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Case Law

2022/1 EELC’s review of the year 2021

Journal European Employment Law Cases, Issue 1 2022
Authors Niklas Bruun, Filip Dorssemont, Zef Even e.a.
Abstract

    Various of our academic board analysed employment law cases from last year.


Niklas Bruun

Filip Dorssemont

Zef Even

Ruben Houweling

Marianne Hrdlicka

Anthony Kerr

Attila Kun

Jean-Philippe Lhernould

Daiva Petrylaitė

Luca Ratti

Jan-Pieter Vos
Case Reports

Access_open 2022/2 Unions have no veto over employer negotiations with staff (UK)

Journal European Employment Law Cases, Issue 1 2022
Keywords Collective Agreements
Authors David Hopper and Kerry Salisbury
AbstractAuthor's information

    The Supreme Court has confirmed that recognised trade unions do not have a veto over employers making direct offers to their members to change terms and conditions of employment. Employers must, however, follow and exhaust the collective bargaining processes with their recognised unions before they may make direct offers with a view to resolving an impasse that has arisen.


David Hopper
David Hopper is a partner at Lewis Silkin LLP.

Kerry Salisbury
Kerry Salisbury is an associate at Lewis Silkin LLP.

    Working as a rider for the Deliveroo platform is a professional activity that can be performed as a self-employed worker, the Labour Tribunal of Brussels has decided, which also ruled out the possibility of Deliveroo riders enjoying the fiscally beneficial status available for workers active on electronic platforms of the collaborative economy (or ‘sharing economy’).


Gautier Busschaert
Gautier Busschaert is an attorney-at-law at Van Olmen & Wynant, Brussels.
Research Note

Mapping Cabinet Conflicts and Conflict Features

Refined Definitions, Coding Instructions and Results From Belgium (1995-2018)

Journal Politics of the Low Countries, Issue 1 2022
Keywords cabinet conflict, coalition politics, Belgium
Authors Maxime Vandenberghe
AbstractAuthor's information

    This research note presents new definitions, measurements and data of cabinet conflicts and conflict features. Particular attention is given to the ethno-territorial nature of conflicts. This approach can easily be applied to various sources, periods, policy levels and countries. As an example, this note describes a novel dataset that provides the most fine-grained picture of Belgian cabinet conflicts to date (N = 1,090; 1995-2018).


Maxime Vandenberghe
Maxime Vandenberghe is a PhD candidate (FWO Vlaanderen) at the Department of Political Science at Ghent University. His main research interests are (Belgian) federalism, ethno-territorial politics and party politics.
Article

Opening an Absolute Majority A Typology of Motivations for Opening and Selecting Coalition Partners

Journal Politics of the Low Countries, Issue 1 2022
Keywords negotiation, absolute majority, oversized coalition, motivations, local election
Authors Geoffrey Grandjean and Valentine Meens
AbstractAuthor's information

    Following the municipal elections in the Walloon Region (Belgium) on 14 October 2018, 189 political groups won an absolute majority. Twenty-two of these decided not to exercise power alone, but favoured the formation of an oversized coalition by integrating a minority partner. The aim of this article is to identify the motivations behind the formation of a local coalition when one of the partners has an absolute majority. Semi-structured interviews with mayors and leaders of political groups in these municipalities make it possible to identify the motivations for, first, the choice to open and, second, the choice of a minority partner. By distinguishing between necessary and supporting motivations, this article shows that the search for greater representation is a necessary motivation for the choice to open, whereas personal affinities and memories of the past are necessary motivations for choosing minority partners. By prioritising motivations, this article shows that.


Geoffrey Grandjean
Geoffrey Grandjean is Professor of Political Science at the Faculty of Law, Political Science and Criminology of the University of Liege and Director of the Institut de la decision publique.

Valentine Meens
Valentine Meens is Assistant of Political Science at the Faculty of Law, Political Science and Criminology of the University of Liege.

    Restorative justice has frequently been presented as a new criminal justice paradigm, and as something that is radically different from punishment. I will argue that this ‘oppositioning’ is problematic for two reasons: first, because some cases of restorative justice constitute de facto punishment from the perspectives of some positions on what punishment is; second, because restorative justice could reasonably be more widely adopted as a new form of de jure punishment, which could potentially increase the use of restorative justice for the benefit of victims, offenders and society at large. In connection with the latter, I want to present some preliminary thoughts on how restorative justice could be incorporated into future criminal justice systems as de jure punishment. Furthermore, I will suggest that by insisting that restorative justice is radically different from punishment, restorative justice advocates may - contrary to their intentions − play into the hands of those who want to preserve the status quo rather than developing future criminal justice systems in the direction of restorative justice.


Christian Gade
Christian Gade is an Associate Professor of Human Security and Anthropology at Aarhus University and a mediator in the Danish victim-offender mediation programme (Konfliktråd). Corresponding author: Christian Gade at gade@cas.au.dk. Acknowledgements: I would like to thank Pernille Reese, head of the Danish Victim-Offender Mediation Secretariat, for our many dialogues about restorative justice and punishment. Furthermore, I am grateful to Søren Rask Bjerre Christensen and Isabelle Sauer for their thoughtful comments on earlier drafts of this article. Last but not least, I would like to thank the three anonymous reviewers for their valuable feedback.
Article

Towards a restorative justice approach to white-collar crime and supra-individual victimisation

Journal The International Journal of Restorative Justice, Issue Online First 2022
Keywords restorative justice, white-collar crimes, supra-individual victimisation, spokespersons at restorative meetings, eligibility criteria
Authors Daniela Gaddi and María José Rodríguez Puerta
AbstractAuthor's information

    This work examines the feasibility of extending the implementation of restorative justice to the field of white-collar crime for a specific class of victimisation: that which people experience as a group (i.e. supra-individual victimisation). For this purpose, we analyse some key issues and outline a number of criteria for determining who would be able to speak on behalf of supra-individual victims of white-collar crime in restorative meetings. Some initial proposals are offered, based on four types of supra-individual victimisation, which would provide a framework for the selection of spokespersons who could attend restorative meetings in restoratively oriented criminal proceedings.


Daniela Gaddi
Daniela Gaddi is an Adjunct Professor of Criminology and Criminal Law at the Universidad Autónoma de Barcelona (UAB), Spain and a community mediator.

María José Rodríguez Puerta
María José Rodríguez Puerta is Professor of Criminal Law at the Universidad Autónoma de Barcelona (UAB), Spain. Corresponding author: Daniela Gaddi, daniela.gaddi@uab.cat.
Article

Access_open Dispute Resolution in the Chinese Belt and Road Initiative

The Role of Mediation

Journal Corporate Mediation Journal, Issue 2 2021
Keywords international commercial mediation, Belt and Road Initiative, Singapore Convention, China, international dispute resolution
Authors Henneke Brink
AbstractAuthor's information

    With unfaltering determination, China continues to expand its Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). This article focuses on the preference that is given to mediation for the resolution of BRI-related disputes. China, Hong Kong and Singapore proclaim that this approach better fits with ‘Asian’ cultural values than adversarial processes like arbitration and litigation. The BRI can be seen as an innovative field lab where mechanisms for international commercial conflict management and resolution are being developed and put to action - and where legitimacy is tested.


Henneke Brink
Henneke Brink is a Dutch lawyer, mediator, and owner of Hofstad Mediation. She carries out research and writes about topics concerning the relation between mediation and (inter)national formal justice systems.

    This study explores the spread of disinformation relating to the Covid-19 pandemic on the internet, dubbed by some as the pandemic’s accompanying “infodemic”, and the societal reactions to this development across different countries and platforms. The study’s focus is on the role of states and platforms in combatting online disinformation.
    Through synthesizing answers to questions submitted by more than 40 researchers from 20 countries within the GDHR Network, this exploratory study provides a first overview of how states and platforms have dealt with Corona-related disinformation. This can also provide incentives for further rigorous studies of disinformation governance standards and their impact across different socio-cultural environments.
    Regarding the platforms’ willingness and efficacy in removing (presumed) disinformation, a majority of submissions identifies a shift towards more intervention in pandemic times. Most submitters assess that this shift is widely welcomed in their respective countries and more often considered as taking place too slowly (rather than being perceived as entailing dangers for unjustified restrictions of freedom of expression). The picture is less clear when it comes to enforcing non-speech related infection prevention measures.
    While the dominant platforms have been able to defend, or even solidify, their position during the pandemic, communicative practices on those platforms are changing. For officials, this includes an increasing reliance on platforms, especially social networks, for communicating infection prevention rules and recommendations. For civil society, the pandemic has brought an increasing readiness – and perceived need – to intervene against disinformation, especially through fact-checking initiatives.
    National and local contexts show great variance at whether platform-driven disinformation is conceived as a societal problem. In countries where official sources are distrusted and/or seen as disseminating disinformation criticism against private information governance by platforms remains muted. In countries where official sources are trusted disinformation present on platforms is seen more negatively.
    While Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram play important roles in the pandemic communication environment, some replies point towards an increasing importance of messaging apps for the circulation of Covid-19-related disinformation. These apps, like Telegram or WhatsApp, tend to fall under the radar of researchers, because visibility of content is limited and scraping is difficult, and because they are not covered by Network Enforcement Act-type laws that usually exclude one-to-one communication platforms (even if they offer one-to-many channels).
    Vis-à-vis widespread calls for a (re)territorialization of their content governance standards and processes amid the pandemic, platform companies have maintained, by and large, global standards. Standardized, featured sections for national (health) authorities to distribute official information via platforms are exceptions thereto.


Matthias C. Kettemann
Prof. dr. Matthias C. Kettemann, LL.M. (Harvard) is head of the research programme “Regulatory Structures and the Emergence of Rules in Online Spaces” at the Leibniz Institute for Media Research | Hans-Bredow-Institut.

Martin Fertmann
Martin Fertmann is a PhD student at the Leibniz-Institut für Medienforschung | Hans-Bredow-Institut’s research programme “Regulatory Structures and the Emergence of Rules in Online Spaces”.

    Terms-of-service based actions against political and state actors as both key subjects and objects of political opinion formation have become a focal point of the ongoing debates over who should set and enforce the rules for speech on online platforms.
    With minor differences depending on national contexts, state regulation of platforms creating obligations to disseminate such actors’ information is considered dangerous for the free and unhindered discursive process that leads to the formation of public opinions.
    Reactions to the suspension of Trump as not the first, but the most widely discussed action of platform companies against a politician (and incumbent president) provide a glimpse on the state of platform governance debates across participating countries.
    Across the countries surveyed politicians tend to see the exercise of content moderation policies of large platform companies very critically
    The majority of politicians in European countries seem to be critical of the deplatforming of Trump, emphasizing fundamental rights and calling for such decisions to be made by states, not private companies
    These political standpoints stand in an unresolved conflict with the constitutional realities of participating countries, where incumbents usually cannot invoke fundamental rights when acting in their official capacities and where laws with “must carry” requirements for official information do not exist for social media and would likely only be constitutional for narrowly defined, special circumstances such as disaster prevention.
    Facebooks’ referral of the Trump-decision to its Oversight Board sparked a larger debate about institutional structures for improving content governance. The majority of participating countries has experience with self- or co-regulatory press-, media- or broadcasting councils to which comparisons can be drawn, foreshadowing the possible (co-regulatory) future of governing online speech.
    Media commentators in participating countries interpreted the deplatforming of Trump as a signal that far-right parties and politicians around the world may face increasing scrutiny, while conservative politicians and governments in multiple participating countries instrumentalized the actions against Trump as supposed proof of platform’s bias against conservative opinions.
    Even without specific legal requirements on content moderation, submissions from several countries refer to a general – often: constitutional – privileging of speech of politicians and office holders. This could potentially support or even compel the decisions of platforms to leave content of political actors up even if it violates their terms of service.


Martin Fertmann
Martin Fertmann is a PhD student at the Leibniz-Institut für Medienforschung | Hans-Bredow-Institut’s research programme “Regulatory Structures and the Emergence of Rules in Online Spaces”

Matthias C. Kettemann
Prof. dr. Matthias C. Kettemann, LL.M. (Harvard) is head of the research programme “Regulatory Structures and the Emergence of Rules in Online Spaces” at the Leibniz Institute for Media Research | Hans-Bredow-Institut.

    An Employment Tribunal (ET) decision involving an advertising agency has highlighted the dangers for employers of taking an overly aggressive approach to reducing gender pay gaps. It also provides a reminder that all discrimination is unlawful, even where the victims are from a historically privileged group.


Colin Leckey
Colin Leckey is a partner at Lewis Silkin LLP.

    Building upon the ECJ case law qualifying stand-by time with significant availability obligations of volunteer firefighters as working time, the Belgian Court of Cassation has upheld a system of compensation by which stand-by time pays less than regular working time.


Gautier Busschaert
Gautier Busschaert is an attorney-at-law at Van Olmen & Wynant, Brussels.

    The Irish High Court has determined that, pursuant to the definitions of ‘employment contract’ and ‘fixed-term employee’ in the Protection of Employees (Fixed-Term Work) Act 2003 (the ‘2003 Act’), a permanent employee temporarily upgrading to a more senior role on a fixed-term basis, was entitled to protection under the 2003 Act as a fixed-term employee despite the fact that he had the right to revert to his substantive terms and conditions as a permanent employee. The Court held that Council Directive 1999/70/EC on fixed-term work (the ‘Directive’) was not only concerned with an employee’s entitlement to continued employment, but also the nature, quality and terms and conditions of that employment. While Member States have the discretion to provide more favourable treatment to a broader category of employees than the Directive required, they could not define terms left undefined in the Directive or framework agreement on fixed-term contracts so as to arbitrarily exclude certain categories of workers from protection as ‘fixed-term workers’.


Sarah O’Mahoney
Sarah O’Mahoney is a General Knowledge Lawyer at Mason Hayes & Curran.
Article

Sustainability in Global Supply Chains Under the CISG

Journal European Journal of Law Reform, Issue 3 2021
Keywords CISG, sustainability, supply chains, UN Global Compact, Codes of Conduct, conformity of the goods
Authors Ingeborg Schwenzer and Edgardo Muñoz
AbstractAuthor's information

    In this article, the authors assert that the United Nations Convention for the International Sale of Goods (CISG) can contribute to tackling gaps in statutory legislation and defective business conduct that have been associated with unsustainable trade in Global Supply Chains (GSCs). The authors provide evidence that the CISG contains rules enabling a general legal framework for establishing uniform sustainable standards for goods concerning suppliers, sellers and buyers located in different countries. For instance, the CISG provisions on contract formation ease the incorporation of joint codes of conduct for sustainable trade in GSCs. In addition, the contracting parties’ circumstances and current trade usages are now more relevant to determine what constitutes conformity of the goods under the contract and the default warranties in Article 35 CISG. On the level of remedies, the authors show that best-efforts provisions, possibly included in a code of conduct or inferred from standards applicable to the goods, may redefine the notion of impediment in Article 79 CISG, which could lead to exoneration of liability for the seller. They also demonstrate why fundamental breach and the calculation of damages are at the centre of the discussion regarding the remedies for breach of an obligation to deliver sustainable goods.


Ingeborg Schwenzer
Ingeborg Schwenzer is Dean of the Swiss International Law School (SiLS), Professor emerita of Private Law at the University of Basel (Switzerland) and past Chair of the CISG Advisory Council. Dr. iur. (Freiburg i.Br.), LLM (UC Berkeley).

Edgardo Muñoz
Edgardo Muñoz is Professor of Law, Universidad Panamericana. Facultad de Derecho. Calzada Álvaro del Portillo 49, Zapopan, Jalisco, 45010, México. PhD (Basel), LLM (UC Berkeley), LLM (Liverpool), LLB (UIA Mexico), DEUF (Lyon). This research has been funded by Universidad Panamericana through the grant ‘Fomento a la Investigación UP 2020’, under project code UP-CI-2020-GDL-04-DER.
Developments in European Law

Whose Interests to Protect?

Judgments in the Annulment Cases Concerning the Amendment of the Posting Directive

Journal Hungarian Yearbook of International Law and European Law, Issue 1 2021
Keywords posting of workers, freedom to provide services, posting directive, remuneration of posted workers, private international law
Authors Gábor Kártyás
AbstractAuthor's information

    The directive 96/71/EC on the posting of workers had been in force for over 20 years when its first amendment (Directive 2018/957) came into force on 30 July 2020. The Hungarian and Polish Governments initiated annulment proceedings against the new measure, primarily arguing that as the amendment extended the host state’s labor standards ó to posted workers, the directive is no longer compatible with the freedom to provide services (Cases C-620/18 and C-626/18). Although both claims were rejected, the actions contain a number of noteworthy legal arguments (from the perspective of home States), which highlight some of the long-known contradictions of EU legislation on postings. The article summarizes the CJEU’s key observations made in the judgments, which are important propositions for further discussion.


Gábor Kártyás
Gábor Kártyás: associate professor of law, Pázmány Péter Catholic University, Budapest.
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.

    By a majority of 4-3, the Supreme Court of Ireland has held that the Workplace Relations Commission’s power to adjudicate disputes between employers and employees was not unconstitutional. However, the majority of the Supreme Court did find that certain aspects of the Commission’s procedures were unconstitutional, namely the blanket ban on public hearings and the lack of capacity for taking evidence on oath. The Workplace Relations Act 2015 and the Workplace Relations Commission procedures have consequently been amended to address these issues. This case report is a follow-up on EELC 2020/34.


Laura Ryan
Laura Ryan is an Associate at Mason Hayes & Curran.
Pending Cases

Case C-311/21, Temporary Agency Work

CM – v – TimePartner Personalmanagement GmbH, reference lodged by the Bundesarbeitsgericht (Germany) on 18 May 2021

Journal European Employment Law Cases, Issue 3 2021
Keywords Temporary Agency Work

    The wording of a global exclusion clause in an employment contract also covered claims asserted on the grounds of intentional damage. However, such a clause was invalid in the case at hand because it resulted in a shortening of the statutory limitation periods. Both parties to the employment contract could not therefore refer to such a contractual exclusion clause. The consequence was that the statutory limitation periods applied. The employer can also invoke the invalidity of the exclusion clause, even if it drafted the clause itself. The judgment may also have important consequences for collective agreements.


Jana Voigt
Jana Voigt is senior associate at Luther Rechtsanwaltsgesellschaft in Düsseldorf, Germany.

Pia Schweers
Pia Schweers is associate at Luther Rechtsanwaltsgesellschaft in Essen, Germany.
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