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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.
Article

The European Court of Human Rights in the States of the Former Yugoslavia

Journal East European Yearbook on Human Rights, Issue 1 2018
Keywords Ex-Yugoslavia, European Court of Human Rights, domestic implementation, the rule of law, human rights
Authors Jernej Letnar Černič
AbstractAuthor's information

    The countries of the former Yugoslavia have in past decades failed to fully meet both the challenges of the socio-economic environment and of the full-fledged functioning of the rule of law and the protection of human rights. Their development was in the first decade halted by the inter-ethnic wars, while in the second decade their institutions have been hijacked by various populist interest groups. All the countries of the former Yugoslavia have been so far facing a constant crisis of liberal democratic institutions of the modern state, based on the rule of law. Only a small number of them have decided to accept effective measures to break away from such crises. In order to present the problems of the newly established democracies in the former Yugoslavia, this article presents and analyses the contributions of the European Court of Human Rights to establishing the rule of law and effective human rights protection in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia and Slovenia. In the closing part of the article, conclusions are drawn on how those countries should proceed to internalize the values of human rights protections in liberal democracies.


Jernej Letnar Černič
Associate Professor, Graduate School of Government and European Studies, Nova Univerza, Ljubljana, Slovenia.
Human Rights Practice Review

Hungary

Journal East European Yearbook on Human Rights, Issue 1 2018
Authors Kriszta Kovács LLM, PhD
Author's information

Kriszta Kovács LLM, PhD
LLM, PhD in Law, associate professor at ELTE University Faculty of Social Sciences, Senior Researcher at WZB Berlin Center for Global Constitutionalism.
Human Rights Literature Review

Lithuania

Journal East European Yearbook on Human Rights, Issue 1 2018
Authors Vygantė Milašiūtė PhD
Author's information

Vygantė Milašiūtė PhD
PhD, associate professor at the Faculty of Law of Vilnius University.
Human Rights Literature Review

Poland

Journal East European Yearbook on Human Rights, Issue 1 2018
Authors Vita Zagórowska and Jakub Czepek
Author's information

Vita Zagórowska
Vita Zagórowska, University of Warsaw, Faculty of Law and Administration, Institute of International Law, Department of International Public Law.

Jakub Czepek
Jakub Czepek, Cardinal Stefan Wyszyński University in Warsaw, Faculty of Law and Administration, Institute of International Law, European Union and International Relations, Department of Human Rights Protection and International Humanitarian Law.
Human Rights Practice Review

Latvia

Journal East European Yearbook on Human Rights, Issue 1 2018
Authors Lolita Bērziņa, Artūrs Kučs and Eva Vīksna
Author's information

Lolita Bērziņa
Lolita Bērziņa is Dr.iur.cand. and lecturer at the Faculty of Law of the University of Latvia.

Artūrs Kučs
Artūrs Kučs is Dr.iur. Judge at the Constitutional Court of Latvia and Associate Professor and Chair of the Department of International Law at the Faculty of Law of the University of Latvia.

Eva Vīksna
Eva Vīksna is Legal Research Counsel at the Supreme Court of Latvia.
Human Rights Practice Review

Croatia

Journal East European Yearbook on Human Rights, Issue 1 2018
Authors Maša Marochini Zrinski PhD
Author's information

Maša Marochini Zrinski PhD
PhD, assistant professor at the Department for Theory of Law and State, Philosophy of Law, Human Rights and Public Policy, Faculty of Law, University of Rijeka.
Article

Regional Judicial and Non-judicial Bodies

An Effective Means for Protecting Human Rights?

Journal East European Yearbook on Human Rights, Issue 1 2018
Keywords Direct access, human rights protection, judicial bodies, non-judicial bodies, direct access of individuals
Authors Ján Klučka
AbstractAuthor's information

    Regional human rights systems consisting of regional bodies, instruments and mechanisms play an important role in the promotion and protection of human rights. If one’s rights are not protected on the domestic level, the international system comes into play and protection can be provided either by the regional or global (UN) system. Regional mechanisms of human rights today cover five parts of the world, namely: Africa, the Americas, Europe, Arab countries and the Asia-Pacific. They differ in their origin, resulting from different concepts of human rights and the need of interested states to establish a regional framework for human rights protection. The level and scope of their human rights protection is obviously uneven, although this protection is generally higher in regions with democratic states that have constitutional and rule of law regimes in which human rights are considered an integral part of their constitutional architecture. However, current practice confirms that the creation of judicial systems for the protection of human rights within the context of concrete regions does not automatically guarantee the right of direct access of individuals to them. The regional particularities of locus standi result from a set of factors having historic, religious, ethnic and other nature. In the institutional system of protection of human rights, these particularities manifest also through the optional (non-compulsory) jurisdiction of regional judicial bodies, the preventive ‘filtering’ systems before non-judicial bodies (commissions) combined with the right to bring the case before a judicial body, the systems where different entities are entitled to bring the case before a judicial body but the individual has no such right etc. Nevertheless, the existing practice generally confirms the increasing role of the judicial segment of the regional human rights systems as well as the strengthening of position of individuals within the proceedings before regional human rights judicial and non-judicial bodies. A specific factor in the developing world represents the concept of a ‘strict’ interpretation of sovereignty preventing external control of the respect for human rights before a regional judicial body on the basis of an individual complaint by a concerned person. The specificities of regional systems are without detriment to their widely accepted advantages and benefits. Regional systems allow for the possibility of regional values to be taken into account when human rights norms are defined (e.g. so-called collective rights and duties within the African system), provided that the idea of the universality of human rights is not compromised. The regional systems are located closer to the individual human rights subjects and offer a more accessible forum in which individuals can pursue their cases, and states tend to show stronger political will to conform to decisions of regional human rights bodies. The existence of the regional human rights systems finally allows for the existence of proper enforcement mechanisms, which can better reflect local conditions than a global (universal) system of enforcement.


Ján Klučka
Professor of International Law, Institute of International and European Law, Law Faculty, University P.J. Šafárik, Košice, Slovakia.
Human Rights Practice Review

Serbia

Journal East European Yearbook on Human Rights, Issue 1 2018
Authors Jelena Simić
Author's information

Jelena Simić
Jelena Simić is assistant professor, Union University Law School (Belgrade).
Article

The European Court of Human Rights and the Central and Eastern European States

Journal East European Yearbook on Human Rights, Issue 1 2018
Keywords Case law regarding Central and Eastern Europe, ECHR, human rights, reform, European system of Human Rights
Authors András Baka
AbstractAuthor's information

    At the time of its creation and during the following 30 years, the European Court of Human Rights was a Western European institution. It was not until the sweeping political changes in 1989-1990 that the Central and Eastern European countries could join the European system of individual human rights protection. The massive and relatively rapid movement of accession of the ‘new states’ to the European Convention on Human Rights had a twofold effect. On the one hand it led to a complete reform of the human rights machinery of the Council of Europe, changing the structure and the procedure. A new, permanent and more efficient system emerged. What is even more important, the Court has had to deal with not only the traditional questions of individual human rights but under the Convention new issues were coming to the Court from applicants of the former eastern-bloc countries. On the other hand, being part of the European human rights mechanism, these countries got a chance to establish or re-establish the rule of law, they got support, legal standards and guidance on how to respect and protect individual human rights. The article addresses some of these elements. It also points out that public hopes and expectations towards the Court – especially nowadays in respect of certain countries – are sometimes too high. The Court has its limits. It has been designed to remedy certain individual injustices of democratic states following common values but cannot alone substitute seriously weakened democratic statehood.


András Baka
Former judge of the ECtHR (1991-2008); former president of the Hungarian Supreme Court.
Article

Politics and Pragmatism

The Constitutional Court of the Russian Federation and Its 20 Years of Engagement with the European Convention on Human Rights

Journal East European Yearbook on Human Rights, Issue 1 2018
Keywords Constitutional Court of the Russian Federation, European Court of Human Rights, Russia
Authors Bill Bowring
AbstractAuthor's information

    After the highly controversial YUKOS judgment of 19 January 2017, on 23 May 2017 the Constitutional Court of the Russian Federation (CCRF) delivered a warmly received judgment, in which the provisions of the administrative offences legislation prohibiting stateless persons to challenge the reasonableness of their detention in special detention facilities was found to be unconstitutional. The CCRF was addressed by leading Russian human rights advocates. The judgment referred not only to Article 22 of the Russian Constitution but also to the analogous Article 5 of the ECHR. The judgment paid special attention to case-law: Guzzardi v. Italy (1980), Kemmache v. France (1994), Kurt v. Turkey (1998), Aleksei Borisov v. Russia (2015), and Z.A. v. Russia (2017), as well as Alim v. Russia (2011), Shakurov v. Russia (2012) and Azimov v. Russia (2013). Indeed, Strasbourg jurisprudence has played a central role in the development of the CCRF’s jurisprudence since Russia’s ratification of the ECHR in 1998. This article analyses and seeks to explain what in the author’s view is the CCRF’s serious engagement with a body of pan-European quasi-constitutional law, with which Russian jurists feel surprisingly comfortable and experienced. Is there really a cultural incompatibility between Russian and ‘Western’ approaches to human rights law?


Bill Bowring
Professor of Law, Birkbeck College, University of London.
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