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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

Performing the COVID-19 Crisis in Flemish Populist Radical-Right Discourse

A Case Study of Vlaams Belang’s Coronablunderboek

Journal Politics of the Low Countries, Issue 2 2021
Keywords populism, COVID-19, crisis, discourse
Authors Jens Meijen
AbstractAuthor's information

    In June 2020, the Flemish populist radical right party Vlaams Belang (VB) published the Corona Blunder Book (CBB; Coronablunderboek in Dutch), detailing the government’s mistakes in handling the COVID-19 crisis. Populist parties can ‘perform’ crisis by emphasising the mistakes made by opponents (Moffitt, 2015) and may use a specifically populist discursive style, consisting largely of aggressive and sarcastic language (Brubaker, 2017). This paper takes the CBB as a case study in the populist performance of crisis and the populist style, finding that the book is, first, a clear example of populist ‘everyman’ stylistics and the performance of crisis, and, second, that VB uses the book to shift the COVID-19 crisis from a public health crisis to a crisis of governance, seeking to blame Belgium’s federal structure for the government’s alleged mismanagement of the COVID-19 pandemic and hence arguing for Flemish independence, one of the party’s main agenda points.


Jens Meijen
Jens Meijen is a PhD candidate at Leuven International and European Studies (LINES) at KU Leuven. His research focuses on nationalism, populism, and diplomacy.

    In its decision rendered on 28 February 2019, the Luxembourg Court of Appeal (Cour d’appel de Luxembourg) examined under which circumstances on-call duty performed at the workplace qualifies as actual working time.
    The issue raised was whether the time spent at night by an employee (i.e. the presence of an employee at the workplace) performing the work of a live-in carer was to be considered as ‘actual working time’.
    The Court expressly referred to EU case law and decided that the concept of actual working time is defined by two criteria, namely (i) whether the employee during such a period must be at the employer’s disposal, and (ii) the interference with the employee’s freedom to choose their activities.
    In view of the working hours provided for in the employment contract and in the absence of evidence proving that the employee would not have been at the employer’s home during her working hours, the Court found that the employee stayed at the employer’s home at night and at the employer’s request. It was irrelevant in this respect whether it was for convenience or not. It was further established that the employee could not leave during the night and return to her home and go about her personal business, so that the hours she worked at night were to be considered as actual working time.
    Given that the employee’s objections regarding her salary were justified (as the conditions of her remuneration violated statutory provisions), the Court decided that the dismissal was unfair.


Michel Molitor
Michel Molitor is the managing partner of MOLITOR Avocats à la Cour SARL in Luxembourg, www.molitorlegal.lu.

    On 22 May 2020, fifty-two members of the Hungarian parliament petitioned the Constitutional Court which was requested to establish the unconstitutionality of Section 6(4) of Government Decree no. 47/2020 (III. 18), its conflict with an international treaty and to annul it with retroactive effect to the date of its entry into force. According to Section 6(4) of the Decree “in a separate agreement, the employee and the employer may depart from the provisions of the Labour Code” (i.e. ‘absolute dispositivity’). The petition, among other things, alleged the violation of equal treatment and the right to rest and leisure. The Constitutional Court rejected the motion to establish the unconstitutionality of Section 6(4) and its annulment, since it was repealed on 18 June 2020. The Constitutional Court may, as a general rule, examine the unconstitutionality of the legislation in force, however it was no longer possible to examine the challenged piece of legislation in the framework of a posterior abstract norm control.


Kristof Toth
Kristof Toth is PhD student at the Karoli Gaspar University in Hungary.

    In the context of collective redundancies the term ‘establishment’ (Betrieb) must be interpreted in compliance with the Collective Redundancies Directive 98/59/EC (the ‘Directive’). The early warning mechanism of Section 45a of the Austrian Labour Market Promotion Act (Arbeitsmarktförderungsgesetz, ‘AMFG’) is only triggered if the number of the planned redundancies reaches a relevant threshold in an establishment. In the present case the stores in question were qualified as separate establishments within the meaning of Section 45a AMFG.


Andreas Tinhofer
Andreas Tinhofer is a partner at Zeiler Floyd Zadkovich.

Markus Blatnig
Markus Blatnig is an associate at Zeiler Floyd Zadkovich.
Article

Democratic Scrutiny of COVID-19 Laws

Are Parliamentary Committees Up to the Job?

Journal European Journal of Law Reform, Issue 2 2021
Keywords parliament, scrutiny, committees, COVID-19, rights, legislation, Australia, New Zealand, United Kingdom
Authors Sarah Moulds
AbstractAuthor's information

    In response to the complex and potentially devastating threat posed by COVID-19, parliaments around the world have transferred unprecedented powers to executive governments and their agencies (Edgar, ‘Law-making in a Crisis’, 2020), often with the full support of the communities they represent. These laws were passed within days, sometimes hours, with limited safeguards and a heavy reliance on sunsetting provisions, some of which are dependent on the pandemic being officially called to an end. While parliaments themselves have suspended or reduced sitting days (Twomey, ‘A Virtual Australian Parliament is Possible’, 2020), parliamentary committees have emerged as the forum of choice when it comes to providing some form of parliamentary oversight of executive action.
    This article aims to evaluate the capacity of parliamentary committees established within the Australian, New Zealand (NZ) and United Kingdom (UK) parliaments to effectively scrutinize and review governments’ responses to COVID-19. It does this by comparing the legal framework underpinning the relevant committees in each jurisdiction and examining the work of these committees with a view to offering some preliminary views as to their impact on the shape of the laws made in response to COVID-19 in those jurisdictions. The article concludes by offering some preliminary observations about the scrutiny capacity of the parliamentary committee systems in Australia, NZ and the UK in the context of emergency lawmaking and flags areas for further research, evaluation and reform.


Sarah Moulds
Dr. Sarah Moulds, University of South Australia.
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.
Article

The Hallmarks of the Legislative Drafting Process in Common Law Systems:

A Comparative Study of Eswatini and Ghana

Journal European Journal of Law Reform, Issue 1 2021
Keywords legislation, comparing drafting process, Commonwealth Africa, comparative law
Authors Nomalanga Pearl Gule
AbstractAuthor's information

    This research study is an attempt to test the comparative criteria developed by Stefanou in his work where he discusses the characteristics that defines the drafting process in the two most dominant legal systems, common and civil law. It examines the legislative drafting process in common law countries with the aim to establish if the comparative criteria identify with the process that defines the drafting of legislation in those jurisdictions. Two common law jurisdictions were selected and an in-depth comparative analysis of steps undertaken in their drafting process was done. The scope of the study is only confined to the drafting process in the common law system and the criteria that is tested are those which define the drafting process in the common law jurisdictions only.


Nomalanga Pearl Gule
Nomalanga Pearl Gule is State Counsel, Government of Eswatini, Attorney at Law (Eswatini Bar). LL.B (UNISWA), LL.M Commercial Law (UCT), LL.M Drafting Legislation, Regulations, and Policy (IALS).
Article

Reducing Ethnic Conflict in Guyana through Political Reform

Journal European Journal of Law Reform, Issue 1 2021
Keywords Guyana, race, ethnic conflict, political power, constitutional reform
Authors Nicola Pierre
AbstractAuthor's information

    This article discusses using constitutional reform to reduce ethnic conflict in Guyana. I start by exploring the determinants of ethnic conflict. I next examine Guyana’s ethnopolitical history to determine what factors led to political alignment on ethnic lines and then evaluate the effect of the existing political institutions on ethnic conflict. I close with a discussion on constitutional reform in which I consider a mix of consociationalist, integrative, and power-constraining mechanisms that may be effective in reducing ethnic conflict in Guyana’s ethnopolitical circumstances.


Nicola Pierre
Nicola Pierre is Commissioner of Title and Land Court Judge in Guyana.

    On 16 December 2020, the Supreme Court of Lithuania (Cassation Court) delivered a ruling in a case where an employee claimed that the employer, JSC ‘Lithuanian Railways’, did not apply the regulations of the company’s employer-level collective agreement and did not pay a special bonus – an anniversary benefit (i.e. a benefit paid to employees on reaching a certain age) – because the employee was not a member of the trade union which had signed the collective agreement. According to the employee, she was discriminated against because of her membership of another trade union, i.e membership of the ‘wrong’ trade union.
    The Supreme Court held that combatting discrimination under certain grounds falls within the competence and scope of EU law, but that discrimination on the grounds of trade union membership is not distinguished as a form of discrimination. Also, the Court ruled that in this case (contrary to what the employee claimed in her cassation appeal) Article 157 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU) is not applicable because it regulates the prohibition of discrimination on other (sex) grounds. Moreover, the Court found that there was no legal basis for relying on the relevant case law of the ECJ which provides clarification on other forms of discrimination, but not on discrimination based on trade union membership.


Vida Petrylaitė
Vida Petrylaitė is an associate professor at Vilnius university.

    The Vaslui Tribunal has recently annulled an individual dismissal decision issued during the state of alert in Romania due to formalities which had not been observed by the employer. While the judge invested with determining the matter limited their analysis to the elements contained in the individual dismissal decision, the judicial assistant ascertained, within a competing opinion, that the dismissal decision should have been annulled for other reasons, namely for the fact that, in reality, the employer had implemented a collective redundancy process without observing the procedure and employees’ rights in the event of such dismissal. Relying on the provisions of Directive 98/59/EC of 20 July 1998 on the approximation of the laws of the Member States relating to collective redundancies, the judicial assistant has made an exhaustive analysis of the conditions required for the existence of a collective dismissal.
    While the competing opinion does not have the same effect as a court ruling, it is part of the judicial procedure and, from this perspective, the independence and impartiality of all the members of the court and their obedience solely to the law is maintained.


Andreea Suciu
Andreea Suciu is Managing Partner of Suciu I The Employment Law Firm.

Andreea Serban
Andreea Serban is an attorney-at-law at Suciu I The Employment Law Firm.
Case Reports

2021/9 AGET Iraklis: another belated victory for the employer (GR)

Journal European Employment Law Cases, Issue 1 2021
Keywords Information & Consultation, Collective Redundancies
Authors Effie Mitsopoulou
AbstractAuthor's information

    The Supreme Court of Greece has clarified that the validity of terminations is not affected by the lack of consultation with the employees’ representatives, as per Directive 2002/14/EC on a general framework for informing and consulting employees. In case of non-compliance with such obligation, alternative administrative or judicial measures can be provided by the Member States. It further reiterated that the expediency and necessity of the company’s business decision to suddenly interrupt its plant operation cannot be subject to judicial control.


Effie Mitsopoulou
Effie Mitsopoulou is an attorney-at-law at Effie Mitsopoulou Law Office.
Rulings

ECJ 11 February 2021, Joined Cases C-407/19 and C-471/19 (Katoen Natie Bulk Terminals and General Services Antwerp), Other Forms of Free Movement

Katoen Natie Bulk Terminals NV and General Services Antwerp NV – v – Belgische Staat and Middlegate Europe NV – v – Ministerraad, Belgian cases

Journal European Employment Law Cases, Issue 1 2021
Keywords Other Forms of Free Movement
Abstract

    Legislation which reserves dock work to recognised workers may be compatible with EU law if it is aimed at ensuring safety in port areas and preventing workplace accidents. However, the intervention of a joint administrative committee in the recognition of dockers is neither necessary nor appropriate for attaining the objective pursued.

Case Law

Access_open 2021/1 EELC’s review of the year 2020

Journal European Employment Law Cases, Issue 1 2021
Authors Ruben Houweling, Daiva Petrylaitė, Marianne Hrdlicka e.a.
Abstract

    Various of our academic board analysed employment law cases from last year. However, first, we start with some general remarks.


Ruben Houweling

Daiva Petrylaitė

Marianne Hrdlicka

Attila Kun

Luca Calcaterra

Francesca Maffei

Jean-Philippe Lhernould

Niklas Bruun

Jan-Pieter Vos

Luca Ratti

Andrej Poruban

Anthony Kerr

Filip Dorssemont
Case Reports

2021/2 Warning strike timing (HU)

Journal European Employment Law Cases, Issue 1 2021
Keywords Collective Agreements, Unions, Other Fundamental Rights
Authors Zsófia Oláh and Ildikó Rácz
AbstractAuthor's information

    This case involved an employer who claimed that a trade union organised an unlawful warning strike. The Curia (the highest judicial authority in Hungary) found that the trade union violated its obligation to cooperate with the employer according to Act No. 7 of 1989 on Strikes. The Curia and also the Regional Courts made some clear points on the question of the timing of a warning strike. The employer must be notified of a planned strike in sufficient time, which requirement also applies in the case of warning strikes. The time can be considered as sufficient if the employer is able to fulfil its rights to protect its property, prevent damage resulting from the strike, to carry out its duties to protect life and property, and to organise work accordingly. Failing this obligation, the warning strike is unlawful. The notice shall state the date and time that such action will commence.


Zsófia Oláh
Zsófia Oláh is a Partner at OPL Law Firm.

Ildikó Rácz
Ildikó Rácz is a Junior Associate at OPL Law Firm.

    The Bulgarian Supreme Administrative Court has ruled that an employee’s right to a guaranteed payment from the Guaranteed Receivables Fund arises only after a court decision for opening of bankruptcy proceedings has been issued and the decision has been published in the Commercial Register with the Registry Agency of the Republic of Bulgaria. Therefore, if this condition is not met, the employee is not entitled to such payment even if the employer is de facto insolvent.


Kalina Tchakarova
Kalina Tchakarova is a partner at Djingov, Gouginski, Kyutchukov and Velichkov.
Article

Comments and Content from Virtual International Online Dispute Resolution Forum

1-2 March 2021, Hosted by the National Center for Technology and Dispute Resolution (NCTDR)

Journal International Journal of Online Dispute Resolution, Issue 1 2021
Authors David Allen Larson, Noam Ebner, Jan Martinez e.a.
Abstract

    For the past 20 years, NCTDR has hosted a series of ODR Forums in locations around the world. For 2021, the Forum was held virtually, with live presentation over a web video platform, and recorded presentations available to participants. A full recording of the sessions can be found through http://odr.info/2021-virtual-odr-forum-now-live/. The following items are narrative notes from some of the presentations:

    • David Allen Larson – ODR Accessibility

    • Noam Ebner – Human Touch

    • Jan Martinez & Amy Schmitz – ODR and Innovation

    • Frank Fowlie – Online Sport Dispute Resolution

    • Larry Bridgesmith – AI Introductory Notes

    • Julie Sobowale – AI and Systemic Bias

    • Clare Fowler – DEODRISE

    • Michael Wolf – ODR 2.0 System Design

    • Chris Draper – Algorithmic ODR

    • Zbynek Loebl – Open ODR


David Allen Larson

Noam Ebner

Jan Martinez

Amy Schmitz

Frank Fowlie

Larry Bridgesmith

Julie Sobowale

Clare Fowler

Michael Wolf

Chris Draper

Zbynek Loebl
Article

A maximalist approach of restorative justice to address environmental harms and crimes

Analysing the Brumadinho dam collapse in Brazil

Journal The International Journal of Restorative Justice, Issue 1 2021
Keywords environmental law, maximalist approach, restorative justice principles and concepts, decision-making process, sanctioning rules
Authors Carlos Frederico Da Silva
AbstractAuthor's information

    In this article, the author analyses court cases arising from the rupture of the mining tailings dam in the city of Brumadinho, Brazil, on 25 January 2019. In a civil lawsuit context, legal professionals recognised damage to people and the environment during hearings involving a judge, prosecutors, lawyers and corporate representatives. The centrality of the victims’ interests and the need for remedial measures prevailed in the agreements signed mainly to provide urgent relief and restore damage to the ecosystem. In the criminal lawsuit dealing with the same facts, there have not yet been acquittals, non-prosecution agreements or convictions. By employing a socio-legal approach to contrast different types of legal reasoning, this article explores the possibilities of restorative responses in civil proceedings and explains the lack of them in criminal justice. In highlighting some characteristics of punishment theories that hinder a possible restorative justice approach, the article offers a critique of a penal system mostly linked to argumentative competition rather than persuasive conflict resolution. The author argues that jurisprudence should address transdisciplinary concepts, such as responsive regulation, restorative efforts, proportionality and individualisation of punishment. The discussion can shed light on the decision-making process to allow environmental restorative justice responses to crimes.


Carlos Frederico Da Silva
Carlos Frederico Braga Da Silva is a PhD researcher associated to the Graduate School of Sociology at the Federal University of Minas Gerais, Brazil, and to the Canadian Chair of Legal Traditions and Penal Rationality, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Criminology, University of Ottawa, Canada. He also works as a state judge in Belo Horizonte, Minas Gerais, Brazil. Contact author: carlosfrebrasilva@gmail.com.

Gijs van Maanen
Gijs van Maanen is PhD researcher at Tilburg Law School.


Claire Toumieux
Claire Toumieux and Susan Ekrami is partner at Allen & Overy LLP in Paris, www.allenovery.com.

Susan Ekrami
Susan Ekrami is a senior associate with Allen & Overy LLP in Paris, www.allenovery.com.
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