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Article

Access_open Giving Children a Voice in Court?

Age Boundaries for Involvement of Children in Civil Proceedings and the Relevance of Neuropsychological Insights

Journal Erasmus Law Review, Issue 1 2020
Keywords age boundaries, right to be heard, child’s autonomy, civil proceedings, neuropsychology
Authors Mariëlle Bruning and Jiska Peper
AbstractAuthor's information

    In the last decade neuropsychological insights have gained influence with regard to age boundaries in legal procedures, however, in Dutch civil law no such influence can be distinguished. Recently, voices have been raised to improve children’s legal position in civil law: to reflect upon the minimum age limit of twelve years for children to be invited to be heard in court and the need for children to have a stronger procedural position.
    In this article, first the current legal position of children in Dutch law and practice will be analysed. Second, development of psychological constructs relevant for family law will be discussed in relation to underlying brain developmental processes and contextual effects. These constructs encompass cognitive capacity, autonomy, stress responsiveness and (peer) pressure.
    From the first part it becomes clear that in Dutch family law, there is a tortuous jungle of age limits, exceptions and limitations regarding children’s procedural rights. Until recently, the Dutch government has been reluctant to improve the child’s procedural position in family law. Over the last two years, however, there has been an inclination towards further reflecting on improvements to the child’s procedural rights, which, from a children’s rights perspective, is an important step forward. Relevant neuropsychological insights support improvements for a better realisation of the child’s right to be heard, such as hearing children younger than twelve years of age in civil court proceedings.


Mariëlle Bruning
Professor of Child Law at Leiden Law Faculty, Leiden University.

Jiska Peper
Assistant professor in the Developmental and Educational Psychology unit of the Institute of Psychology at Leiden University.
PhD Review

‘The Internal Legitimacy of European Interest Groups. Analyses of National Intrest Groups Perspectives’

PhD by Samuel Defacqz (Université catholique de Louvain), supervisors: Virginie Van Ingelgom, Benoît Rihoux & Theodoros Koutroubas.

Journal Politics of the Low Countries, Issue 2 2019
Authors Stéphanie Yates Ph.D.
Author's information

Stéphanie Yates Ph.D.
Ph.D., Université du Québec à Montréal.
Article

Access_open Armed On-board Protection of Danish Vessels Authorisation and Use of Force in Self-defence in a Legal Perspective

Journal Erasmus Law Review, Issue 4 2018
Keywords piracy, private security companies (PSC), privately contracted armed security personnel (PCASP), use of force, Denmark
Authors Christian Frier
AbstractAuthor's information

    This article examines the legal issues pertaining to the use of civilian armed guards on board Danish-flagged ships for protection against piracy. The Danish model of regulation is interesting for several reasons. Firstly, the Danish Government was among the first European flag States to allow and formalise their use in a commercial setting. Secondly, the distribution of assignments between public authorities and private actors stands out as very pragmatic, as ship owners and contracting private security companies are empowered with competences which are traditionally considered as public administrative powers. Thirdly, the lex specialis framework governing the authorisation and use of force in self-defence is non-exhaustive, thus referring to lex generalis regulation, which does not take the special circumstances surrounding the use of armed guards into consideration. As a derived effect the private actors involved rely heavily on soft law and industry self-regulation instrument to complement the international and national legal framework.


Christian Frier
Christian Frier is research assistant at the Department of Law, University of Southern Denmark. He obtained his PhD in Law in March 2019.
Article

Perspectives on Comparative Federalism

The American Experience in the Pre-incorporation Era

Journal European Journal of Law Reform, Issue 2-3 2018
Keywords 14th amendment, anti-federalists, Barron v. Baltimore (1833), Board of Education and other Cases (1954), Civil Rights Cases (1883), Bill of Rights, Brown v. Constitutional Convention (1787), Federalists, Holmes v. Jennsion (1840), Plessy v. Ferguson (1896), The Federalist (1787-1788)
Authors Kenneth R. Stevens
AbstractAuthor's information

    Today the Bill of Rights is understood to limit not only the federal government but also the power of the states to infringe on the civil liberties of citizens. This was not always the case. In the early days of the republic, most Americans feared federal authority far more than the states. This remained the case until passage of the 14th amendment to the Constitution followed by a series of interpretations over the years by the Supreme Court that broadened its scope. Some delegates at the convention of 1787 and other critics during ratification complained that the Constitution did not include a bill of rights, but others objected that the people needed such protections from government power. It became clear, however, that ratification could not be attained without inclusion of a Bill of Rights, which were adopted as amendments in 1791. In 1833, the Supreme Court ruled, in Barron v. Baltimore, that the provisions of the Bill of Rights imposed restrictions only on the federal government and not on the states. Passage of the 14th amendment in 1868 made the Bill of Rights restrictions on the states. Over the years, federal courts increasingly broadened the authority of the Bill of Rights as limitations on the states.


Kenneth R. Stevens
Professor, AddRan College of Liberal Arts, Texas Christian University. 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

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

Journal Erasmus Law Review, Issue 2 2016
Keywords Preventive detention, mandatory supervision, sex offenders, retrospective penal laws, legality principle
Authors Martine Herzog-Evans
AbstractAuthor's information

    France literally ‘discovered’ sexual abuse following neighbour Belgium’s Dutroux case in the late 1990s. Since then, sex offenders have been the focus of politicians, media and law-makers’ attention. Further law reforms have aimed at imposing mandatory supervision and treatment, and in rare cases, preventive detention. The legal framework for mandatory supervision and detention is rather complex, ranging from a mixed sentence (custodial and mandatory supervision and treatment upon release or as a stand-alone sentence) to so-called ‘safety measures’, which supposedly do not aim at punishing an offence, but at protecting society. The difference between the concepts of sentences and safety measures is nevertheless rather blurry. In practice, however, courts have used safety measures quite sparingly and have preferred mandatory supervision as attached to a sentence, notably because it is compatible with cardinal legal principles. Procedural constraints have also contributed to this limited use. Moreover, the type of supervision and treatment that can thus be imposed is virtually identical to that of ordinary probation. It is, however, noteworthy that a higher number of offenders with mental health issues who are deemed ‘dangerous’ are placed in special psychiatric units, something that has not drawn much attention on the part of human rights lawyers.


Martine Herzog-Evans
Martine H-Evans, PhD, is a Professor at the Department of Law, Universite de Reims Champagne-Ardenne.
Article

Documentary Filmmakers

Bridging Practice and Scholarship in Peacebuilding

Journal International Journal of Conflict Engagement and Resolution, Issue 1 2016
Keywords documentary, film, peacebuilding, narratives, storytelling
Authors Dana Townsend and Kuldeep Niraula
AbstractAuthor's information

    In settings characterized by violent conflict, documentary filmmakers serve as a conduit between local experiences and the broader public. Highlighting these experiences requires filmmakers to immerse themselves in a context, digest scholarly findings, interview local sources and organize information into an accessible storyline. Those who utilize this craft often draw from established research or collaborate with scholars to ensure the narrative resonates with people and represents verified events. At the same time, their films contribute to the practice of peacebuilding through a participatory process that focuses on storytelling and community healing. This article explores the dual role of documentary filmmakers by positioning them as potential bridge-builders between practice and scholarship in peacebuilding. Specifically, it looks at the way filmmakers navigate between these realms by countering hegemonic narratives, introducing marginalized voices, contextualizing conflict and sharing stories with a wide audience – while also reflecting on the way their own identities and viewpoints influence this process.


Dana Townsend
Dana Townsend is a PhD student in Psychology and Peace Studies at the University of Notre Dame. Her research focuses on the impact of political violence on youth’s psychological functioning as well as the ways that youth engage with memories of violence and utilize narratives to position themselves in their social worlds. She is also interested in the use of digital storytelling for community engagement, healing and reconciliation.

Kuldeep Niraula
Kuldeep Niraula is a PhD student in Conflict Resolution at George Mason University and graduated with an MA in International Peacebuilding from the University of Notre Dame’s Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies. His MA Thesis, “Addressing the Neglect of Local Peacebuilding Practices through Documentaries: A Case Study of Everyday Gandhis” analyses the possibilities and challenges of using documentaries to share local perspectives of peace with a wider audience.
Article

The Principle of Ultra Vires and the Local Authorities’ Decisions in England

Journal European Journal of Law Reform, Issue 3 2013
Keywords ultra vires, administrative decisions, legislative drafting, validity and invalidity of local authority administrative decisions, misuse of discretion
Authors Charles Aguma
AbstractAuthor's information

    The hypothesis of this article is that valid administrative decisions from local authorities are guaranteed via clear and precise enabling clauses in the primary legislation. The article argues that the style of drafting local authorities’ legislations influences decisions taken by local authorities. First, legislations need to be drafted in a style that clearly and precisely spells out the limits of powers of the local authorities in order to provide sufficient guidance to local authorities’ administrators to act lawfully. In attempting to exercise implied powers conferred by the imprecise enabling legislation, however, local authorities tend to go beyond intended legal powers and as a result take unreasonable, arbitrary and invalid decisions. More so, drafters rarely provide sufficient guidance about which considerations are properly relevant to the exercise of discretion and which are not. Secondly, obscure, wide and ambiguous enabling clauses in the primary legislations are substantial causes of courts’ misinterpretation of legislation as understanding the limits of the powers of the local authorities is a challenge. On the other hand, it is questionable whether the whole range of activities performed by a local authority by invoking implied powers, while exercising discretion, under the umbrella of doing anything that is calculated to facilitate or is conducive to or incidental to the discharge of any of its functions can be regarded as lawful. This article attempts to respond to that question. Although the principle of ultra vires requires the strict observance of the limits of the powers conferred in legislation, local authorities tend to invoke widely drafted provisions to perform activities that are said to be incidental to the express powers of which courts may declare invalid.


Charles Aguma
Charles Aguma graduated in Legislative Drafting (LLM) from the University of London- Institute of Advanced Legal Studies in 2012.

Frans G. von der Dunk
University of Nebraska, College of Law, Space, Cyber and Telecommunications Law Program, Fvonderdunk2@unl.edu.

Lucy Khairy
Lucy Khairy is corporate counsel for Brylane Inc., part of the French conglomerate Pinault-Printempms-Redoute (PPR). The views expressed herein are the author's own and do not reflect the views of Bryland, PPR, or their associates.

Glenda Murphree
Glenda Murphree, J.D., 2004, Indiana University School of Law - Indianapolis; member of 2003-2004 Indiana International & Comparative Law Review; and member of C.U.R.E. (Citizens United for Rehabilitation of Errants).

M. Schaefer

R.A. Yates

P. Vorwig

S. Ospina

M. Mejia-Kaiser

K. Gable

R. Lee

T. Masson-Zwaan
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