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Developments in International Law

The Evolution of Content-Related Offences and Their Investigation During the First 20 Years of the Cybercrime Convention

Journal Hungarian Yearbook of International Law and European Law, Issue 1 2021
Keywords cybercrime, content-related offence, cyberbullying, privacy, wiretapping
Authors Kinga Sorbán
AbstractAuthor's information

    The Convention on Cybercrime otherwise known as the Budapest Convention was a complex, pioneering instrument addressing cross-border computer crimes in the wake of the 21st century. As the first international treaty aiming to tackle new threats emerging from the cyberspace, the Convention signed in 2001 certainly influenced national regulators and law enforcement over many years. Two decades have passed since 2001 and the Internet era has undergone previously unpredictable changes, as web 2.0 services started to thrive. Even though the Convention can be considered a landmark in international legislation, after 20 years one must eventually assess how well it stood the test of time and whether it still has relevance. This article has no smaller goal but to evaluate the evolution of content-related cybercrimes and try to the question whether the Convention is still fit to tackle contemporary issues or rather, is outdated and ready to retire.


Kinga Sorbán
Kinga Sorbán: junior research fellow, National University of Public Service, Budapest.
Developments in International Law

The Sudita Keita Versus Hungary Ruling of the ECtHR and the Right to Private Life of Stateless Persons

A Long Saga Comes to an End

Journal Hungarian Yearbook of International Law and European Law, Issue 1 2021
Keywords EctHR, stateless persons, right to private and family life, positive obligations of States, 1954 Convention relating to the Status of Stateless Persons
Authors Tamás Molnár
AbstractAuthor's information

    In the case of Sudita Keita v Hungary, the ECtHR handed down a key judgment relating to statelessness. In the ruling of 12 May 2020, the ECtHR unanimously found that Hungary’s failure to ensure stability of residence for the stateless applicant for roughly 15 years amounted to a violation of his right to respect for private and family life (Article 8 ECHR). This ruling follows in the footsteps of an earlier and similar Strasbourg judgment (Hoti v Croatia), and substantiates the jurisprudential line which provides protection to stateless individuals with unsettled status using the forcefield of Article 8 ECHR. The Sudita Keita case before the ECtHR was the final chapter in a long-lasting saga that had commenced before domestic authorities and courts in Hungary, at various instances, also with the involvement of the Constitutional Court.


Tamás Molnár
Tamás Molnár: legal research officer, EU Agency for Fundamental Rights, Vienna; visiting lecturer of international (migration) law, Corvinus University of Budapest.
Case Notes

The Afterlife of the Relocation of Judicial Cases

Journal Hungarian Yearbook of International Law and European Law, Issue 1 2021
Keywords right to a lawful judge, National Judicial Council, relocation of judicial cases, reasonable time, length of proceedings
Authors Ágnes Czine
AbstractAuthor's information

    The requirement of an independent and impartial tribunal established by law is set out in Article 6(1) ECHR and Article XXVIII(1) of the Fundamental Law of Hungary. The elements of the definition of the right to a fair trial are closely tied to the requirement of judicial independence, impartiality and a court established by law. These guarantees’ purpose is to ensure that the applicant receive a judgment that is not prejudged by other branches of power, such as the influence of the executive, or the arbitrariness of the judiciary. This important human and fundamental rights requirement is monitored by bodies dedicated to the protection of democratic institutions. According to the laws of Hungary, lawsuits may be transferred to another court by the National Office for the Judiciary in order to reduce the workload. This solution has received strong international attention and scrutiny. Although these are actually not in force, they still have repercussions, which must be dealt with by the Constitutional Court. This article seeks to provide insight into the constitutional afterlife of this system of reallocation.


Ágnes Czine
Ágnes Czine: justice, Constitutional Court of Hungary, Budapest; associate professor of law, and acting rector, Károli Gáspár University of the Reformed Church, Budapest.
Review of Hungarian Scholarly Literature

Tamás Molnár, The Interplay Between the EU’s Return Acquis and International Law (Book Review)

Edward Elgar, Cheltenham, 2021, 272 p, ISBN 978-1-83910-522-7

Journal Hungarian Yearbook of International Law and European Law, Issue 1 2021
Authors Izabella Majcher
Author's information

Izabella Majcher
Izabella Majcher: senior legal officer, European Council of Refugees and Exiles (ECRE), Brussels.
Case Notes

Can a Two-Tailed Dog Be Allowed Into the Polling Booth?

The Case of Magyar Kétfarkú Kutya Párt Versus Hungary Before the ECtHR

Journal Hungarian Yearbook of International Law and European Law, Issue 1 2021
Keywords freedom of speech, elections, ECtHR, democracy, secrecy of votes
Authors János Tamás Papp
AbstractAuthor's information

    The Hungarian satirical Two-Tailed Dog Party (Magyar Kétfarkú Kutya Párt – MKKP) applied to the ECtHR as a result of the decisions rendered by the Hungarian National Electoral Commission, the Curia of Hungary and the Constitutional Court, who ruled that a mobile application developed by the party allowing anonymous users to share their invalid votes violated Hungarian election law. By 16 votes to 1, the Grand Chamber of the ECtHR ruled that the Hungarian authorities had violated the Article of the ECHR on freedom of expression. According to the ECtHR’s reasoning, the severe uncertainties about the possible consequences of the legal provisions applied by the domestic authorities went beyond what is permissible under Article 10(2) ECHR. The ECtHR has ruled that a judicial interpretation of a law’s rules does not inherently violate the requirement that laws be written in such a way that the legal implications are predictable. However, since the national law in this case provided for a case-by-case limitation on the expression of an opinion on voting, electoral bodies and national courts that interpreted and enforced these rules enjoyed an excessive amount of discretion. In conclusion, the ECtHR found that legislation restricting freedom of expression must be treated more strictly in connection with electoral procedures: it must not be in any way misleading or inconsistent.


János Tamás Papp
János Tamás Papp: PhD candidate, research fellow, Pázmány Péter Catholic University, Budapest; media specialist, Institute for Media Studies of the Media Council of the National Media and Infocommunications Authority, 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.

    The Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) has ruled that ‘gender critical’ beliefs are protected philosophical beliefs for equality law purposes, while confirming that a belief in ‘gender identity’ is also a protected characteristic. This means that it is unlawful to discriminate against someone because they do or do not hold either of those beliefs.


Bethan Carney
Bethan Carney is a Managing Practice Development Lawyer, Lewis Silkin LLP.
Article

Access_open Text-mining for Lawyers: How Machine Learning Techniques Can Advance our Understanding of Legal Discourse

Journal Erasmus Law Review, Issue 1 2021
Keywords text mining, machine learning, law, natural language processing
Authors Arthur Dyevre
AbstractAuthor's information

    Many questions facing legal scholars and practitioners can be answered only by analysing and interrogating large collections of legal documents: statutes, treaties, judicial decisions and law review articles. I survey a range of novel techniques in machine learning and natural language processing – including topic modelling, word embeddings and transfer learning – that can be applied to the large-scale investigation of legal texts


Arthur Dyevre
Arthur Dyevre is Professor at the KU Leuven Centre for Empirical Jurisprudence, Leuven, Belgium. arthur.dyevre@kuleuven.be.
Article

Access_open The Child’s Contact with Grandparents

Journal Family & Law, September 2021
Keywords Family life, Best interest of the child, Contact rights, Grandchildren, Grandparents
Authors prof. M. Holdgaard
AbstractAuthor's information

    Grandparents hand down their experiences, knowledge, traditions and values to their grandchildren. As a high level of grandparental involvement may play an important role in a child’s well-being, legal protection of that family relation may be in the best interest of a given child. There is a continuing interaction between family law, cultural and social norms of what constitutes a family and how family life should be, and actual family practices and structures. Due to changing family patterns combined with an increasing number of divorces and cohabiting couples with children splitting up grandparents now play an increasing role in their grandchildren’s lives. Children become members within other types of family structures, e.g. single parents (raising half-siblings), families with yours and/or mine (and joint) children etc. When a child’s family includes a step-parent with children and step-grandparents – as well as the biological parents and grandparents – a potential risk of conflict among the family members is high. Grandparents, therefore, risk losing contact or having less contact than they had previously. At first glance, there might appear to be little reason for society to regulate the practices of grandparents as providers of non-formalized childcare or to protect the rights of children in these relationships. However, due to the changing family practices and social norms, one could argue that the legal protection of contact between grandparents and grandchildren is an important legal topic in domestic law and in academic discussions in the coming years. This article articulates these issues by framing three articles that together create a thematic map in this journal on Spanish and Catalan law, and Scandinavian law as well as the grandparents’ right to maintain contact with their grandchildren under the European Convention on Human Rights seen in a context of the best interest of the child.


prof. M. Holdgaard
Marianne Holdgaard is Professor in family and inheritance law at the School of Law, Faculty of Social Sciences, University of Aalborg
Article

Access_open Enhanced Contact Rights for Grandparents? A Critical View from Spanish and Catalan Laws

Journal Family & Law, September 2021
Keywords Contact with grandchildren, Best interest of the child, Parental responsibilities
Authors prof. dr. J. Ribot Igualada
AbstractAuthor's information

    This article examines how Spanish and Catalan laws deal with claims of grandparents who seek contact with their grandchildren against the will of one or both parents, and the scope given to their rights. It starts by explaining the content and the goals of the legal reforms enacted in Spain at the beginning of the 21st century to promote grandparents’ interests. Then, it presents the case law developed in the interpretation of the relevant legal rules. The resulting state of the law is assessed, taking into account the interests of all the parties involved (parents, grandparents, and grandchildren). The experience of more than twenty years of application of the specific provisions concerning grandparents’ contact rights sheds light on the impact of giving grandparents stronger legal rights. However, it also prompts the question of whether this legislative choice might have brought about useless and potentially harmful litigation.


prof. dr. J. Ribot Igualada
Jordi Ribot Igualada is Professor of Civil Law at the Institute of European and Comparative Law and Director of the Institute of European and Comparative Private Law (University of Girona).
Article

Access_open Grandparents’ and grandchildren's right to contact under the European Convention on Human Rights

Journal Family & Law, September 2021
Keywords Grandparents, Grandchildren, Family life, Contact, Best interests of the child, Child's views
Authors Prof. K. Sandberg
AbstractAuthor's information

    The article explores the extent of the right to family life under Article 8 ECHR with regard to contact between grandparents and grandchildren. An analysis of decisions from the European Court of Human Rights shows that although such a right may exist, it is not strong and depends heavily on the circumstances of the specific case. The article points to what seems to be an inconsistency in the Courts approach to these cases and questions the position of the children and their views and best interests.


Prof. K. Sandberg
Kirsten Sandberg is Professor of Law at the University of Oslo Faculty of Law.
Rulings

ECtHR 10 June 2021, application no. 45487/17 (Norwegian Confederation of Trade Unions (LO) and Norwegian Transport Workers’ Union (NTF) v. Norway), Collective Agreements, Unions, Free Movement, Other Fundamental Rights

Norwegian Confederation of Trade Unions (LO) and Norwegian Transport Workers’ Union (NTF) – v – Norway

Journal European Employment Law Cases, Issue 2 2021
Keywords Collective Agreements, Unions, Free Movement, Other Fundamental Rights
Abstract

    Well-founded decision to declare unlawful an announced trade union boycott to pressure foreign company into collective agreement in breach of EEA freedom of establishment.

    Mandatory vaccination policies may not be contrary to art. 8 ECHR.

Article

Consensual Accommodation of Sharia Law and Courts in Greece

Journal European Journal of Law Reform, Issue 2 2021
Keywords choice architecture, law reform, Molla Sali v. Greece, Mufti, multicultural accommodation, Muslim minority, nomoi group, Sharia law
Authors Nikos Koumoutzis
AbstractAuthor's information

    Having been exempted from a massive population exchange that took place between Greece and Turkey under the Treaty of Lausanne (1923), the Muslim minority of Western Thrace enjoys ever since a special status providing for the application of the Sharia law in family and succession matters, as well as the jurisdiction of the Mufti for the resolution of relevant disputes. A reform introduced by Law 4511/2018 marks a watershed moment in this long history. From now on, the Sharia law and the Mufti cease to be mandatory; their intervention requires the consent of the members of the minority, who also have the alternative to subject to the civil law and courts. This article tries to explore key features of the new model providing for an accommodation of the Muslim personal legal system based on choice. It focuses on the technique employed to structure the right of choice, on the proper ways for the exercise of choice, on the possibilities offered (or not) to make a partial choice only and revoke a previously made choice. In the end, a further question is raised, concerning how effective the right of choice may prove in the hands of women insiders, given that these are the most likely to experience pressure to demonstrate loyalty and not ignore the traditions and values – including the nomos – of their collective.


Nikos Koumoutzis
Nikos Koumoutzis is Associate Professor Law School at the University of Nicosia, ORCID ID: https://orcid.org/0000-0003-4362-2320
Article

Access_open Approach with Caution

Sunset Clauses as Safeguards of Democracy?

Journal European Journal of Law Reform, Issue 2 2021
Keywords emergency legislation, sunset clauses, post-legislative review, COVID-19
Authors Sean Molloy
AbstractAuthor's information

    In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, leaders across the globe scrambled to adopt emergency legislation. Amongst other things, these measures gave significant powers to governments in order to curb the spreading of a virus, which has shown itself to be both indiscriminate and deadly. Nevertheless, exceptional measures, however necessary in the short term, can have adverse consequences both on the enjoyment of human rights specifically and democracy more generally. Not only are liberties severely restricted and normal processes of democratic deliberation and accountability constrained but the duration of exceptional powers is also often unclear. One potentially ameliorating measure is the use of sunset clauses: dispositions that determine the expiry of a law or regulation within a predetermined period unless a review determines that there are reasons for extension. The article argues that without effective review processes, far from safeguarding rights and limiting state power, sunset clauses can be utilized to facilitate the transferring of emergency powers whilst failing to guarantee the very problems of normalized emergency they are included to prevent. Thus, sunset clauses and the review processes that attach to them should be approached with caution.


Sean Molloy
Dr Sean Molloy is a Lecturer in Law at Northumbria University.

    In 2014, the ECJ was presented with a preliminary reference from the District Court in Kolding on the matter of whether EU law provides protection against discrimination on grounds of obesity with regard to employment and occupation. Following the ECJ’s ruling, first the District Court and later the High Court found that an employee’s obesity as such did not constitute a disability within the meaning of Directive 2000/78/EC establishing a general framework for equal treatment in employment and occupation since his obesity had not constituted a limitation or inconvenience in the performance of his job.


Christian K. Clasen
Christian K. Clasen is a partner at Norrbom Vinding.

    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.
Article

Access_open Toegang tot het recht in de rechtsstaat

Journal Netherlands Journal of Legal Philosophy, Issue 1 2021
Keywords rechtsstaat, toegang tot het recht, sociale dimensie, Nicholas Barber, Pierre Bourdieu
Authors Nathalie Franziska Hendrika Schnabl
AbstractAuthor's information

    This paper considers access to the rule of law as a requirement for the well-functioning of the rule of law in society. In most rule of law debates, access to the rule of law is not a topic of discussion because these scholars focus themselves solely on the legalistic dimension of the rule of law. Barber was the first to mention the social dimension explicitly but without a theoretical framework. Based on the three capitals of Bourdieu, this paper offers a framework to determine the elements of the social dimension. With these capitals, barriers to the access to the rule of law for individuals can be identified, and solutions can be offered.


Nathalie Franziska Hendrika Schnabl
Nathalie Schnabl is promovenda aan de Faculteit Rechtswetenschappen van de Open Universiteit.

    La présente contribution vise à analyser les développements jurisprudentiels de la Commission européenne des droits de l’homme et de la Cour européenne des droits de l’homme en matière d’interruption de grossesse. Nous formulons une réponse à la question suivante: vu de l’évolution de la jurisprudence, quelles conclusions pouvons-nous tirer sur la position actuelle de la Cour européenne des droits de l’homme sur la question du droit et de l’accès à l’avortement? À travers une analyse des décisions et arrêts rendus par la Commission et la Cour, nous étudions la façon dont les différents intérêts et droits s’articulent, à savoir ceux de la femme enceinte, du père potentiel, de l’enfant à naître et de la société. Au terme de cette étude, nous déterminons la marge d’appréciation dont jouissent les états membres en la matière, ainsi que la manière dont la Cour réalise une balance des différents intérêts en présence.

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    This contribution aims to analyze the case-law developments of the European Commission of Human Rights and the European Court of Human Rights in matters of termination of pregnancy. We formulate an answer to the following question: regarding the case-law developments, what can we conclude on the European Court of Human Rights’ current position on the right and access to abortion? Through an analysis of the Commission and the Court’s decisions and judgments, we study how the different interests and rights are articulated, namely those of the pregnant woman, the potential father, the unborn child, and the society. At the end of this study, we determine the member states’ margin of appreciation regarding abortion and how the Court finds a balance between the various concerned interests.


A. Cassiers
Aurélie Cassiers est assistante - doctorante à l'UHasselt. L’auteure souhaite remercier la relecture attentive et les remarques pertinentes de sa promotrice et sa co-promotrice, prof. dr. Charlotte Declerck (UHasselt) et prof. dr. Géraldine Mathieu (UNamur).
Article

Access_open The ECHR and Private Intercountry Adoptions in Germany and the Netherlands: Lessons Learned from Campanelli and Paradiso v. Italy

Journal Family & Law, January 2021
Keywords Private intercountry adoptions, surrogacy, ECHR, UNCRC, the best interests of the child
Authors dr. E.C. Loibl
AbstractAuthor's information

    Within the past half century, a market in adoptable children has emerged. The imbalance between the demand for and the supply of adoptable children, combined with the large sums of Western money, incite greedy actors in poor countries to illegally obtain children for adoption. This renders intercountry adoption conducive to abuses. Private adoptions are particularly prone to abusive and commercial practices. Yet, although they violate both international and national law, German and Dutch family courts commonly recognize them. They argue that removing the child from the illegal adopters would not be compatible with the rights and best interests of the individual child concerned. In 2017, the ECtHR rendered a ground-breaking judgement in Campanelli and Paradiso v. Italy. In this case, the Court dealt with the question as to whether removing a child from the care of an Italian couple that entered into a surrogacy agreement with a Russian clinic, given that surrogacy is illegal in Italy, violated Article 8 ECHR. Contrary to previous case law, in which the ECtHR placed a strong emphasis on the best interests of the individual child concerned, the Court attached more weight to the need to prevent disorder and crime by putting an end to the illegal situation created by the Italian couple and by discouraging others from bypassing national laws. The article argues that considering the shifting focus of the ECtHR on the prevention of unlawful conduct and, thus, on the best interests of children in general, the German and Dutch courts’ failure to properly balance the different interests at stake in a private international adoption by mainly focusing on the individual rights and interests of the children is difficult to maintain.

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    In de afgelopen halve eeuw is er een markt voor adoptiekinderen ontstaan. De disbalans tussen de vraag naar en het aanbod van adoptiekinderen, in combinatie met grote sommen westers geld, zet hebzuchtige actoren in arme landen ertoe aan illegaal kinderen te verkrijgen voor adoptie. Dit maakt interlandelijke adoptie bevorderlijk voor misbruik. Particuliere adoptie is bijzonder vatbaar voor misbruik en commerciële praktijken. Ondanks het feit dat deze privé-adopties in strijd zijn met zowel internationaal als nationaal recht, worden ze door Duitse en Nederlandse familierechtbanken doorgaans wel erkend. Daartoe wordt aangevoerd dat het verwijderen van het kind van de illegale adoptanten niet verenigbaar is met de rechten en belangen van het individuele kind in kwestie. In 2017 heeft het EHRM een baanbrekende uitspraak gedaan in de zaak Campanelli en Paradiso t. Italië. In deze zaak behandelde het Hof de vraag of het verwijderen van een kind uit de zorg van een Italiaans echtpaar dat een draagmoederschapsovereenkomst met een Russische kliniek is aangegaan, in strijd is met artikel 8 EVRM, daarbij in ogenschouw genomen dat draagmoederschap in Italië illegaal is. In tegenstelling tot eerdere jurisprudentie, waarin het EHRM sterk de nadruk legde op de belangen van het individuele kind, hechtte het Hof meer gewicht aan de noodzaak om de openbare orde te bewaken en criminaliteit te voorkomen door een einde te maken aan de illegale situatie die door het Italiaanse echtpaar was gecreëerd door onder andere het omzeilen van nationale wetten. Het artikel stelt dat, gezien de verschuiving in de focus van het EHRM op het voorkomen van onwettig gedrag en dus op het belang van kinderen in het algemeen, de Duitse en Nederlandse rechtbanken, door met name te focussen op de individuele rechten en belangen van de kinderen, er niet in slagen om de verschillende belangen die op het spel staan ​​bij een particuliere internationale adoptie goed af te wegen.


dr. E.C. Loibl
Elvira Loibl is Assistant Professor Criminal Law and Criminology, Universiteit Maastricht.
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