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Article

Access_open Cutting Corners or Enhancing Efficiency?

Simplified Procedures and the Israeli Quest to Speed up Justice

Journal Erasmus Law Review, Issue 4 2015
Keywords Israel, austerity, civil procedure, simplified procedures, small claims
Authors Ehud Brosh
AbstractAuthor's information

    Israel was spared the worst of the world financial crisis of 2008-2009. However, austerity concerns are by no means invisible in the developments in the field of civil procedure. These concerns correlate heavily with the long-standing Israeli preoccupation with ‘speeding up’ justice. An array of simplified procedural tracks, aimed at addressing the perceived inadequacy of ‘standard’ procedure, have been developed in Israel over the years. The importance of simplified procedures in the Israeli system cannot be overestimated. Their development illustrates the dialectical tension between the values of ‘efficiency’ and ‘quality’ in the administration of justice. During periods of austerity, the scales are easily (or easier) tipped in favour of efficiency and general or particular simplification of procedure. In times of prosperity, on the other hand, concerns over ‘quality’, access to justice, and truth discovery predominate, and attempts at promoting efficiency and/or simplification at their expense tend to be bogged down. Such attempts also tend to lose their extrinsic legitimacy and are widely viewed as ‘cutting corners’. This is evident in the recent Israeli experience with civil procedure reform.


Ehud Brosh
Ehud Brosh, LL.M., is a research student at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.
Article

Access_open Relief in Small and Simple Matters in Belgium

Journal Erasmus Law Review, Issue 4 2015
Keywords Belgium, small matters, simple matters, recovery of unchallenged claims, summary order for payment
Authors Stefaan Voet
AbstractAuthor's information

    This article is based on a national report that was written for the XVth World Congress of the International Association of Procedural Law that was held in Istanbul in May 2015 and that focused on Effective Judicial Relief and Remedies in an Age of Austerity. It first of all sketches the general judicial context in Belgium and some of its relevant features: the judicial organisation, the goals of the civil justice system, the course of an ordinary civil lawsuit, the role of the court, and the litigation costs. Next, a detailed and critical overview of the current and future procedures that offer relief in small and simple matters is given. The current summary order for payment procedure, which was introduced in 1967, did not meet its goals. The article concludes that a new trend is emerging in Belgium, namely keeping small and unchallenged claims outside the judiciary and providing for cheaper and more efficient alternatives.


Stefaan Voet
Stefaan Voet is an Associate Professor of Law at the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven and a Visiting Professor at the Universiteit Hasselt.
Article

Access_open The Norm of Integrity in Corporate Governance Codes: Could It Be Made Enforceable?

Journal The Dovenschmidt Quarterly, Issue 2 2015
Keywords corporate governance, integrity, legal strategies, Goldman Sachs
Authors B.T.M. Steins Bisschop
AbstractAuthor's information

    The faring of Goldman Sachs during the financial crisis of 2008 is discussed against the background of legal instruments that were employed to avoid its failure. This discussion leads to the conclusion that in this case, the limits of classical legal instruments were reached. To further good corporate governance, the legal relevance of the term ‘integrity’ is explored. It is concluded that the legal term of integrity is used universally in corporate governance codes, but is not operational and therefore not enforceable. An attempt is made to redefine this general principle into a more operational term. This is tested in the case of Goldman Sachs’ executive Jon Winkelried. It is assumed that he has violated the standard of integrity but also that there were no enforceable legal means to sanction his behaviour. The conclusion is that the more operational interpretation of the term integrity could, in this case, have resulted in an enforceable legal instrument to sanction behaviour that is contrary to the norm of integrity. This operational term of integrity could aid in the debate on furthering good corporate governance through enforceable legal strategies.


B.T.M. Steins Bisschop
Prof. Dr. Bas T.M. Steins Bisschop holds a chair Corporate Law and Governance at the Faculty of Law of Maastricht University and a chair Corporate Law at Nyenrode Business University. He is partner of a boutique law firm in The Hague, The Netherlands.
Article

Access_open The 2015 Proposal for an EU Directive on the Societas Unius Personae (SUP)

Another Attempt to Square the Circle?

Journal The Dovenschmidt Quarterly, Issue 2 2015
Keywords EU law harmonisation, single member private companies, Proposed SUP Directive, European ‘trade mark’
Authors Stephan Rammeloo
AbstractAuthor's information

    Stimulating business throughout the Single Market, not in the least for Small- and Medium-Sized Enterprises (SMEs), is one of the key priorities of the EU’s ten-year growth strategy, ‘Europe 2020’. One of the strategies to achieve this goal is the recently developed legal concept of a ‘European trademark’ for single member private limited liability companies duly established under the laws of any EU Member State and complying with preconditions required by a draft Proposal for a Directive on the Societas Unius Personae (SUP). The 2015 Compromising text, having replaced the initial 2014 Draft for a Directive requires to be analysed in view of its ‘scope’ (functional and geographical reach). Furthermore, attention is given to matters of formation and ‘long distance’ registration, share capital, internal organization and functioning of company organs, the functioning of SUP’s as stand alone companies or SUP’s embedded in company group or chain structures. Critical observations inter alia focus on relinquished provisions on the SUP’s seat as well as the powers of SUP organs and on ‘national law’ creeping in the Proposed Directive more and more at the cost of legal certainty and legal coherence between EU law instruments relevant to private limited liability companies.


Stephan Rammeloo
Associate Professor EU Company Law, Private International Law and Comparative Law, Maastricht University.
Article

Access_open Religious Sovereignty and Group Exemptions

A Response to Jean Cohen

Journal Netherlands Journal of Legal Philosophy, Issue 3 2015
Keywords democracy, exemptions, group rights, religious institutionalism
Authors Jonathan Seglow
AbstractAuthor's information

    This response concurs with Cohen’s critique of the Hobby Lobby and Hosanna-Tabor cases but investigates whether religious accommodation might sometimes be justified in the case of institutions and groups (not just individuals). It suggests that exemptions for associations that are recruited to advance state purposes (e.g., in welfare or education) may be more justifiable than where private associations seek to maintain illiberal – for example, discriminatory – rules in line with their religious ethos. Non-democratic associations with a strong religious ethos might in principle enjoy permissible accommodation on the grounds that its members acquiesced to that ethos by joining the association, but only if other conditions are met. Democratic associations with a religious ethos have in principle a stronger claim for accommodation; in practice, however, few religious associations are internally democratic, especially where they seek to preserve illiberal internal rules.


Jonathan Seglow
Jonathan Seglow is Reader in Political Theory in the Department of Politics and International Relations at Royal Holloway, University of London.
Article

Access_open Freedom of Religion, Inc.: Whose Sovereignty?

Journal Netherlands Journal of Legal Philosophy, Issue 3 2015
Keywords accommodation, freedom of religion, political theology, liberalism, liberty of conscience
Authors Jean L. Cohen
AbstractAuthor's information

    This article focuses on an expansive conception of religious freedom propagated by a vocal group of American legal scholars – jurisdictional pluralists – often working with well-funded conservative foundations and influencing accommodation decisions throughout the US. I show that the proliferation of ‘accommodation’ claims in the name of church autonomy and religious conscience entailing exemption from civil regulation and anti-discrimination laws required by justice have a deep structure that has little to do with fairness or inclusion or liberal pluralism. Instead they are tantamount to sovereignty claims, involving powers and immunities for the religious, implicitly referring to another, higher law and sovereign than the constitution or the people. The twenty-first century version of older pluralist ‘freedom of religion’ discourses also rejects the comprehensive jurisdiction and scope of public, civil law – this time challenging the ‘monistic sovereignty’ of the democratic constitutional state. I argue that the jurisdictional pluralist approach to religious freedom challenges liberal democratic constitutionalism at its core and should be resisted wherever it arises.


Jean L. Cohen
Jean L. Cohen is the Nell and Herbert M. Singer Professor of Political Thought and Contemporary Civilization at the Department of Political Science of Columbia University (New York) and will be the Emile Noel Fellow at the Jean Monet Center of the NYU Law School from January till June 2016.
Article

Access_open Corporate Social Responsibility via Shareholders’ Proposals

Journal The Dovenschmidt Quarterly, Issue 1 2015
Keywords corporate social responsibility, shareholders, Rule 14a-8, social proposals, strategy
Authors Maria Paz Godoy Uson
AbstractAuthor's information

    Can shareholders’ proposals be considered as a mainstream alternative to incorporate social and environmental policies into the core businesses strategy? Proposing non-financial resolutions at the general meeting of shareholders is a form of shareholders’ activism that is shaping company’s direction. The American court case Lovenheim v. Iroquois Brands, Ltd. confirms that social and environmental issues, when significantly related to the core business, can give rise to new business directions firmly promoted by shareholders, resting authorial power to the board of directors in conducting the company’s direction. The US SEC Rule 14a-8 is widely used by social activists and institutional investors to influence the direction of business in becoming more sustainable. In virtue of the American Rule 14a-8, shareholders may include proposals in the company’s proxy materials and, thereby, compel a vote on the issue at the annual shareholders’ meeting. The result is that American shareholders’ proposals are being considered as an effective gateway to improve corporations’ social and environmental behaviour. This article examines, from a comparative perspective, the further developments of shareholders’ social proposals with the attempt to incorporate social and environmental policies into the core business. The article also suggests that the increasing demand of social proposals promoted by American shareholders versus the limited activity of shareholders’ proposals in Continental European jurisdictions is precipitating the process of converge between the main corporate governance models; the shareholder-oriented model and the stakeholder-oriented model, respectively. The issue of CSR via shareholders’ proposals as presented here is primarily based on literature and various cases related to SEC 14a-8, more in particular on lessons drawn from Lovenheim v. Iroquois Brands, Ltd.


Maria Paz Godoy Uson
PhD Fellow Maastricht University.
Article

The Role of Non-Governmental Organizations in Advancing International Criminal Justice

Journal African Journal of International Criminal Justice, Issue 1 2015
Keywords Non-governmental organizations, NGOs and international criminal justice, civil society and human rights, non-state actors in international law
Authors Charles Chernor Jalloh
AbstractAuthor's information

    This article examines the role of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in advancing international criminal justice. I argue that NGOs have had considerable impact by contributing, among other things, to the global struggle against impunity through advocacy for the creation of more robust institutional mechanisms to prosecute those who perpetrate such crimes. This ranges from supporting the processes that led to the creation of several ad hoc international tribunals for Yugoslavia, Rwanda and Sierra Leone, all the way through to their support for the establishment of an independent permanent international penal court based in The Hague. The crux of my claim is that a historically sensitive approach to evaluating the role of NGOs in international governance shows that these entities are not only willing, but also capable of enhancing the protection of human rights and international criminal justice especially but not exclusively in less developed regions of the world.


Charles Chernor Jalloh
Associate Professor, Florida International University, College of Law, Miami, USA. Email: jallohc@gmail.com.

Anita Rinner
University of Graz, Austria
Article

Pursuing the Best Interest of Children in Non-Traditional Families

A Comparative Overview

Journal European Journal of Law Reform, Issue 2 2015
Keywords best interest of the child, equality, non-traditional families, new bills, comparative analysis
Authors Denise Amram
AbstractAuthor's information

    The need to build a legal paradigm corresponding to the current evolution of society is one of the most important challenges that family lawyers are facing in the last years. In this regard, this paper illustrates the new Italian, French, and Irish reforms aimed at pursuing the best interest of the child within non-traditional families.


Denise Amram
Postdoc researcher in Comparative Private Law, DIRPOLIS Department – Scuola Superiore di Studi Universitari e Perfezionamento Sant’Anna – Pisa, Italy and Italian Qualified Solicitor.
Article

Identifying the Impetus behind the Europeanization of the Private International Law Rules on Family Matters and Succession

Journal European Journal of Law Reform, Issue 2 2015
Keywords area of freedom security and justice, EU citizenship, free movement of persons, international family matters, international succession
Authors Jacqueline Gray PhD
AbstractAuthor's information

    The EU is currently in the midst of unifying the private international law rules on family matters and succession. This article seeks to explain this expansion into essentially non-economic territory. In order to do so, it presents the ideological, problem-based, and legal considerations that appear to lie at the heart of legislative action in these fields. However, as will become apparent, it is the role of the Member States that is crucial in guiding this process.


Jacqueline Gray PhD
PhD Candidate, Utrecht Centre for European Research into Family Law, Utrecht University.
Article

To Recognize or Not to Recognize? That Is the Question!

Motherhood in Cross-Border Surrogacy Cases

Journal European Journal of Law Reform, Issue 2 2015
Keywords cross-border surrogacy, motherhood, private international law, ordre public, European Human Right Convention
Authors Stefanie Sucker PhD
AbstractAuthor's information

    This article describes the status quo in cross-border surrogacy cases, more specifically how national courts deal with the recognition of parenthood validly established abroad. As the recognition of motherhood is deemed to violate the national ordre public, the solutions so far, i.e. recognition of fatherhood and adoption, will be examined. Moreover, the arguments for an alleged ordre public-violation concerning motherhood will be presented. Finally, the question whether the European Human Right Convention has an impact on the interpretation of the best interest of the child will be answered.


Stefanie Sucker PhD
The author is currently writing a (German) PhD on the topic of cross-border surrogacy. She analyses private international and procedural law questions of German, Dutch, French and Austrian law. Thus, reference as examples will be made to these legal systems.
Article

Article 15 Brussels II-bis

Two Views from Different Sides of the Channel

Journal European Journal of Law Reform, Issue 2 2015
Keywords international jurisdiction, transfer of proceedings, international parental responsibility
Authors Ian Curry-Sumner and Maria Wright
AbstractAuthor's information

    Article 15 Brussels II-bis provides for the transfer of jurisdiction from one Member State to another. This contribution examines the conditions and practice surrounding the application of Article 15 Brussels II-bis from two jurisdictions, namely the Netherlands, and England and Wales. From this comparison it is clear that there are evident divergent viewpoints as to the approach to be taken with Article 15 Brussels II-bis. This article is, therefore, aimed at bringing those differences in approach to the forefront so as to assist the European legislature in the ongoing evaluation of the Brussels II-bis Regulation.


Ian Curry-Sumner
Ian Curry-Sumner is the owner of Voorts Legal Services (a legal consultancy firm specialized in training and advice in the field of international family law based in Dordrecht, the Netherlands).

Maria Wright
Maria Wright is a family law solicitor based at Freemans Solicitors in London, United Kingdom.
Article

Spanish Matrimonial Property Regimes and CEFL Principles Regarding Property Relations between Spouses

Common Core and Better Law

Journal European Journal of Law Reform, Issue 2 2015
Keywords matrimonial property regimes, Commission on European family law, Spanish civil law, common core, better law
Authors Dr. Pablo Quinzá Redondo
AbstractAuthor's information

    This article compares the CEFL principles to Spanish civil law regarding the general rights and duties of spouses, matrimonial property agreements and matrimonial property rights, i.e., property relations between spouses, by detecting where the latter follows the common core or better law approach solution selected by the former.


Dr. Pablo Quinzá Redondo
Dr. Pablo Quinzá Redondo is professor of Private International Law at the Faculty of Law of Pontificia Universidad Católica de Valparaiso (Chile).

Sumara M. Thompson-King
General Counsel, National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), United States

Robin J. Frank
Acting Associate General Counsel for International Law, National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), United States

Anita Rinner
University of Graz, Austria

    Zowel in België als in Nederland komt draagmoederschap voor. Deze bijdrage heeft tot doel om de houding van de twee buurlanden ten aanzien van dit controversiële fenomeen te onderzoeken en te vergelijken.
    De wensouders en draagmoeders ervaren meerdere juridische obstakels. Zo blijkt in beide landen de draagmoederschapsovereenkomst niet geldig en evenmin afdwingbaar te zijn. Hoewel in Nederland de mogelijkheid bestaat om het ouderlijk gezag over te dragen van draagmoeder naar wensouders, is het ook daar, net zoals in België, allesbehalve evident om de band tussen kind en wensouders juridisch te verwezenlijken. Noch de oorspronkelijke, noch de adoptieve afstamming is aan het fenomeen aangepast. Vooral voor Nederland is dit vreemd aangezien de Nederlandse wetgeving uitdrukkelijk bepaalt onder welke voorwaarden medisch begeleid draagmoederschap toegelaten is. De wet schept met andere woorden een gezondheidsrechtelijk kader, maar regelt niet de gevolgen van het draagmoederschap. In België is er daarentegen geen enkele wetgeving betreffende draagmoederschap. Dit betekent dat de onaangepaste wetgeving betreffende medisch begeleide voortplanting van toepassing is op draagmoederschap. Over deze toepassing en de gevolgen ervan bestaat evenwel onduidelijkheid. Commercialisering van draagmoederschap leidt ook tot problemen. In Nederland is professionele bemiddeling en het openbaar maken van vraag en aanbod met betrekking tot draagmoederschap strafbaar gesteld. Daarnaast kunnen de omstandigheden van een zaak waarin het kind als het ware verkocht wordt aan de wensouders zowel in België als in Nederland leiden tot andere misdrijven. Gelet op dit alles begeven sommige wensouders zich naar het buitenland om daar beroep te doen op draagmoederschap. Wensen zij terug te keren met het kind naar het land van herkomst, dan leidt dit in beide buurlanden tot internationaalprivaatrechtelijke problemen.
    Door het gebrek aan een algemeen wettelijk kader, is het draagmoederschapsproces in beide landen vaak een calvarietocht. Dit leidt tot rechtsonzekerheid. Oproepen tot een wettelijk ingrijpen bleven tot nu toe echter onbeantwoord.
    Surrogacy is practiced in Belgium and the Netherlands. The aim of this contribution is to compare the many legal aspects of the phenomenon. In both countries legal problems surround surrogacy: the surrogacy contract is unenforceable; it is difficult for the intended parents to become the legal parents; commercial surrogacy can result in criminal sanctions and cross-border surrogacy leads to limping legal relations. The main differences between the two legal systems are that in Belgium there is no regulation at all, while in the Netherlands, professional mediation and advertising in surrogacy are explicitly forbidden and Dutch law provides a limited health law regulation. In both countries scholars have pressed the need for legal change.


Dr. Liesbet Pluym Ph.D.
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