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Article

Civil Society Perspectives on the Criminal Chamber of the African Court of Justice and Human Rights

Journal African Journal of International Criminal Justice, Issue 1-2 2018
Keywords Malabo Protocol, African Court, Criminal Chamber, International and Transnational Crimes, African Union
Authors Benson Chinedu Olugbuo LLB BL LLM Ph.D.
AbstractAuthor's information

    In June 2014, African Heads of States and Governments adopted the Protocol on the Amendments to the Protocol on the Statute of the African Court of Justice and Human Rights in Malabo, Equatorial Guinea. The Malabo Protocol seeks to expand the jurisdiction of the African Court to international and transnational crimes. This development raises fundamental issues of jurisdiction, capacity, political will and regional complementarity in the fight against impunity in the African continent. The paper interrogates the role of Civil Society Organisations in the adoption and possible operationalisation of the Court in support of the efforts of the African Union to end human rights abuses and commission of international and transnational crimes within the continent.


Benson Chinedu Olugbuo LLB BL LLM Ph.D.
LLB (Nigeria); BL (Abuja); LLM (Pretoria); Ph.D. (Cape Town); Executive Director, CLEEN Foundation, Abuja–Nigeria and Research Associate, Public Law Department, University of Cape Town, South Africa.
Article

Access_open Armed On-board Protection of Danish Vessels Authorisation and Use of Force in Self-defence in a Legal Perspective

Journal Erasmus Law Review, Issue 4 2018
Keywords piracy, private security companies (PSC), privately contracted armed security personnel (PCASP), use of force, Denmark
Authors Christian Frier
AbstractAuthor's information

    This article examines the legal issues pertaining to the use of civilian armed guards on board Danish-flagged ships for protection against piracy. The Danish model of regulation is interesting for several reasons. Firstly, the Danish Government was among the first European flag States to allow and formalise their use in a commercial setting. Secondly, the distribution of assignments between public authorities and private actors stands out as very pragmatic, as ship owners and contracting private security companies are empowered with competences which are traditionally considered as public administrative powers. Thirdly, the lex specialis framework governing the authorisation and use of force in self-defence is non-exhaustive, thus referring to lex generalis regulation, which does not take the special circumstances surrounding the use of armed guards into consideration. As a derived effect the private actors involved rely heavily on soft law and industry self-regulation instrument to complement the international and national legal framework.


Christian Frier
Christian Frier is research assistant at the Department of Law, University of Southern Denmark. He obtained his PhD in Law in March 2019.

Albert Dzur
Albert Dzur is Professor, Departments of Political Science and Philosophy, Bowling Green State University, USA. Contact author: awdzur@bgsu.edu.
Article

Access_open Restorative justice as feminist practice

Journal The International Journal of Restorative Justice, Issue 3 2018
Keywords Restorative justice, gender-based violence, feminism
Authors Leigh Goodmark
AbstractAuthor's information

    Feminists have viewed the implementation of restorative practices warily, particularly in the context of gender-based harms. Concerns include the devaluing of gender-based harms, the reprivatisation of violence against women and the inability of restorative practitioners to guarantee safety for people subjected to abuse. But this article will argue that restorative justice can be a uniquely feminist practice, growing out of the same mistrust of state-based systems and engagement of the community that animated the early feminist movement. Although some caution is warranted, restorative justice serves the feminist goals of amplifying women’s voices, fostering women’s autonomy and empowerment, engaging community, avoiding gender essentialism and employing an intersectional analysis, transforming patriarchal structures and ending violence against women.


Leigh Goodmark
Leigh Goodmark is Professor of Law and Director of the Gender Violence Clinic at the University of Maryland Francis King Carey School of Law, Baltimore, USA. Contact author: lgoodmark@law.umaryland.edu.

Peter Mascini
Erasmus University Rotterdam, Erasmus School of Law. Corresponding author. Sanders building, 7 West, P.O. Box 1738, 3000 DR, Rotterdam, The Netherlands, pmascini@gmail.com.

Wibo van Rossum
Erasmus University Rotterdam, Erasmus School of Law.
Article

Access_open Making Sense of the Law and Society Movement

Journal Erasmus Law Review, Issue 2 2018
Keywords law and society, sociology of law, sociolegal, empirical legal studies
Authors Daniel Blocq and Maartje van der Woude
AbstractAuthor's information

    This article aims to deepen scholarly understanding of the Law and Society Movement (L&S) and thereby strengthen debates about the relation between Empirical Legal Studies (ELS) and L&S. The article departs from the observation that ELS, understood as an initiative that emerged in American law schools in the early 2000s, has been quite successful in generating more attention to the empirical study of law and legal institutions in law schools, both in- and outside the US. In the early years of its existence, L&S – another important site for the empirical study of law and legal institutions – also had its center of gravity inside the law schools. But over time, it shifted towards the social sciences. This article discusses how that happened, and more in general explains how L&S became ever more diverse in terms of substance, theory and methods.


Daniel Blocq
Daniel Blocq is assistant professor at Leiden Law School.

Maartje van der Woude
Maartje van der Woude is professor at Leiden Law School.
Article

Access_open Empirical Legal Research in Europe: Prevalence, Obstacles, and Interventions

Journal Erasmus Law Review, Issue 2 2018
Keywords empirical legal research, Europe, popularity, increase, journals
Authors Gijs van Dijck, Shahar Sverdlov and Gabriela Buck
AbstractAuthor's information

    Empirical Legal research (ELR) has become well established in the United States, whereas its popularity in Europe is debatable. This article explores the popularity of ELR in Europe. The authors carried out an empirical analysis of 78 European-based law journals, encompassing issues from 2008-2017. The findings demonstrate that a supposed increase of ELR is questionable (at best).
    Moreover, additional findings highlight:

    • An increase for a few journals, with a small number of other journals showing a decrease over time;

    • A higher percentage of empirical articles for extra-legal journals than for legal journals (average proportion per journal is 4.6 percent for legal journals, 18.9 percent for extra-legal journals);

    • Criminal justice journals, environmental journals, and economically oriented journals being more likely to publish empirical articles than other journals;

    • More prestigious journals being more likely to publish empirical articles than less-prestigious journals;

    • Older journals being more likely to publish empirical work than younger journals, but not at an increasing rate;

    • Journals being legal/extra-legal, journals in a specific field, journal ranking, or the age of the journal not making it more (or less) likely that the journal will publish empirical articles at an increasing (or decreasing) rate.
      Considering the lack of convincing evidence indicating an increase of ELR, we identify reasons for why ELR is seemingly becoming more popular but not resulting in more empirical research in Europe. Additionally, we explore interventions for overcoming the obstacles ELR currently faces.


Gijs van Dijck
Professor of Private Law at Maastricht University, the Netherlands.

Shahar Sverdlov
Law student at the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, the Netherlands.

Gabriela Buck
Law student at Maastricht University, the Netherlands.
Article

Access_open Evidence-Based Regulation and the Translation from Empirical Data to Normative Choices: A Proportionality Test

Journal Erasmus Law Review, Issue 2 2018
Keywords evidence-based, regulation, proportionality, empirical law studies, law and society studies
Authors Rob van Gestel and Peter van Lochem
AbstractAuthor's information

    Studies have shown that the effects of scientific research on law and policy making are often fairly limited. Different reasons can be given for this: scientists are better at falsifying hypothesis than at predicting the future, the outcomes of academic research and empirical evidence can be inconclusive or even contradictory, the timing of the legislative cycle and the production of research show mismatches, there can be clashes between the political rationality and the economic or scientific rationality in the law making process et cetera. There is one ‘wicked’ methodological problem, though, that affects all regulatory policy making, namely: the ‘jump’ from empirical facts (e.g. there are too few organ donors in the Netherlands and the voluntary registration system is not working) to normative recommendations of what the law should regulate (e.g. we need to change the default rule so that everybody in principle becomes an organ donor unless one opts out). We are interested in how this translation process takes place and whether it could make a difference if the empirical research on which legislative drafts are build is more quantitative type of research or more qualitative. That is why we have selected two cases in which either type of research played a role during the drafting phase. We use the lens of the proportionality principle in order to see how empirical data and scientific evidence are used by legislative drafters to justify normative choices in the design of new laws.


Rob van Gestel
Rob van Gestel is professor of theory and methods of regulation at Tilburg University.

Peter van Lochem
Dr. Peter van Lochem is jurist and sociologist and former director of the Academy for Legislation.
Article

Plain Language

A Promising Tool for Quality Legislation

Journal European Journal of Law Reform, Issue 4 2018
Keywords plain language, clarity, precision, accessibility, interpretation
Authors Kally K.L. Lam LLB
AbstractAuthor's information

    The hypothesis of this article is that plain language drafting with innovative drafting techniques can improve the quality of legislation. Further to this, the article tries to prove that quality legislation can also make the law more accessible to its general audience. With regard to quality, the article assesses plain language drafting with innovative drafting techniques using Helen Xanthaki’s criteria of quality in legislation, i.e. that it should be clear, precise and unambiguous. With regard to accessibility, it is defined broadly as to include readability. I will first assess whether plain language drafting with innovative drafting techniques can meet the expectations of its general audience and second discuss whether legislation drafted in plain language with innovative techniques passes the usability tests.


Kally K.L. Lam LLB
Kally K.L. Lam, LLB (University of Hong Kong), LLM (University of London) is Solicitor (Hong Kong).
Article

The Suprema Lex of Malta

A Forgotten Law in Legislative Drafting, Statutory Interpretation and Law Making?

Journal European Journal of Law Reform, Issue 4 2018
Keywords Maltese Law, legislative drafting, statutory interpretation, law making, supreme law
Authors Kevin Aquilina
AbstractAuthor's information

    Although the Constitution of Malta is the supreme law of the land, yet, in practice, the three principal organs of the state – the legislature, executive and judiciary – have, in certain respects exemplified in this article, tended to close their eyes to the provisions of the supreme law of the land to such an extent that legislation, government action and judicial pronouncements have breached the basic law. Without attempting to be all-inclusive, the article discusses a few illustrations where this has been the case and reflects upon this institutional behaviour where the Constitution is not upheld as the supreme law of Malta but is instead derided and disparaged. Consequently, fundamental principles of state governance such as the tenets of a democratic society and the rule of law end up being threatened and imperilled by those same institutions which are called upon to respect them. Nevertheless, the Constitution proclaims itself supreme over any other law and the organs it establishes, including the three principal organs of the state which are assaulting it, and embodies within its fold the rule of law which at the current state of play is passing through a critical phase in the state of Malta.


Kevin Aquilina
Professor Kevin Aquilina is Dean of the Faculty of Laws at the University of Malta.
Article

The adventure of the institutionalisation of restorative justice in Belgium

Journal The International Journal of Restorative Justice, Issue 2 2018
Keywords Restorative justice, institutionalisation, penal change, Belgium
Authors Anne Lemonne
AbstractAuthor's information

    At first glance, the adventure of restorative justice (RJ) in Belgium can be considered a real success story. At the turn of the 21st century, programmes oriented towards this justice model officially determined the criminal justice agenda. What were the key ideas that led to the conceptualisation of restorative justice in Belgium? Who were the main actors and agencies that carried them out? What were the main issues that led to the institutionalisation of restorative justice? What are the effects of its implementation on the Belgian criminal justice system in general? This article strives to present the main findings of a study on the basis of an extensive data collection effort and analysis targeting discourses and practices created by actors from the Belgian academic, scientific, political, administrative, social work and judicial spheres from the 1980s to 2015.


Anne Lemonne
Anne Lemonne is a researcher at the Department of Criminology, National Institute for Criminalistics and Criminology (NICC) and a member of the Centre de recherches criminologiques at the Université Libre de Bruxelles (ULB), Brussels, Belgium. Contact author: Anne.Lemonne@just.fgov.be.

Albert Dzur
Albert Dzur is Professor, Departments of Political Science and Philosophy, Bowling Green State University, USA. Contact author: awdzur@bgsu.edu.

Monique Anderson PhD
Monique Anderson, PhD Researcher, Leuven Institute of Criminology, Catholic University of Leuven, Leuven, Belgium. Contact author: monique.anderson@kuleuven.be.

Carolyn Hoyle
Carolyn Hoyle is Professor of Criminology, University of Oxford (UK).

Diana Batchelor
Diana Batchelor is a DPhil candidate, Centre for Criminology, University of Oxford (UK). Contact author: carolyn.hoyle@crim.ox.ac.uk.
Article

Measuring the restorativeness of restorative justice: the case of the Mosaica Jerusalem Programme

Journal The International Journal of Restorative Justice, Issue 2 2018
Keywords Restorative justice, criminal justice, criminal law taxonomy, victims, offenders
Authors Tali Gal, Hadar Dancig-Rosenberg and Guy Enosh
AbstractAuthor's information

    This study uses a Jerusalem-based restorative justice programme as a case study to characterise community restorative justice (CRJ) conferences. On the basis of the Criminal Law Taxonomy, an analytical instrument that includes seventeen measurable characteristics, it examines the procedural elements of the conferences, their content, goals and the role of participants. The analysis uncovers an unprecedented multiplicity of conference characteristics, including the level of flexibility, the existence of victim-offender dialogue, the involvement of the community and a focus on rehabilitative, future-oriented outcomes. The findings offer new insights regarding the theory and practice of CRJ and the gaps between the two.


Tali Gal
Tali Gal is Associate Professor and Senior Lecturer, School of Criminology, University of Haifa, Haifa, Israel.

Hadar Dancig-Rosenberg
Hadar Dancig-Rosenberg is Visiting Professor, UC Berkeley School of Law (2017-2018) and Associate Professor, Bar-Ilan University Faculty of Law, Ramat-Gan, Israel.

Guy Enosh
Guy Enosh is Associated Professor, Faculty of Welfare and Health Sciences, School of Social Work, University of Haifa, Haifa, Israel. Contact author: tgal1@univ.haifa.ac.il. Note: The first two authors have contributed equally; the third author contributed to the methodology. Acknowledgements: We are grateful to Gali Pilowsky-Menkes and Rotem Spiegler for outstanding data collection assistance. We are also grateful to Caroline Cooper, Netanel Dagan and Adi Libson for insightful comments. We are particularly indebted to the Mosaica workers and volunteers who provided us access to their materials while ensuring the privacy of all parties involved.
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