout the article the authors also make some critical observations and notes with respect to the developments discussed.


Paul van der Zanden
Paul van der Zanden, Attorney at law, Banning N.V.

Peter M. van der Zanden
Peter M. van der Zanden, Emeritus professor Financial Accounting and former partner Ernst & Young.

    In this article a non-binding global standard for solution of cross-border insolvency proceedings is introduced. These Global Principles for Cooperation in International Insolvency Cases can be used both in civil-law as well as common-law jurisdictions, and aim to cover all jurisdictions in the world. They are addressed to judges, insolvency practitioners and scholars, and aim to contribute to an improved global architecture of international insolvency.


Bob Wessels
Prof. Dr. Bob Wessels is an independent legal counsel in Dordrecht, The Netherlands, and professor International Insolvency Law, University of Leiden, School of Law. He can be reached at: info@bobwessels.nl.
Article

Keeling Schedules and Clarity in Amending Legislation

Journal European Journal of Law Reform, Issue 1 2013
Keywords Keeling schedule, amending legislation, PACE
Authors Ronan Cormacain
AbstractAuthor's information

    Most legislation proceeds by way of amending existing legislation. It is difficult for the amending legislation to set out both the changes being made to the law as well as what the law will be after the changes. Various techniques for achieving clarity in amending legislation are analysed. The article concludes that the Keeling schedule is a useful tool for this purpose.


Ronan Cormacain
Consultant Legislative Counsel.
Article

Responsive Law Reform: A Case Study in Privacy and the Media

Journal European Journal of Law Reform, Issue 1 2013
Keywords law reform, regulatory theory, privacy, free speech, media
Authors Megan Richardson
AbstractAuthor's information

    This article develops a regulatory theory of law reform for common law jurisdictions drawing on a model of responsive regulation and applies it to a case study in Privacy and the Media with particular reference to law reform initiatives in Australia, New Zealand and the UK.


Megan Richardson
Professor of Law and Co-Director Centre for Media & Communications Law, Melbourne Law School, The University of Melbourne, former member of an International Advisory Panel for the New South Wales Law Reform Commission reference on invasion of privacy. This article was substantially written at the Institute for Advanced Legal Studies, where I had the privilege of being a Research Fellow in September–December 2012. I am grateful to the Institute for allowing me to spend three months in this excellent facility and also to my home institution, The Melbourne Law School, for supporting my research period abroad. The ideas in this article were presented at seminars at the Institute and at the Dickson Poon School of Law, King’s College London. I am grateful to those who attended for their helpful comments and especially to Tanya Aplin, Lyria Bennett Moses, Desmond Browne QC, Stewart Dresner, James Michael and Jan Oster. Thanks also to my colleagues Andrew Kenyon and Jason Bosland for additional helpful insights.
Article

The Application of Exception Clauses of the Rome Convention and the Rome I Regulation by the Dutch Courts

An Escape from Reality?

Journal European Journal of Law Reform, Issue 1 2013
Keywords Rome Convention 1980, Rome I Regulation, choice of law, exception clause, international commercial contracts
Authors Emmely de Haan
AbstractAuthor's information

    Both the Rome Convention and its successor the Rome I Regulation contain much discussed provisions on applicable law in the case of absence of a choice of law. Both instruments contain so called ‘exception clauses’ which refer to a closer connection of the contract with one state to the law of another state resulting from the general presumptions. The Netherlands is the frontrunner with a highly restrictive interpretation of the exception clauses. The applicable law to a transnational dispute might not always be the law of the competent court, although courts tend to prefer their own national law with which they are familiar. This year it has been exactly 20 years since the first revolutionary ruling on the subject by the Dutch Supreme Court, the so called Balenpers case. With the recent transition of the Convention into the Regulation, it is useful to analyse these connecting factors and review them in the context of the new Regulation. The Dutch courts have developed numerous connecting factors over the years. The article analyses Dutch case law on international contracts of carriage and international employment contracts from the implementation of the Rome Convention to date.


Emmely de Haan
The author graduated from Utrecht University in 2012 with an LL.M. degree in Dutch Private Law and is currently an LL.M. candidate at the University of Virginia in the United States, specializing in International Trade Law and Regulation and Dispute Settlement. This article is a shorter version of her master thesis, which was supervised by Professor dr. K.R.S.D. Boele-Woelki.
Article

Structuring the Judiciary to Conduct Constitutional Review in the Netherlands

A Comparative and European Perspective

Journal European Journal of Law Reform, Issue 4 2012
Keywords centralized/decentralized constitutional review, Netherlands constitutional law, comparative law
Authors Gerhard van der Schyff
AbstractAuthor's information

    Whether a legal system decides to centralize or decentralize constitutional review by the judiciary is dependent on various factors. This article critically considers a host of these factors, ranging from the separation of powers to the desire to bring about far-reaching constitutional change and the possible impact of membership of the European Union, in studying whether in the Netherlands constitutional review should be centralized or decentralized upon its possible introduction. The conclusion is reached that although decentralization can be opted for under the current circumstances, a persuasive case for centralization can also be made and might even become stronger and inevitable depending on the course of future constitutional reform.


Gerhard van der Schyff
Gerhard van der Schyff is Senior Lecturer in Constitutional Law at Tilburg Law School, The Netherlands.
Article

Occurrence of Disruptive Behaviour in Dutch Civil Procedures

An Empirical Study

Journal European Journal of Law Reform, Issue 4 2012
Keywords civil procedure, case management, procedural justice, procedural sanctions, procedural rules
Authors Martin Gramatikov and Stéphanie van Gulijk
AbstractAuthor's information

    In 2002, the civil procedure in the Netherlands was reformed. A fairly simple system of positive and negative stimuli was set up in order to ensure that the civil process develops in an efficient and timely manner. In this article, we explore the prevalence of process-disturbing behaviour as well as the response of the judges to such behaviour. Ninety eight civil cases were observed. We also conducted interviews with judges, lawyers and parties involved in these cases. The main finding is that in almost all cases there is at least one process-disturbing behaviour. On average there are 3.4 instances of such behaviour per case. Most often the disturbing behaviour is part of the categories communication problems. As it concerns the reaction of the judges, we see patterns of various strategies. Judges are not immediately responding actively to disturbing behaviour. However, when a certain threshold has been reached, the judges tend to take active steps and apply the tools they have. Most often, judges use different sorts of communication interventions. Procedural instruments for counteracting disturbing behaviour are used vey rarely. Our interpretation is that judges in the Netherlands are concerned about process efficiency but are also aware of the procedural justice and particularly interpersonal justice aspects of the process. We recommend that initial and ongoing legal education and training pays more attention on the communication and interpersonal skills and abilities involved in dispute resolution.


Martin Gramatikov
Martin Grammatikov is senior researcher at Tilburg University, Private Law department, and Head of Measurement and Evaluation at the Hague Institute for the Internationalisation of Law.

Stéphanie van Gulijk
Stéphanie van Gulijk is senior researcher and lecturer at Tilburg University, Private Law department, and Legal counsel at Poelmann van den Broek Laywers. Both authors cooperated in the research project that is central in this paper: M. Barendrecht, S. van Gulijk, M. Gramatikov, P. Sluijter, De goede procesorde in beeld. Over gedrag van procespartijen en de regiefunctie van de rechter, in Research Memoranda Raad voor de rechtspraak, nummer 1-2011, jaargang 7.
Article

Gender Equality Laws in the Post Socialist States of Central and Eastern Europe

Mainstream Fixture or Fizzer?

Journal European Journal of Law Reform, Issue 4 2012
Keywords gender equality laws, enforcement mechanisms, rule of law, post-socialist states, European Union
Authors Christine Forster and Vedna Jivan
AbstractAuthor's information

    In Central and Eastern European countries, the enactment of gender equality laws (GELs), defined as stand-alone national legislation that provide an overarching legislative response to gender discrimination as distinct from the traditional approach of incorporating gender equality provisions into existing legislation or constitutions, has been a marked regional trend since the collapse of the Soviet Union. However, rather than being driven by domestic movements for change, GELs seem primarily to have emerged due to pressure from development agencies, potential trading partners and donor organisations which predicate their assistance and business on the establishment of the ‘rule of law’ and of particular relevance in the region the desire to join the European Union (EU), which requires potential members to introduce gender equality legislation as part of the communtaire aquis. Despite the widespread enactment of GELs in the region, research suggests that the implementation of GELs has been slow, inefficient and in some cases non-existent. Reasons posited for this include a lack of judicial familiarity with new concepts contained in the legislation, the use of legislation taken from models in existing member states, lack of information disseminated about the new laws to relevant parties, weak political support and capacity weakness in states that are resource stretched. This article considers a further reason – the weakness of the enforcement and implementation mechanisms in the laws themselves and argues that despite the placement of expansive positive duties on a range of public and private actors in many of the GELs, the implementation and enforcement mechanisms of the fifteen GELs considered are weak. Consequently, despite their remarkable scope the duties created under the GELs are largely symbolic and will continue to be so unless, such legislation is amended to include mechanisms to enable the realization of those duties in practice.


Christine Forster
Christine Forster is a senior lecturer at the Faculty of Law of the University of New South Wales, Australia.

Vedna Jivan
Vedna Jivan is Senior Lecturer, UTS Faculty of Law, Australia.
Article

Access_open The Collapse of the Rule of Law

The Messina Earthquake and the State of Exception

Journal Netherlands Journal of Legal Philosophy, Issue 2 2012
Keywords Messina, earthquake, state of exception, rule of law, progress
Authors Massimo La Torre
AbstractAuthor's information

    Messina, a Sicilian town, was devasteted by an earthquake in1908. It was an hecatomb. Stricken through this unfathomable disgrace Messina’s institutions and civil society collapsed and a sort of wild natural state replaced the rule of law. In this situation there was a first intervention of the Russian Czarist navy who came to help but immediately enforced cruel emergency measures. The Italian army followed and there was a formal declaration of an ‘emergency situation.’ Around this event and the several exceptional measures taken by the government a debate took place about the legality of those exceptional measures. The article tries to reconstruct the historical context and the content of that debate and in a broader perspective thematizes how law (and morality) could be brought to meet the breaking of normality and ordinary life by an unexpected and catastrophic event.


Massimo La Torre
Massimo La Torre is Professor of Legal Philosophy at the University of Catanzaro in Italy and visiting Professor of Law at the University of Hull in England.
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