Search result: 48 articles

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Lukas van den Berge
Lukas van den Berge is assistent professor of legal theory at Utrecht University.
Article

Is Euroscepticism Contagious?

How Mainstream Parties React to Eurosceptic Challengers in Belgian Parliaments

Journal Politics of the Low Countries, Issue Online First 2021
Keywords Euroscepticism, parliaments, party competition, Belgium, federalism
Authors Jordy Weyns and Peter Bursens
AbstractAuthor's information

    Euroscepticism has long been absent among Belgian political parties. However, since the start of the century, some Eurosceptic challengers have risen. This article examines the effect of Eurosceptic competition on the salience other parties give to the EU and on the positions these parties take in parliament. Using a sample of plenary debates in the federal and regional parliaments, we track each party’s evolution from 2000 until 2019. Our findings both contradict and qualify existing theories and findings on Eurosceptic competition. When facing Eurosceptic challengers, all parties raise salience fairly equally, but government and peripheral parties adopted (soft) Euroscepticism more often than other parties.


Jordy Weyns
Jordy Weyns is a recent graduate from Universiteit Antwerpen, and will soon start a PhD program at the European University Institute in Firenze.

Peter Bursens
Peter Bursens is professor of political science at Universiteit Antwerpen, at the research group Politics and Public Governance and the GOVTRUST Centre of Excellence.
Article

Interest Representation in Belgium

Mapping the Size and Diversity of an Interest Group Population in a Multi-layered Neo-corporatist Polity

Journal Politics of the Low Countries, Issue 1 2021
Keywords interest groups, advocacy, access, advisory councils, media attention
Authors Evelien Willems, Jan Beyers and Frederik Heylen
AbstractAuthor's information

    This article assesses the size and diversity of Belgium’s interest group population by triangulating four data sources. Combining various sources allows us to describe which societal interests get mobilised, which interest organisations become politically active and who gains access to the policy process and obtains news media attention. Unique about the project is the systematic data collection, enabling us to compare interest representation at the national, Flemish and Francophone-Walloon government levels. We find that: (1) the national government level remains an important venue for interest groups, despite the continuous transfer of competences to the subnational and European levels, (2) neo-corporatist mobilisation patterns are a persistent feature of interest representation, despite substantial interest group diversity and (3) interest mobilisation substantially varies across government levels and political-administrative arenas.


Evelien Willems
Evelien Willems is a postdoctoral researcher at the Department of Political Science, University of Antwerp. Her research focuses on the interplay between interest groups, public opinion and public policy.

Jan Beyers
Jan Beyers is Full Professor of Political Science at the University of Antwerp. His current research projects focus on how interest groups represent citizens interests and to what extent the politicization of public opinion affects processes of organized interest representation in public policymaking.

Frederik Heylen
Frederik Heylen holds a PhD in Political Science from the University of Antwerp. His doctoral dissertation addresses the organizational development of civil society organizations and its internal and external consequences for interest representation. He is co-founder and CEO of Datamarinier.

Gerd Delattre
Gerd Delattre was head of the TOA-Servicebureau by DBH e. V. in Cologne/Germany for over 20 years. He is considered a pioneer of victim-offender mediation in Germany.

Christoph Willms
Christoph Willms is assistant to the head of the TOA-Servicebureau by DBH e. V. Contact authors: gerd@delattre.de, christophwillms@web.de.
Article

Access_open The Feminisation of Belgian Local Party Politics

Journal Politics of the Low Countries, Issue 2 2020
Keywords local politics, local party branches, local elections, gender quotas, Belgium
Authors Robin Devroe, Silvia Erzeel and Petra Meier
AbstractAuthor's information

    This article investigates the feminisation of local politics. Starting from the observation that the representation of women in local electoral politics lags behind the regional and federal level, and taking into account the relevance of local party branches in the recruitment and selection of candidates for elections, we examine the extent to which there is an ‘internal’ feminisation of local party branches and how this links to the ‘external’ feminisation of local electoral politics. Based on surveys among local party chairs, the article maps patterns of feminisation over time and across parties, investigates problems local branches encounter in the recruitment of candidates for local elections, and analyses the (attitudes towards the) measures taken to further the integration of women in local electoral politics. We conclude that internal and external feminisation do not always go hand in hand and that local politics continues to be a male-dominated political biotope.


Robin Devroe
Robin Devroe is a postdoctoral researcher in the Department of Political Sciences of Ghent University and member of the research group GASPAR. Her main research interest is the study of the political representation of diverse social groups and voting behaviour, with a specific focus on the descriptive representation of women, and she has a fascination for experimental methods. Her doctoral work (2019, Ghent University) focused on the prevalence of political gender stereotypes among Flemish voters. In the past, Robin was a visiting scholar at Texas A&M University (2018, US). Since 2020, she has been co-convenor of the European Consortium for Political Research’s (ECPR’s) Group on Gender and Politics.

Silvia Erzeel
Silvia Erzeel is Assistant Professor at the Department of Political Science, Vrije Universiteit Brussel. Her research interests include party politics, political representation, gender and intersectionality, and comparative politics. Her current research focuses on three main areas: the integration of gender equality in political parties, intersectionality and political representation in Europe, and the consequences of economic and social inequality for representative democracy. Since 2018, she has been co-convenor of the European Consortium for Political Research’s (ECPR’s) Standing Group on Gender and Politics.

Petra Meier
Petra Meier is Professor of Politics at the Faculty of Social Sciences, University of Antwerp. Her research focuses on the (re)presentation of gender+ in politics and policies. Late work focused on the conceptualisation of symbolic representation, how it operates and the issues at stake from an inclusive perspective. Recently, she turned to study democratic deficits in federal systems, especially Belgium, and processes of de-democratisation in general. She is particularly interested in understanding how such processes affect the demos, more particularly from a gender, an LGBTQI or an ethnic perspective, and what dynamics of marginalisation and exclusion they generate.
Article

Introduction: Parties at the Grassroots

Local Party Branches in the Low Countries

Journal Politics of the Low Countries, Issue 2 2020
Authors Bram Wauters, Simon Otjes and Emilie van Haute
Author's information

Bram Wauters
Bram Wauters is Associate Professor in the Department of Political Sciences of Ghent University, where he leads the research group GASPAR. His research interests include political representation, elections and political parties, with specific attention for diversity. He has recently published on these topics in journals such as Party Politics, Political Studies, Politics & Gender and Political Research Quarterly. He is co-editor (with Knut Heidar) of ‘Do parties still represent?’ (Routledge, 2019).

Simon Otjes
Simon Otjes is Assistant Professor of Dutch Politics at Leiden University and researcher at the Documentation Centre Dutch Political Parties of Groningen University. His research focuses on political parties, parliaments and public opinion. His research has appeared in various journals, including American Journal of Political Science and European Journal of Political Research.

Emilie van Haute
Emilie van Haute is Chair of the Department of Political Science at the Université libre de Bruxelles (ULB) and researcher at the Centre d’étude de la vie politique (Cevipol). Her research interests focus on party membership, intra-party dynamics, elections and voting behaviour. Her research has appeared in West European Politics, Party Politics, Electoral Studies, Political Studies or European Political Science. She is co-editor of Acta Politica.
Article

How to Improve Local Turnout

The Effect of Municipal Efforts to Improve Turnout in Dutch Local Elections

Journal Politics of the Low Countries, Issue 3 2019
Keywords turnout, local elections, get out the vote, campaign, the Netherlands
Authors Julien van Ostaaijen, Sabine van Zuydam and Martijn Epskamp
AbstractAuthor's information

    Even though many municipalities use a variety of means to improve turnout in local elections, citizen participation in local elections is a point of concern in many Western countries, including the Netherlands. Our research question is therefore: How effective are municipal efforts to improve turnout in (Dutch) local elections? To this end, we collected data from three sources: (1) a survey sent to the municipal clerks of 389 Dutch municipalities to learn what they do to improve turnout; (2) data from Statistics Netherlands on municipalities’ socio-demographic characteristics; and (3) data on the turnout in local elections from the Dutch Electoral Council database. Using hierarchical multiple regression analysis, we found that the direct impact of local governments’ efforts to improve turnout is low. Nevertheless, some measures seem to be able to make a difference. The relative number of polling stations was especially found to impact turnout.


Julien van Ostaaijen
Julien van Ostaaijen is assistant professor of public administration at the Tilburg Institute of Governance (Tilburg University).

Sabine van Zuydam
Sabine van Zuydam is assistant professor of public administration at the Tilburg Institute of Governance (Tilburg University) and researcher at Necker van Naem.

Martijn Epskamp
Martijn Epskamp is a researcher of the municipality of Rotterdam (Research and Business Intelligence department)
Article

Access_open Requirements upon Agreements in Favour of the NCC and the German Chambers – Clashing with the Brussels Ibis Regulation?

Journal Erasmus Law Review, Issue 1 2019
Keywords international commercial courts, the Netherlands Commercial Court (NCC), Chambers for International Commercial Disputes (Kammern für internationale Handelssachen), Brussels Ibis Regulation, choice of court agreements, formal requirements
Authors Georgia Antonopoulou
AbstractAuthor's information

    In recent years, the Netherlands and Germany have added themselves to the ever-growing number of countries opting for the creation of an international commercial court. The Netherlands Commercial Court (NCC) and the German Chambers for International Commercial Disputes (Kammern für internationale Handelssachen, KfiH) will conduct proceedings entirely in English and follow their own, diverging rules of civil procedure. Aspiring to become the future venues of choice in international commercial disputes, the NCC law and the legislative proposal for the establishment of the KfiH allow parties to agree on their jurisdiction and entail detailed provisions regulating such agreements. In particular, the NCC requires the parties’ express and in writing agreement to litigate before it. In a similar vein, the KfiH legislative proposal requires in some instances an express and in writing agreement. Although such strict formal requirements are justified by the need to safeguard the procedural rights of weaker parties such as small enterprises and protect them from the peculiarities of the NCC and the KfiH, this article questions their compliance with the requirements upon choice of court agreements under Article 25 (1) Brussels Ibis Regulation. By qualifying agreements in favour of the NCC and the KfiH first as functional jurisdiction agreements and then as procedural or court language agreements this article concludes that the formal requirements set by the NCC law and the KfiH proposal undermine the effectiveness of the Brussels Ibis Regulation, complicate the establishment of these courts’ jurisdiction and may thus threaten their attractiveness as future litigation destinations.


Georgia Antonopoulou
PhD candidate at Erasmus School of Law, Rotterdam.
Article

Reconciliation potential of Rwandans convicted of genocide

Journal The International Journal of Restorative Justice, Issue 2 2019
Keywords Rwanda, genocide, perpetrators, posttraumatic stress, reconciliation
Authors Kevin Barnes-Ceeney, Laurie Leitch and Lior Gideon
AbstractAuthor's information

    This study examines the reconciliation potential of Rwandans incarcerated for the crime of genocide. Utilising survey data from 302 male and female prisoners incarcerated in the Rwandan Correctional System, this study explores genocide perpetrators’ depression, anxiety, anger-hostility and somatic symptoms, levels of posttraumatic stress, degree of social support and attitudes towards unity and reconciliation. The data demonstrate that engaging in killing can have deep psychological impacts for genocide perpetrators. The data indicate that although more than two decades have passed since the genocide, perpetrators are experiencing high levels of genocide-related posttraumatic suffering. Perpetrators are persistently re-experiencing genocide, purposefully avoiding thoughts and memories of the genocide, and experiencing physical and emotional arousal and reactivity. The sample had a strong desire for all Rwandans to live in peace and unity. There is, however, an urgent need for physical and mental health interventions, as well as services that facilitate the rebuilding of family relationships well in advance of release. Improving the physical and mental well-being of both perpetrators of the genocide and victims can only be a positive development as Rwanda continues to build a unified, reconciled and resilient future.


Kevin Barnes-Ceeney
Kevin Barnes-Ceeney is Assistant Professor at the Henry C. Lee College of Criminal Justice and Forensic Sciences, University of New Haven, West Haven, USA.

Laurie Leitch
Laurie Leitch is Director, Threshold GlobalWorks, New York, USA.

Lior Gideon
Lior Gideon is Professor of Criminal Justice at the Department of Law, Police Science and Criminal Justice Administration at John Jay College of Criminal Justice, New York, USA.
Article

Restorative justice capacities in Middle Eastern culture and society: towards a hybrid model of juvenile justice in Palestine

Journal The International Journal of Restorative Justice, Issue 1 2019
Keywords Hybrid model, restorative justice, non-state justice, Palestine, Middle East
Authors Mutaz Qafisheh and Ali Wardak
AbstractAuthor's information

    Alongside the state juvenile justice system, various forms of non-state justice providers are strongly prevalent in Palestine. Although the state juvenile justice has evolved into a modern system, it lacks adequate human, professional and infrastructural capacities to provide effective justice to all children. This field research has identified key non-state justice providers in Palestine and reveals that they are more accessible and speedy and also place more emphasis on peacemaking and reconciliation than the state justice system. It also reveals that in the processes of justice dispensation, occasional violation of children’s rights takes place within some of the male-dominated non-state justice providers. In order to minimise rights violation, while capitalising on the restorative capacities of non-state justice providers, a ‘hybrid model of juvenile justice in Palestine’ has been developed and is proposed. It is argued in this article that the ‘hybrid model’ not only promises to provide a coherent framework of links between Palestinian state juvenile justice and non-state justice providers, but also has the capacity to minimise rights violation through proposed internal and external oversight mechanisms. It is further maintained that translating the hybrid model into practice may result in the provision of more accessible, inclusive and restorative juvenile justice to all children in Palestine.


Mutaz Qafisheh
Mutaz Qafisheh is Dean and Associate Professor of International Law, College of Law and Political Science, Hebron University, Hebron, Palestine.

Ali Wardak
Ali Wardak is Professor of Criminology, University of South Wales, Pontypridd, United Kingdom.
Report

The 2018 Manfred Lachs Space Law Moot Court Competition

Case Concerning Conflicting Activities in Outer Space, Planetary Protection, and Outer Space Security (The Democratic Republic of Neapilia v. The Republic of Kalvion)

Journal International Institute of Space Law, Issue 12 2018
Authors Melissa K. Force
Author's information

Melissa K. Force
Co-Chair, Manfred Lachs Space Law Moot Court Committee, IISL.
Article

Ze halen hun slag wel thuis

Over particratie en het aanpassingsvermogen van Belgische partijen

Journal Res Publica, Issue 4 2018
Keywords dealignment, electoral support, federalism, gender, particracy, personalisation
Authors Jean-Benoit Pilet and Petra Meier
AbstractAuthor's information

    Particracy has been widely used to describe Belgian politics after World War II. Yet, Belgian politics has changed. We examine five changes – the federalisation of the state architecture, diversification of the demos, erosion of political support, party’s dealignment and personalisation of politics – to evaluate how they have affected particracy in Belgium. The answer is twofold: particracy is still very strong, but it has changed. The three traditional party families that had institutionalised particracy in Belgium (Christian-democrats, socialists and liberals) had to face new challengers. They co-opted the most moderate ones (greens, regionalists), while excluding others (radical right/left). Intraparty democracy/participatory/transparency reforms, or changes to the electoral system, all of them opening the political system, were also implemented, but parties were able to overcome them. Yet, the ever-growing gap between traditional parties and citizens and the growth of new parties building upon voters’ dissatisfaction with traditional parties, may put particracy more radically into question.


Jean-Benoit Pilet
Jean-Benoit Pilet is hoogleraar in de Politieke Wetenschappen aan de Université Libre de Bruxelles (ULB). Hij doet onderzoek naar politieke partijen, kiessystemen, kiesgedrag, de personalisering van de politiek en democratische vernieuwing. Over die thema’s publiceerde hij boeken bij Oxford University Press en Routledge en artikels in wetenschappelijke tijdschriften zoals European Journal of Political Reform, West European Politics, Party Politics, Electoral Studies, Environmental Politics, Representation, Journal of Elections, Public Opinion and Parties, Res Publica, Revue Française de Science Politique en Comparative European Politics.

Petra Meier
Petra Meier, hoogleraar Politieke Wetenschappen aan de Universiteit Antwerpen, focust op de representatie van gender, de reproductie van ongelijkheid en de constructie van normativiteit in politiek/beleid. Zij publiceerde recent een aantal special issues over de ontwikkeling van gender beleid (Journal of Women, Politics and Policies; met Emanuela Lombardo en Mieke Verloo), symbolische vertegenwoordiging (Politics, Groups, and Identities; met Tania Verge) en een boek over de professionalisering van de strijd voor gelijkheid (Academia L’Harmattan; met David Paternotte).

Marie Keenan
Marie Keenan is a lecturer and researcher at the School of Social Policy, Social Work and Social Justice, University College Dublin, a forensic and systemic psychologist and a restorative justice practitioner, Dublin, Ireland. Contact author: marie.keenan@ucd.ie.
Article

Implementing Agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development in Africa

Is It Time to Shift the Paradigm on Law and Development?

Journal European Journal of Law Reform, Issue 1 2018
Keywords Agenda 2030, Law and Development, Sustainable Development Goals, Rule of Law, Professor Robert Seidman, Institutionalist Legislative Theory and Methodology, Goal 16, Jurisprudence of Development
Authors Elizabeth Bakibinga-Gaswaga
AbstractAuthor's information

    This article discusses the relevance of Law and Development theories to the successful implementation or attainment of goals set out in Agenda 2030 in Africa. It zeros in on Sustainable Development Goal 16 and the role of rule of law to development. This article focuses on the work of the Law and Development movement and highlights the contribution of Prof. Robert Seidman to law and development for decades in newly independent African states. It examines the application of the Institutionalist Legislative Theory and Methodology, including the strengths and flaws, and makes recommendations on relevant lessons for rule of law practitioners, especially in terms of developing institutions and legal frameworks, promoting law and development research and building capacity through legal education. While this article does not provide recommendations on the best law and development model or theory, it raises some pertinent issues and makes practical recommendations on the way forward in the short to medium term.


Elizabeth Bakibinga-Gaswaga
Legal Adviser on the rule of law at The Commonwealth Secretariat. Former Vice President of Commonwealth Association of Legislative Counsel (CALC).
Article

Hoop en verraad: wat moslimjongeren verwachten van vertegenwoordigers met een etnische minderheidsachtergrond

Journal Res Publica, Issue 4 2017
Keywords social group representation, focus group methods, feelings of (not) being represented, Muslim youth
Authors Soumia Akachar, Karen Celis and Eline Severs
AbstractAuthor's information

    This paper employs focus group data with Flemish muslim youth to explore how they deal with the visible emergence of ethnic minority representatives (EMRs) in Belgian elected bodies. The focus groups tap into their shared identity experiences and subsequent expectations vis-à-vis EMRs. Using grounded theory to analyse our data, we distinguish three different EMR typologies: those who are autonomous yet loyal to the group, those who are responsive to ethnic/religious issues but perceived as reductive, and those who sell-out to mainstream politics. These typologies challenge approaches presuming the extent to which representatives advance policies responsive to group members’ interests as ideal or desirable.


Soumia Akachar
Soumia Akachar promoveert bij de Afdeling Politieke Wetenschappen aan de Vrije Universiteit Brussel. Ze doet onderzoek naar de politieke vertegenwoordiging van moslimjongeren in Vlaanderen en de mate waarin ze zich al dan niet vertegenwoordigd voelen. Soumia maakt deel uit van het onderzoeksprogramma ‘Evaluating Democratic Governance in Europe’ en is ook lid van RHEA, het Expertisecentrum Gender, Diversiteit en Intersectionaliteit aan de VUB.

Karen Celis
Karen Celis is als onderzoeksprofessor verbonden aan de Vakgroep Politieke Wetenschappen van de Vrije Universiteit Brussel en is codirecteur Onderzoek van RHEA het VUB-expertisecentrum Gender, Diversiteit, Intersectionaliteit. Ze verricht theoretisch en empirisch onderzoek naar de kwaliteit van democratische vertegenwoordiging vanuit het perspectief van achtergestelde groepen. Ze is coredacteur van de European Journal of Politics and Gender en de Routledge-boekenreeks Gender and Comparative Politics.

Eline Severs
Eline Severs doceert politieke wetenschappen aan de Vrije Universiteit Brussel. Haar onderzoek concentreert zich voornamelijk op vraagstukken van democratische vertegenwoordiging, de betekenis van legitimiteit, en democratische inclusie. Recent redigeerde ze, samen met Suzanne Dovi (University of Arizona), een symposium over de ethiek van vertegenwoordigers in PS: Political Science and Politics (2018, forthcoming).

    Ongeveer 20% van de echtscheidingen loopt uit op een zogenaamde conflict- of vechtscheiding. Om deze complexe echtscheidingszaken effectief aan te pakken, dienen professionals in het veld te beschikken over wetenschappelijk onderbouwde kennis over werkzame interventies. Mediation wordt vaak beschouwd als dé oplossing voor conflictscheidingen. Wetenschappelijk onderzoek laat echter een beperkte effectiviteit zien van mediation bij conflictscheidingen. Dit heeft onder andere te maken met de hoge prevalentie (rond 40%) van huiselijk geweld in conflictscheidingsgezinnen.
    In dit onderzoek is de visie van Nederlandse professionals over conflictscheidingen onderzocht en vergeleken met de kennis uit de wetenschappelijke literatuur. Met behulp van een online vragenlijst testten we het kennisniveau van 863 professionals die werken met conflictscheidingsgezinnen. Dit waren advocaten, professionals uit de jeugdzorg/-bescherming, mediators en professionals uit de GGZ.
    Professionals behaalden een gemiddelde score van 6,5 correcte antwoorden op een totaal van 11, waarbij juridische professionals significant beter scoorden dan sociale professionals. Slechts 17% van de professionals wist dat in bijna de helft van de conflictscheidingen huiselijk geweld een rol speelt. 55% van de professionals adviseerde in een geval van een al 7 jaar durende conflictscheiding mediation als effectieve interventie. 46% van de respondenten overschatte de prevalentie van valse beschuldigingen van huiselijk geweld en kindermishandeling bij conflictscheidingen.
    In opleidingen voor Nederlandse juridische en sociale professionals die werken met conflictscheidingsgezinnen dient meer aandacht besteed te worden aan wetenschappelijke kennis, zodat professionals handelen op basis van kennis in plaats van persoonlijke opvattingen en mythen.
    ---
    High conflict divorces are among the 20% of divorce cases that continue to escalate over time. In order to help solve these complex divorce cases, it is important that professionals in the field possess evidence-based knowledge to provide effective interventions. One of these possible interventions is mediation, which is often seen as a panacea for high-conflict divorce (HCD) cases. However, scientific research has shown limited effectiveness of mediation in HCD cases. This is partially associated with the high prevalence (around 40%) of domestic violence in HCD.
    The present study examined professionals’ perspectives on high conflict-divorce cases and compared their views with the available scientific evidence. By means of a web-survey, we tested the knowledge of different professional groups (N = 863) who work with HCD families. The sample consisted of lawyers, child welfare/child protection professionals, mediators and mental health professionals.
    The results showed that professionals on average gave 6.5 correct responses out of 11 questions in total and that legal professionals scored significantly better than social professionals. Only 17% of the professionals were aware that in almost half of all high-conflict divorce cases domestic violence is a problem. For a high-conflict divorce case spanning 7 years, mediation was advised as an effective intervention by 55% of professionals. 46% of respondents overestimated the prevalence of false allegations of child abuse in HCD cases.
    More attention to scientific knowledge on HCD in the educational curricula for Dutch legal and social professionals is needed, in order to assure that their professional activities and decision making are based on scientific evidence instead of personal biases and myths.


Prof. dr. Corine de Ruiter
Prof. dr. Corine de Ruiter is a licensed clinical psychologist (BIG) in The Netherlands. She serves as professor of Forensic Psychology at Maastricht University. She also has a private practice. Her research focuses on the interface between psychopathology and crime. She has a special interest in the prevention of child abuse and intimate partner violence because they are both very common and often overlooked in practice.

Brigitte van Pol Msc
Brigitte van Pol studied Psychology and Law at Maastricht University. Her involvement in this research dates from her Master’s thesis on the role of mediation in high conflict divorce. The authors would like to thank the participants for their time and effort in completing our websurvey.
Editorial

Access_open Legal Control on Social Control of Sex Offenders in the Community: A European Comparative and Human Rights Perspective

Journal Erasmus Law Review, Issue 2 2016
Keywords social control, folk devils, moral panic, dangerousness, sex offenders
Authors Michiel van der Wolf (Issue Editor)
AbstractAuthor's information

    This paper provides first of all the introduction to this special issue on ‘Legal constraints on the indeterminate control of “dangerous” sex offenders in the community: A European comparative and human rights perspective’. The issue is the outcome of a study that aims at finding the way legal control can not only be an instrument but also be a controller of social control. It is explained what social control is and how the concept of moral panic plays a part in the fact that sex offenders seem to be the folk devils of our time and subsequently pre-eminently the target group of social control at its strongest. Further elaboration of the methodology reveals why focussing on post-sentence (indeterminate) supervision is relevant, as there are hardly any legal constraints in place in comparison with measures of preventive detention. Therefore, a comparative approach within Europe is taken on the basis of country reports from England and Wales, France, Germany, The Netherlands and Spain. In the second part of the paper, the comparative analysis is presented. Similar shifts in attitudes towards sex offenders have led to legislation concerning frameworks of supervision in all countries but in different ways. Legal constraints on these frameworks are searched for in legal (sentencing) theory, the principles of proportionality and least intrusive means, and human rights, mainly as provided in the European Convention on Human Rights to which all the studied countries are subject. Finally, it is discussed what legal constraints on the control of sex offenders in the community are (to be) in place in European jurisdictions, based on the analysis of commonalities and differences found in the comparison.


Michiel van der Wolf (Issue Editor)
Ph.D., LL.M, M.Sc., Reader in Criminal Law (Theory) and Forensic Psychiatry at the Erasmus School of Law; Member of the Editorial Board of the Erasmus Law Review.
Article

Access_open Legal Constraints on the Indeterminate Control of ‘Dangerous’ Sex Offenders in the Community: The German Perspective

Journal Erasmus Law Review, Issue 2 2016
Keywords Supervision, twin track system, principle of proportionality, human rights, violent and sex offenders
Authors Bernd-Dieter Meier
AbstractAuthor's information

    After release from prison or a custodial preventive institution, offenders may come under supervision in Germany, which means that their conduct is controlled for a period of up to five years or even for life by a judicial supervising authority. Supervision is terminated if it can be expected that even in the absence of further supervision the released person will not commit any further offences. From the theoretical point of view, supervision is not considered a form of punishment in Germany, but a preventive measure that is guided by the principle of proportionality. After a presentation of the German twin track system of criminal sanctions and a glimpse at sentencing theory, the capacity of the principle of proportionality to guide and control judicial decisions in the field of preventive sanctions is discussed. The human rights perspective plays only a minor role in the context of supervision in Germany.


Bernd-Dieter Meier
Prof. Dr. Bernd-Dieter Meier is the Chair in Criminal Law and Criminology at the Law Faculty of Leibniz University Hannover.
Article

Access_open Legal Constraints on the Indeterminate Control of ‘Dangerous’ Sex Offenders in the Community: The Dutch Perspective

Journal Erasmus Law Review, Issue 2 2016
Keywords Dutch penal law, preventive supervision, dangerous offenders, human rights, social rehabilitation
Authors Sanne Struijk and Paul Mevis
AbstractAuthor's information

    In the Netherlands, the legal possibilities for post-custodial supervision have been extended considerably in recent years. A currently passed law aims to further increase these possibilities specifically for dangerous (sex) offenders. This law consists of three separate parts that may all result in life-long supervision. In the first two parts, the supervision is embedded in the conditional release after either a prison sentence or the safety measure ‘ter beschikking stelling’ (TBS). This paper focuses on the third part of the law, which introduces an independent supervisory safety measure as a preventive continuation of both a prison sentence and the TBS measure. Inevitably, this new independent sanction raises questions about legitimacy and necessity, on which this paper reflects from a human rights perspective. Against the background of the existing Dutch penal law system, the content of the law is thoroughly assessed in view of the legal framework of the Council of Europe and the legal principles of proportionality and less restrictive means. In the end, we conclude that the supervisory safety measure is not legitimate nor necessary (yet). Apart from the current lack of (empirical evidence of) necessity, we state that there is a real possibility of an infringement of Article 5(4) ECHR and Article 7 ECHR, a lack of legitimising supervision ‘gaps’ in the existing penal law system, and finally a lack of clear legal criteria. Regardless of the potential severity of violent (sex) offenses, to simply justify this supervisory safety measure on the basis of ‘better safe than sorry’ is not enough.


Sanne Struijk
Sanne Struijk, Ph.D., is an Associate Professor at the Erasmus School of Law.

Paul Mevis
Paul Mevis is a Professor at the Erasmus School of Law.
Article

Access_open The Right to Mental Health in the Digital Era

Journal Erasmus Law Review, Issue 3 2016
Keywords E-health, e-mental health, right to health, right to mental health
Authors Fatemeh Kokabisaghi, Iris Bakx and Blerta Zenelaj
AbstractAuthor's information

    People with mental illness usually experience higher rates of disability and mortality. Often, health care systems do not adequately respond to the burden of mental disorders worldwide. The number of health care providers dealing with mental health care is insufficient in many countries. Equal access to necessary health services should be granted to mentally ill people without any discrimination. E-mental health is expected to enhance the quality of care as well as accessibility, availability and affordability of services. This paper examines under what conditions e-mental health can contribute to realising the right to health by using the availability, accessibility, acceptability and quality (AAAQ) framework that is developed by the Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights. Research shows e-mental health facilitates dissemination of information, remote consultation and patient monitoring and might increase access to mental health care. Furthermore, patient participation might increase, and stigma and discrimination might be reduced by the use of e-mental health. However, e-mental health might not increase the access to health care for everyone, such as the digitally illiterate or those who do not have access to the Internet. The affordability of this service, when it is not covered by insurance, can be a barrier to access to this service. In addition, not all e-mental health services are acceptable and of good quality. Policy makers should adopt new legal policies to respond to the present and future developments of modern technologies in health, as well as e-Mental health. To analyse the impact of e-mental health on the right to health, additional research is necessary.


Fatemeh Kokabisaghi
Fatemeh Kokabisaghi, Iris Bakx and Blerta Zenelaj are Ph.D. candidates at the Institute of Health Policy and Management, Erasmus University Rotterdam. All authors contributed equally.

Iris Bakx
Fatemeh Kokabisaghi, Iris Bakx and Blerta Zenelaj are Ph.D. candidates at the Institute of Health Policy and Management, Erasmus University Rotterdam. All authors contributed equally.

Blerta Zenelaj
Fatemeh Kokabisaghi, Iris Bakx and Blerta Zenelaj are Ph.D. candidates at the Institute of Health Policy and Management, Erasmus University Rotterdam. All authors contributed equally.
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