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Article

Access_open The Role of the Vienna Rules in the Interpretation of the ECHR A Normative Basis or a Source of Inspiration?

Journal Erasmus Law Review, Issue 2 2021
Keywords European Convention on Human Rights, European Court of Human Rights, techniques of interpretation, the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties
Authors Eszter Polgári
AbstractAuthor's information

    The interpretive techniques applied by the European Court of Human Rights are instrumental in filling the vaguely formulated rights-provisions with progressive content, and their use provoked widespread criticism. The article argues that despite the scarcity of explicit references to the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties, all the ECtHR’s methods and doctrines of interpretation have basis in the VCLT, and the ECtHR has not developed a competing framework. The Vienna rules are flexible enough to accommodate the interpretive rules developed in the ECHR jurisprudence, although effectiveness and evolutive interpretation is favoured – due to the unique nature of Convention – over the more traditional means of interpretation, such as textualism. Applying the VCLT as a normative framework offers unique ways of reconceptualising some of the much-contested means of interpretation in order to increase the legitimacy of the ECtHR.


Eszter Polgári
Eszter Polgári, PhD, is assistant professor at the Department of Legal Studies of the Central European University in Austria.
Article

Emergency Measures in Response to the Coronavirus Crisis and Parliamentary Oversight in the EU Member States

Journal European Journal of Law Reform, Issue 4 2020
Keywords states of emergency, parliamentary oversight, health crisis, Covid-19, European Union Member States
Authors Maria Diaz Crego and Silvia Kotanidis
AbstractAuthor's information

    The Covid-19 pandemic has become a true stress test for the legal systems of the worst hit countries. Faced with a health crisis situation, many national governments have become the protagonists in the adoption of difficult measures severely restricting their citizens fundamental rights to the detriment of the powers usually entrusted to the national parliaments. This article examines the normative response of the 27 European Union Member States during the “first wave” of the Covid-19 pandemic, a period that runs from the declaration of a pandemic (March 2020) to mid-June 2020. The intention of the authors was to describe the legal and constitutional mechanisms activated in order to contain the pandemic, focusing on the role of national parliaments in the management of the crisis. This article explores also the degree to which national parliaments have been involved and could exercise parliamentary oversight over the normative measures used by the executive to contain the pandemic in the EU-27.


Maria Diaz Crego
Maria Diaza Crego is a Policy Analyst, European Parliament Research Service, European Parliament.

Silvia Kotanidis
Silvia Kotanidis is a Policy Analyst, European Parliament Research Service, European Parliament. The European Parliamentary Research Service (EPRS) is the internal research service and think tank of the European Parliament. This research paper derives from a paper originally published on 4 December 2020 by the EPRS as background material to assist Members and staff of the European Parliament in their parliamentary work. The content of the document is the sole responsibility of its authors and any opinions expressed therein should not be taken to represent an official position of the European Parliament.
Article

Governments as Covid-19 Lawmakers in France, Italy and Spain

Continuity or Discontinuity

Journal European Journal of Law Reform, Issue 4 2020
Keywords Covid-19, emergency legislation, executive lawmaking, parliaments, decree-laws and ordinances
Authors Elena Griglio
AbstractAuthor's information

    Executive dominance in Covid-19 lawmaking has been a major trend worldwide. Governments have leveraged emergency prerogatives to boost their legislative powers, often sidelining the role of parliaments. The impact of executive lawmaking on fundamental liberties has been unprecedented. However, government’s capacity to exercise full legislative powers is not absolutely new to many European countries.
    This trend is analysed in the article comparing practices in the pandemic and in normal times, not specifically related to a state of emergency. To this end, three countries have been selected because of their constitutional clauses allotting lawmaking powers to the government even outside of emergency situations. This refers to the decree-laws in Italy and Spain and the ordonnances in France. The question addressed is whether there are relevant differences in the use made of these mechanisms during the pandemic.
    The results of this comparative analysis demonstrate that there is much continuity in the executive’s reliance on these mechanisms. However, discontinuity may be detected on the ground of the exceptional impact produced on constitutional rights and on the substantive values that legislation should protect. Therefore, from the perspective of the rollback of the emergency legislation, the role of parliaments, based on the core difference in the democratic status between lawmaking and legislation, turns out to be crucial.


Elena Griglio
Elena Griglio is Senior Parliamentary Official of the Italian Senate and Adjunct Professor at LUISS University, Rome.
Article

Regional Differentiation in Europe, between EU Proposals and National Reforms

Journal European Journal of Law Reform, Issue 3 2020
Keywords regional differentiation, regional disparities, autonomy, regionalism, subsidiarity, European Union, multilevel governance
Authors Gabriella Saputelli
AbstractAuthor's information

    Regions and local governments play a very important role in the application of European law and in the implementation of European policies. The economic crisis of 2008 has accentuated territorial and social differentiation and highlighted the negative effects of globalization. This circumstance has created resentment among peripheral and marginal communities in the electoral results, but also a strong request for involvement, participation and sometimes independence from territories. These developments raise new questions about the relationship between the EU and the Regions and, more widely, about the role of subnational entities in the EU integration process, as they are the institutions nearest to citizens.
    The aim of this article is to contribute to that debate by exploring the following research question: ‘is subnational differentiation positive or negative for European integration?’ Towards a possible answer, two perspectives are examined from a constitutional law approach. From the top down, it examines the attitude of the EU towards regional differentiation, from the origins of the EU integration process and its development until recent initiatives and proposals. From the bottom up, it analyses the role of subnational entities by presenting the Italian experience, through the reforms that have been approved over the years until the recent proposal for asymmetric regionalism. The aim is to understand whether regional differentiation still represents a positive element for the European integration process, considering the role that subnational entities play in many policies and the challenges described earlier.


Gabriella Saputelli
Researcher of Public Law at the Institute for the Study of Regionalism, Federalism and Self Government (ISSiRFA) of the National Research Council (CNR).
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

Fiscal Consolidation in Federal Belgium

Collective Action Problem and Solutions

Journal Politics of the Low Countries, Issue 2 2019
Keywords fiscal consolidation, fiscal policy, federalism, intergovernmental relations, High Council of Finance
Authors Johanna Schnabel
AbstractAuthor's information

    Fiscal consolidation confronts federal states with a collective action problem, especially in federations with a tightly coupled fiscal regime such as Belgium. However, the Belgian federation has successfully solved this collective action problem even though it lacks the political institutions that the literature on dynamic federalism has identified as the main mechanisms through which federal states achieve cooperation across levels of government. This article argues that the regionalization of the party system, on the one hand, and the rationalization of the deficit problem by the High Council of Finance, on the other, are crucial to understand how Belgium was able to solve the collective action problem despite its tightly coupled fiscal regime and particularly high levels of deficits and debts. The article thus emphasizes the importance of compromise and consensus in reducing deficits and debts in federal states.


Johanna Schnabel
School of Politics and International Relations, University of Kent, Rutherford College, Canterbury CT2 7NX, United Kingdom.
Article

Better Regulation and Post-Legislative Scrutiny in the European Union

Journal European Journal of Law Reform, Issue 2 2019
Keywords parliaments, post-legislative scrutiny, better regulation, European Union, legislation, regulation, democracy
Authors Davor Jancic
AbstractAuthor's information

    This article analyses the manner in which the EU’s Better Regulation Agenda impacts pre-legislative and post-legislative scrutiny by national parliaments, as two important dimensions of their function of democratic control over EU decision making. To this end, the article critically assesses the institutional arrangements and procedures foreseen under the Commission’s 2015 Better Regulation package and examines the 2017 review of the Better Regulation Agenda, which is a fresh push towards its enhancement. The article is structured as follows. After an overview of the legal grounding and evolution of better regulation in EU law, the analysis surveys the implications for parliaments of the Juncker Commission’s package of reforms, which are laid out in a Communication and implemented through a set of guidelines, a refurbished toolbox for practitioners, a revised Regulatory Fitness and Performance Programme (REFIT), and an Interinstitutional Agreement on Better Lawmaking adopted in 2016. On this basis, the article discusses post-legislative scrutiny of EU legislation on its own merits as well as from the perspective of its relationship with pre-legislative scrutiny. The latter is important since it is the most efficient way for parliaments to influence the contents of EU policies. The article concludes that the Better Regulation Agenda maintains the status quo in domestic parliamentary participation in EU affairs and misses the opportunity to fortify the latter’s European embeddedness.


Davor Jancic
Dr Davor Jancic is Lecturer in Law, Director of the English & European Law LLB programme, Department of Law, Queen Mary University of London.
Article

Post-Legislative Scrutiny as a Form of Executive Oversight

Tools and Practices in Europe

Journal European Journal of Law Reform, Issue 2 2019
Keywords scrutiny of law enforcement, ex-post impact assessment, parliamentary oversight of the executive, post-legislative scrutiny
Authors Elena Griglio
AbstractAuthor's information

    Parliaments’ engagement in post-legislative scrutiny can be considered either as an extension of the legislative function or within the framework of the oversight of the executive. This article makes use of the latter view to assess how parliaments in Europe approach post-legislative scrutiny and to which extent this function can be regarded as a form of executive oversight. Although rules and practices of parliaments in this realm are remarkably heterogeneous, the focus on some selected parliaments (Italy, France, Germany, Sweden, and the European Parliament) reveals three different conceptual categories. In the ‘basic’ approach (passive scrutinizers), parliaments limit their role solely to the assessment of the ex-post scrutiny performed by the government and external agencies. Differently, parliaments willing to engage in a more proactive approach might choose either to act on an informal basis, establishing ad hoc research/evaluation administrative units (informal scrutinizers) or to address post-legislative scrutiny in a formal and highly institutionalized manner (formal scrutinizers). As a matter of fact, the practise of parliaments often combines characters of different categories. While in all of these approaches post-legislative scrutiny shows potential for executive oversight, only the third can potentially lead to a kind of ‘hard’ oversight.


Elena Griglio
Dr Elena Griglio is a Senior Parliamentary Official, Italian Senate and Adjunct Professor, Luiss Guido Carli University.
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).
Article

The Margin of Appreciation in the ECtHR’s Case Law

A European Version of the Levels of Scrutiny Doctrine?

Journal European Journal of Law Reform, Issue 2-3 2018
Keywords ECHR, judicial deference, levels of scrutiny, margin of appreciation, U.S. federalism
Authors Koen Lemmens
AbstractAuthor's information

    Although the American doctrine of levels of scrutiny and the European concept of margin of appreciation are regularly compared as typical instances of deferential judicial decision-making, this article argues that owing to the institutional setting in which they operate, the differences between the two are notable. It is also argued that the social consequences of the application of the two concepts may even be radically opposed.


Koen Lemmens
Associate professor of Public Law at KU Leuven (Belgium) and press law VU Brussels (Belgium). The author thanks Toon Agten for his comments and Camille Van Peteghem for her assistance during research. The usual disclaimer applies. This volume (The EU Bill of Rights’ Diagonal Application to Member States. Ed. Csongor István Nagy) was published as part of the research project of the HAS-Szeged Federal Markets ‘Momentum’ Research Group.
Article

Codification in a Civil Law Jurisdiction: A Northern European Perspective

Journal European Journal of Law Reform, Issue 4 2017
Keywords codification, types, civil law, legal certainty, ICT
Authors Patricia Popelier
AbstractAuthor's information

    In western civil law jurisdictions, 19th century large-scale codification projects have made way for more specific, technical operations. While several terms for various operations are used – from coordination to consolidation or recasting – they all serve to compile normative texts within one single document for the sake of clarity and legal certainty. A more fundamental distinction can be made between formal and substantial codifications, the one more technical, the other large and fundamental. Substantial law reforms are problematized in this era of multilevel governance and digitalization. Nowadays, substantial codifications are essentially non-exhaustive, inconsistent, and fragmentized. Also, they rely upon formal consolidations, and generate new formal consolidations. While formal consolidations are still treated as logistic projects, more developed ICT tools may enable their transformation into continuous processes.


Patricia Popelier
Professor Constitutional Law and Legislative Studies, University of Antwerp.

Jonathan Teasdale
Jonathan Teasdale is an associate research fellow at the Institute of Advanced Legal Studies (University of London) in the Sir William Dale Centre for Legislative Studies, and co-leader (with Dr Enrico Albanesi) of the IALS Law Reform Project. He is a barrister (now non-practising) and former lawyer with the Law Commission for England and Wales, and one time was a local authority chief executive.
Article

Regulatory Review of European Commission Impact Assessments

What Kind for Which Better Regulation Scenario?

Journal European Journal of Law Reform, Issue 1-2 2017
Keywords impact assessment, Better Regulation, non-judicial review, regulatory scrutiny, European Union
Authors Anne C.M. Meuwese
AbstractAuthor's information

    The article maps the various ways in which review of Commission impact assessments takes place by the Regulatory Scrutiny Board, the European Ombudsman, the European Court of Auditors, and the Court of Justice of the European Union, among others, and assesses the effect these review activities have on the framework and functioning of this primary Better Regulation tool.


Anne C.M. Meuwese
Tilburg Law School, The Netherlands, Professor of European and Comparative Public Law.
Article

Access_open Belgium and Democratic Constitution-Making: Prospects for the Future?

Journal Netherlands Journal of Legal Philosophy, Issue 1 2017
Keywords constitutional change, democracy, participation, Belgium
Authors Ronald Van Crombrugge
Abstract

    How constitutions are changed – and more importantly: how they should be changed – is the subject of ongoing debate. There seems to be a growing consensus, however, that in order for a constitution to be considered legitimate it is required that it was created through a democratic process. This growing consensus stands in sharp contrast with the Belgian experience of constitutional change as an essentially elite-led process that takes place behind closed doors. This article seeks to explore the possibilities for more democratic forms of constitutional change in Belgium. It does so by evaluating and comparing two examples of democratic constitution-making, namely the constitution-making processes In South Africa (1996) and Iceland (2012). On the basis of these two examples, several concrete suggestions will be made, which are not only relevant for the Belgian case but can be applied more broadly to other countries as well.


Ronald Van Crombrugge
Article

Prologue: The IALS Law Reform Project

Journal European Journal of Law Reform, Issue 3 2016
Keywords statute, common law, codification, consolidation, implementation
Authors Jonathan Teasdale
AbstractAuthor's information

    Law, particularly enacted law, needs to be as simple and as accessible as possible, clear and concise and – perhaps above all – fit for the purposes of modern society. Laws passed in one decade may prove to be less than adequate for the needs of later generations because of changes in the social fabric or social mores or because of technological advance or economic challenge. Societies needs mechanisms for keeping law under review, particularly when governments are focused on introducing more law – sometimes layered on top of existing law – to fulfil electoral promises. The position is compounded in common law systems where the senior judiciary add to the legal corpus.
    Different jurisdictions have differing needs. The IALS Law Reform Project (at the Institute of Advanced Legal Studies, University of London) has set itself the task of identifying the range of law reform mechanisms employed across the common law and civil law worlds with a view to establishing which of the components are core, and identifying others which could be improved. The starting point, of course, is: what is law reform? Are reform and revision the same? Does reform need to be legislative? Why does codification work in civil law jurisdictions but is eschewed in parts of the common law world? This is about the processes of law reform; substantive reform is for another day.


Jonathan Teasdale
LL.B, LL.M, Barrister (England and Wales), FRSA. Presently associate research fellow in the Sir William Dale Centre for Legislative Studies at the Institute of Advanced Legal Studies (University of London) specializing in law reform, and formerly a lawyer with the Law Commission for England and Wales.
Article

Access_open E pluribus unum? The Manifold Meanings of Sovereignty

Journal Netherlands Journal of Legal Philosophy, Issue 2 2016
Keywords political sovereignty, power, legislative sovereignty, constitutive power, external sovereignty
Authors Raf Geenens
AbstractAuthor's information

    This article investigates and classifies the different meanings of the term sovereignty. What exactly do we try to convey when using the words “sovereign” or “sovereignty”? I will argue that, when saying that X is sovereign, we can mean five different things: it can mean that X holds the capacity to force everyone into obedience, that X makes the laws, that the legal and political order is created by X, that X holds the competence to alter the basic norms of our legal and political order, or that X is independently active on the international stage. These different usages of the term are of course related, but they are distinct and cannot be fully reduced to one another.


Raf Geenens
Raf Geenens is an assistant professor of Ethics and Legal Philosophy at the Institute of Philosophy, University of Leuven.
Article

Access_open National Identity, Constitutional Identity, and Sovereignty in the EU

Journal Netherlands Journal of Legal Philosophy, Issue 2 2016
Keywords national identity, constitutional identity, EU law, constitutional courts, Court of Justice
Authors Elke Cloots
AbstractAuthor's information

    This article challenges the assumption, widespread in European constitutional discourse, that ‘national identity’ and ‘constitutional identity’ can be used interchangeably. First, this essay demonstrates that the conflation of the two terms lacks grounding in a sound theory of legal interpretation. Second, it submits that the requirements of respect for national and constitutional identity, as articulated in the EU Treaty and in the case law of certain constitutional courts, respectively, rest on different normative foundations: fundamental principles of political morality versus a claim to State sovereignty. Third, it is argued that the Treaty-makers had good reasons for writing into the EU Treaty a requirement of respect for the Member States’ national identities rather than the States’ sovereignty, or their constitutional identity.


Elke Cloots
Elke Cloots is post-doctoral researcher at the Centre for Government and Law, University of Hasselt.

    Op 29 september 2015 werd te Antwerpen een studiedag georganiseerd getiteld, ‘Gezinstransities vanuit het perspectief van de kinderen’. Aangezien tegenwoordig steeds meer kinderen opgroeien in een nieuw samengesteld gezin, rijst de vraag hoe kinderen deze nieuwe gezinssamenstelling ervaren en welke functies de verschillende betrokken professionals daarbij vervullen. Tijdens de studiedag stond deze vraag centraal en werd het ontstaan van een dergelijk nieuw samengesteld gezin na echtscheiding vanuit verschillende invalshoeken onderzocht. Daarbij werden de ervaringen met het ouderschapsplan in Nederland eveneens toegelicht, en dit vanuit juridisch en sociologisch standpunt. Vervolgens werden een aantal workshops georganiseerd waar onder meer de pedagogische ouderschapsbelofte met de opvoedingspiramide aan bod kwam, het juridische ouderschapsplan, het plusouderschapsplan, alsook de rol van magistraten in de familie- en jeugdrechtbanken. Tot slot vond een debat plaats tussen verschillende panelleden, zijnde prof. Frederik Swennen, mevrouw Nancy Bleys, raadgever Justitie bij het Vlaams Ministerie van Welzijn, de federaal minister van Justitie, Koen Geens en een jongerenvertegenwoordiger, Thomas van Grinsven.
    On September 29th 2015 a conference was held in Antwerp. The title of the conference was ‘Family transitions from the perspective of the children’. Because nowadays an increasing number of children grow up in newly recomposed families, questions arise concerning the influence of these newly recomposed families on the wellbeing of children who live in these families. Moreover, questions arise about the part which different professionals play within this context. The family recomposition and its impact were studied from different perspectives. Since the Netherlands has introduced an ‘ouderschapsplan’ (‘parenting plan’) some time ago, several findings on such plans were presented from a legal and a sociological perspective. Thereafter, workshops were organised which concerned de ouderschapsbelofte (‘the parental promise’), het juridische ouderschapsplan (‘the legal parenting plan’), het plusouderschapsplan (the ‘plus parenting plan’) and the role played by magistrates confronted with conflicts in the family court. Finally, a debate was held between prof. Frederik Swennen, the Flemish Minister of Welfare, Nancy Bleys, the federal Minister of Justice Koen Geens and Thomas Van Grinsven as a representative of the youth.


Ulrike Cerulus
Ulrike Cerulus is a researcher at the law faculty of Hasselt University (Belgium), where she is preparing a PhD thesis with respect to parental rights and responsibilities within recomposed families.

Charlotte Mol
Charlotte Mol is a student assistant at the Utrecht Centre for European Research into Family Law (the Netherlands).
Research Note

Europese integratie en consensuspolitiek in de Lage Landen

Journal Res Publica, Issue 4 2014
Authors Hans Vollaard, Jan Beyers and Patrick Dumont
Author's information

Hans Vollaard
Hans Vollaard is universitair docent Nederlandse en Europese Politiek aan het Instituut Politieke Wetenschap van de Universiteit Leiden. Kernthema’s in zijn onderzoek betreffen de Europese regulering van grensoverschrijdende zorg, euroscepsis, Europese desintegratie en christelijke politiek in Nederland.

Jan Beyers
Jan Beyers is hoogleraar Politieke Wetenschappen aan de Universiteit Antwerpen en hoofd van de onderzoeksgroep Antwerp Centre for Institutions and Multilevel Politics (ACIM). Zijn onderzoek en onderwijs situeren zich op het terrein van de institutionele theorieën, politieke organisaties en belangengroepen, vergelijkende en Europese politiek, en onderzoeksmethoden.

Patrick Dumont
Patrick Dumont is onderzoeker aan het Institute of Political Science en het European Governance Programme van de Universiteit van Luxemburg en onderzoekspartner bij de leerstoel parlementaire studies van de Luxemburgse Kamer van Afgevaardigden. Zijn onderzoek richt zich op onderwerpen als coalitietheorieën, politieke elites, partijen en partijstelsels en Europeanisering.

Patricia Popelier
Professor at the University of Antwerp, Post-Doctoral Researcher for FWO-Flanders (Fund for Scientific Research).
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