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Article

Supporting Self-Represented Litigants and Access to Justice

How Does ODR Fit In?

Journal International Journal of Online Dispute Resolution, Issue 2 2019
Keywords ODR, self-represented litigants, access to justice, legal services
Authors John M. Greacen
AbstractAuthor's information

    In 2015 the Conference of Chief Justices and the Conference of State Court Administrators (CCJ/COSCA), representing the leadership of the state court systems of the United States, adopted the following goal for access to justice for civil legal issues.

    […] the Conference of Chief Justices and the Conference of State Court Administrators support the aspirational goal of 100 percent access to effective assistance for essential civil legal needs.

    How far are we from attaining that goal today?


John M. Greacen
Principal, Greacen Associates. The author acknowledges the contribution from two esteemed colleagues, Katherine Alteneder, Executive Director of the Self Represented Litigation Network and Bonnie Hough, Principal Managing Attorney, Center for Families, Children & the Courts, Judicial Council of California.

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


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

Access_open Mercosur: Limits of Regional Integration

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

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


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

Magyar Jeti Zrt. v. Hungary

Judgment of the ECtHR Concerning the Imposition of Liability for Posting Hyperlinks to Defamatory Content

Journal Hungarian Yearbook of International Law and European Law, Issue 1 2019
Keywords freedom of expression, defamatory content, liability of online press, Article 10 ECHR, hyperlinks
Authors Renáta Gyalog
AbstractAuthor's information

    The article aims to introduce the judgment of the ECtHR on the case Magyar Jeti Zrt. v. Hungary. Although in this Hungarian case the ECtHR dealt with a special provision of the Hungarian Civil Code that – under the interpretation of the domestic courts – imposes objective liability for posting hyperlinks which lead to third-party online content, the judgment can be considered as a big improvement compared to the previous decisions of the ECtHR concerning the freedom of expression. The judgment offers legal certainty and guidance for journalists who post hyperlinks by determining five relevant questions to be taken into account when deciding whether the liability of a press organ can be established for contents cited from other websites over which they have no control. Becoming the best ECtHR judgment of the year 2018 under the yearly vote announced by Strasbourg Observers blog portal also emphasizes the importance and the relevance of this decision for the digital media.


Renáta Gyalog
Assistant judge, Békéscsaba District Court, Hungary.
Article

The Rights of the Victim in Hungarian Criminal Proceedings

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

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


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

The Value of the Environment in Hungarian Municipalities

An Overview of the Legal Aspects

Journal Hungarian Yearbook of International Law and European Law, Issue 1 2019
Keywords environmental regulation, environmental policy, local self-governments, local actions, environmental sustainability
Authors László Fodor
AbstractAuthor's information

    In the field of environmental policy, the principle of sustainability and local actions are becoming increasingly important (‘think globally – act locally’). In Hungary, the focus is – within the multi-level local government system – on the local governments of the municipalities. This study is part of a research project on the role of municipal local governments in Hungary. During our research, in addition to the research methods of the ‘desktop’, case studies, questionnaires, interviews and focus group interviews were used. This study presents such general conclusions that can be drawn from the partial results. It does not include the presentation of certain areas of local environmental protection (air protection, waste management, protecting the built environment etc.), it rather tries to present the attitude of local governments, their commitment to environmental protection and the circumstances affecting it. It shows that Hungarian local governments do not form a homogeneous group. Primarily due to the differing size of municipalities, local environmental conflicts and the financial resources available for their resolution differ from each other as well. However, certain circumstances – such as the low degree of environmental awareness of the Hungarian population, the decrease in the autonomy of the local governments, the effects of the economic crisis and the changes of central regulations – affect them equally. The environmental protection performance of local governments is generally lower than desired.


László Fodor
Professor of law, University of Debrecen.
Editorial

Legal, Ethical and Economical Impacts of Intergenerational Equity (Editorial Comments)

Foreword to Vol. 7 (2019) of the Hungarian Yearbook of International Law and European Law

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

Marcel Szabó
Editor-in-chief; professor of law, Pázmány Péter Catholic University, Budapest; justice, Constitutional Court of Hungary.
Article

Conference on the Evaluation of Legislation

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

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

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

A Multipolar System for the Protection of Fundamental Rights in Practice

Unjustified Dismissals of Government Officials in Hungary

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

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


Zsuzsanna Szabó
Assistant lecturer, University of Debrecen.
Article

The Case of the Hungarian Constitutional Court with Environmental Principles

From Non-Derogation to the Precautionary Approach

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

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


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

Key Factors of the Development and Renewal of the Social Market Economy in the EU

Journal Hungarian Yearbook of International Law and European Law, Issue 1 2019
Keywords Europe 2020 strategy, social market economy, eco-social market economy, social welfare systems, EU structural funds
Authors István Kőrösi
AbstractAuthor's information

    The purpose of this study is to present the principles, strategy and operation of the social market economy, based on legal, political and economic considerations. The first social market economy, West Germany – followed by Austria, the Netherlands, as well as other countries in Northern and Western Europe –, mustered a positive overall performance from the post-World War II years to the early 1970s. Since then, however, we have been witnessing the erosion, distortion and decline of efficiency of the social market economy. There are four main issues to be addressed: (i) What are the main theoretical and conceptual, ‘eternal’ elements of the social market economy? (ii) What economic policy was built on this theoretical foundation and why did the system work well in Western Europe after World War II? (iii) What factors eroded this system? (iv) Can social market economy be renewed in the second decade of the 21st century and, if it can, what are the preconditions of it? In my analysis, I highlight some key areas: EU policies, Lisbon Agenda and Europe 2020 strategy, growth, financial disequilibria and competitiveness, innovation and employment, the relation of state and market.


István Kőrösi
Associate professor, Pázmány Péter Catholic University, Budapest; senior research fellow, World Economic Institute of ERRC of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences.
Article

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

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

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


Thamil Venthan Ananthavinavagan
Lecturer, Griffith College, Dublin.
Article

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

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

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


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

Access_open The Dutch International Responsible Business Conduct Agreements

Effective Initiatives?

Journal Erasmus Law Review, Issue 4 2019
Keywords IRBC Agreements, effectiveness, OECD due diligence, access to remedy
Authors Martijn Scheltema
AbstractAuthor's information

    This contribution analyses the effectiveness of the Dutch International Responsible Business Conduct (IRBC) agreements and suggests some avenues for improvement. Several challenges in connection with effectiveness have been identified in evaluations of the IRBC agreements, and these are used as a starting point for the analysis. The focus is on three themes: (i) uptake, leverage and collaboration; (ii) implementation of OECD due diligence including monitoring and (iii) access to remedy. This contribution shows that low uptake may not be a sign of ineffectiveness per se, although in terms of leverage a sufficient number of participants or collaboration between agreements seems important. In connection with due diligence, it is recommended to align the implementation of OECD due diligence. Furthermore, an effective monitoring mechanism by a secretariat, as is currently implemented in the Textile agreement only, is most likely to bring about material changes in business behaviour. Other types of supervision seem less effective. Access to remedy poses a challenge in all IRBC agreements. It is recommended that the expectations the agreements have on access to remedy be clarified, also in connection with the role of signatories to the agreements in cases where they are directly linked to human rights abuse. Furthermore, it is recommended that a dispute resolution mechanism be introduced that enables complaints for external stakeholders against business signatories, comparable to that of the Textile agreement. However, rather than implementing separate mechanisms in all agreements, an overarching mechanism for all agreements should be introduced.


Martijn Scheltema
Martijn Scheltema is Professor of Private law at Erasmus School of Law, Erasmus University Rotterdam.
Introduction

Access_open Towards Responsible Business Conduct in Global Value Chains

Relevant Legal Developments in the Netherlands

Journal Erasmus Law Review, Issue 4 2019
Keywords responsible business conduct, business and human rights, corporate social responsibility, sustainable development, the Netherlands
Authors Liesbeth Enneking and Jeroen Veldman
AbstractAuthor's information

    The past few decades have seen an increasing scrutiny of the impacts – both positive and negative – that companies have on the societies in which they operate. The search for adequate responses to such scrutiny is reflected in developments in the societal, political and academic debate on three separate but interrelated concepts: corporate social responsibility, business and human rights and responsible business conduct. The focus in this Special Issue will be on law and policy relating to responsible business conduct in global value chains. The contributions in this Special Issue identify relevant developments and institutions in the Netherlands, including rules and regulations related to trade, investment and corporate governance as well as cases related to corporate and consumer responsibilities, and assess their role in relation to the potential to provide a positive response to the concern about the human and environmental impacts of business activities. Together, they provide a multi-perspective view of relevant gaps and/or best practices with regard to regulatory governance in the Netherlands while at the same time enabling a comparative debate on the extent to which these diverse developments and institutions are in line with stated policy goals in this context both at national and EU levels. In doing so, this Special Issue aims to contribute to further coherence between national and EU policies with regard to RBC in global value chains and sustainable development.


Liesbeth Enneking
Liesbeth Enneking is Professor of Legal Aspects of International Corporate Social Responsibility at Erasmus School of Law, Erasmus University Rotterdam.

Jeroen Veldman
Jeroen Veldman is Visiting Associate Professor at Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University Rotterdam, Visiting Associate Professor at Mines Paristech, Interdisciplinary Institute for Innovation, Paris and Section Editor Corporate Governance at the Journal of Business Ethics.
Article

Access_open Due Diligence and Supply Chain Responsibilities in Specific Instances

The Compatibility of the Dutch National Contact Point’s Decisions With the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises in the Light of Decisions Made by the UK, German, Danish and Norwegian National Contact Points

Journal Erasmus Law Review, Issue 4 2019
Keywords due diligence, supply chain, OECD, NCP, specific instance
Authors Sander van ’t Foort
AbstractAuthor's information

    Since the introduction of a human rights chapter in the 2011 OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises, National Contact Points (NCPs) have been increasingly dealing with specific instances referring to human rights violations by companies. According to the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), the human rights provisions are the most cited provisions of the Guidelines. Specific instances include allegations such as a company’s failure to implement human rights due diligence, to apply the principles of free, prior and informed consent, to take supply chain responsibility, and/or to comply with the right to cultural heritage. Of all topics, human rights due diligence and human rights supply chain responsibilities are most commonly referred to in complaints based on the Guidelines. This article focuses on how NCPs have handled these topics of human rights due diligence and supply chain responsibility in specific instances. The Dutch NCP has been selected because it is celebrated in literature as the ‘gold standard’ because of its composition including independent members, its forward-looking approach, and because it is one of the most active NCPs in the world. All decisions of the Dutch NCP concerning these two topics are analysed in the light of the decisions of four other NCPs (UK, Denmark, Germany and Norway). A doctrinal methodology is used to analyse similarities and differences between the argumentations of the five NCPs.


Sander van ’t Foort
Sander van ’t Foort is Lecturer at Nyenrode Business University.
Article

Access_open Consumer Social Responsibility in Dutch Law

A Case Study on the Role of Consumers in Energy Transition

Journal Erasmus Law Review, Issue 4 2019
Keywords consumer, energy transition, social responsibility, Dutch law, EU law
Authors Katalin Cseres
AbstractAuthor's information

    As our economies continue to focus on growth, competition and maximisation of consumer choice, the global increase in consumption takes vast environmental and social costs and cause irreversible harm to our climate and environment. The urgency of reducing human footprint and to diminish one of the root causes of a declining climate and environment is irrefutable. In the shift that globally has to take place, a decentralised energy system relying on more distributed generation, energy storage and a more active involvement of consumers form a crucial component of renewable energy solutions. The move from a highly centralised to a more decentralised power system involves an increasing amount of small-scale (intermittent) generation from renewable energy which is located closer to the point of final consumption. In order to steer consumption towards sustainability national governments and supranational organisations have adopted policies and corresponding legislation that address individual consumers as rational and active choice-makers who make socially responsible choices when they receive the ‘right’ amount of information. By relying on insights from modern consumption theories with contributions from sociology, this article questions the effectiveness and legitimacy of these ‘consumer-centred’ policies and laws. First, the article argues that the single focus on individual consumer behaviour as a rational and utility maximising market actor fails to take into account the complexity of consumption, which is fundamentally influenced by social norms and its broader institutional setting. Although consumers are willing to consume more sustainably, they are often ‘locked in by circumstances’ and unable to engage in more sustainable consumption practices even if they want to. Second, by relying on evidence from sociological studies the article argues that individual consumers are not the most salient actors in support of sustainable consumption. Even though the urgency of the energy transition and the critical role consumers play in (un)sustainable energy consumption is acknowledged in both the EU and its Member States, their laws and policies remain grounded on goals of economic growth with competitive economies, the sovereignty of consumer choice and wealth maximisation, instead of aiming at slower economic growth or even degrowth, reducing overall resource use and consumption levels and introducing radically different ways of consumption.
    Third, the role of law is underlined as a social institution both as a constraint on the autonomous acts of consumption, dictating the normative frameworks within which the role of consumer is defined, and as a facilitator which consumers might also employ, in order to determine for themselves particular normative parameters within which consumption can occur.
    The Netherlands, which serves as a case study in this article, has reached important milestones in its energy transition policy since 2013. Still, it remains strongly focused on economic rationality and market competitiveness. Even though various models of consumer participation exist and local consumer energy initiatives are flourishing and are recognised as key actors in the energy transition, they remain embedded in institutional, structural and behavioural settings where consumers still face challenging sociocultural barriers to sustainable practices.
    In light of these legal, political and social complexity of energy transition, the article offers a critical analysis of the current Dutch law in its broader legal context of EU law in order to answer the question what the role of (energy) law is in steering consumers towards sustainable energy consumption.


Katalin Cseres
Katalin Cseres is Associate Professor of Law, Amsterdam Centre for European Law & Governance (ACELG), University of Amsterdam.
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