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Law Review

2019/1 EELC’s review of the year 2018

Journal European Employment Law Cases, Issue 1 2019
Authors Ruben Houweling, Catherine Barnard, Filip Dorssemont e.a.
Abstract

    For the second time, various of our academic board analysed employment law cases from last year. However, first, we start with some general remarks.


Ruben Houweling

Catherine Barnard

Filip Dorssemont

Jean-Philippe Lhernould

Francesca Maffei

Niklas Bruun

Anthony Kerr

Jan-Pieter Vos

Luca Ratti

Daiva Petrylaite

Andrej Poruban

Stein Evju
Article

Constitutional Unamendability in the Nordic Countries

Journal European Journal of Law Reform, Issue 3 2019
Keywords the Nordic constitutions, constitutional unamendability, explicit limits, implicit limits, supra-constitutional limits, review of constitutional amendments
Authors Tuomas Ojanen
AbstractAuthor's information

    With the exception of the Constitution of Norway, the Constitutions of Denmark, Finland, Iceland and Sweden are silent on any substantive limits to the power of constitutional amendment. Until now, the topic of constitutional unamendability has also attracted very little attention in Nordic constitutional scholarship.
    However, some idiosyncrasies making up the identity of the Nordic constitutions, as well as constitutional limits to Nordic participation in European integration, may implicate the existence of some implicit limits to amendment powers. Similarly, international human rights obligations binding upon the Nordic countries, as well as European Union law and European Economic Area law, may impose some external, supra-constitutional limitations on the powers of Nordic constitutional amenders. However, the existence of any implicit or supra-constitutional unamendability is speculative in the current state of evolution of Nordic constitutionalism. This is even more so since the use of constitutional amendment powers are beyond judicial review by the Nordic courts.


Tuomas Ojanen
Tuomas Ojanen is Professor of Constitutional Law, University of Helsinki, contact: tuomas.ojanen@helsinki.fi.
Article

Exploring the intertwining between human rights and restorative justice in private cross-border disputes

Journal The International Journal of Restorative Justice, Issue 1 2019
Keywords International human rights, private actors, horizontal effect, restorative justice
Authors Marta Sá Rebelo
AbstractAuthor's information

    International human rights instruments operate on the assumption that states are the focal human rights duty bearers. However, private actors can harm human rights as well. Moreover, since mechanisms at a supranational level are lacking, these instruments rely primarily on states for their enforcement. Yet states’ internal rules and courts are meant to address infringements that are confined within their borders, and are therefore often structurally unable to deal with violations having transnational impact. Restorative justice has proven to respond in depth to different kinds of wrongdoing and, although addressing the peculiarities of each case, restorative procedures can systemically prevent deviant behaviour as well. Additionally, as restorative justice relies on voluntary participation it need not operate in a specific territory. Having this broader picture in mind, the article explores whether restorative justice might be adequate for dealing with human rights infringements perpetrated by private actors that have cross-border impact.


Marta Sá Rebelo
Marta Sá Rebelo is a PhD researcher at Católica Global School of Law and a teaching assistant at Católica Lisbon School of Law, Universidade Católica Portuguesa, Lisbon, Portugal.
Article

Access_open Right to Access Information as a Collective-Based Approach to the GDPR’s Right to Explanation in European Law

Journal Erasmus Law Review, Issue 3 2018
Keywords automated decision-making, right to access information, right to explanation, prohibition on discrimination, public information
Authors Joanna Mazur
AbstractAuthor's information

    This article presents a perspective which focuses on the right to access information as a mean to ensure a non-discriminatory character of algorithms by providing an alternative to the right to explanation implemented in the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). I adopt the evidence-based assumption that automated decision-making technologies have an inherent discriminatory potential. The example of a regulatory means which to a certain extent addresses this problem is the approach based on privacy protection in regard to the right to explanation. The Articles 13-15 and 22 of the GDPR provide individual users with certain rights referring to the automated decision-making technologies. However, the right to explanation not only may have a very limited impact, but it also focuses on individuals thus overlooking potentially discriminated groups. Because of this, the article offers an alternative approach on the basis of the right to access information. It explores the possibility of using this right as a tool to receive information on the algorithms determining automated decision-making solutions. Tracking an evolution of the interpretation of Article 10 of the Convention for the Protection of Human Right and Fundamental Freedoms in the relevant case law aims to illustrate how the right to access information may become a collective-based approach towards the right to explanation. I consider both, the potential of this approach, such as its more collective character e.g. due to the unique role played by the media and NGOs in enforcing the right to access information, as well as its limitations.


Joanna Mazur
Joanna Mazur, M.A., PhD student, Faculty of Law and Administration, Uniwersytet Warszawski.
Article

Access_open Privatising Law Enforcement in Social Networks: A Comparative Model Analysis

Journal Erasmus Law Review, Issue 3 2018
Keywords user generated content, public and private responsibilities, intermediary liability, hate speech and fake news, protection of fundamental rights
Authors Katharina Kaesling
AbstractAuthor's information

    These days, it appears to be common ground that what is illegal and punishable offline must also be treated as such in online formats. However, the enforcement of laws in the field of hate speech and fake news in social networks faces a number of challenges. Public policy makers increasingly rely on the regu-lation of user generated online content through private entities, i.e. through social networks as intermediaries. With this privat-ization of law enforcement, state actors hand the delicate bal-ancing of (fundamental) rights concerned off to private entities. Different strategies complementing traditional law enforcement mechanisms in Europe will be juxtaposed and analysed with particular regard to their respective incentive structures and consequential dangers for the exercise of fundamental rights. Propositions for a recommendable model honouring both pri-vate and public responsibilities will be presented.


Katharina Kaesling
Katharina Kaesling, LL.M. Eur., is research coordinator at the Center for Advanced Study ‘Law as Culture’, University of Bonn.
Part II Private Justice

Using Technology and ADR Methods to Enhance Access to Justice

Journal International Journal of Online Dispute Resolution, Issue 1-2 2018
Keywords ODR, ADR, mediation, online court, e-court, consumer ADR, CADR, CDR, ombudsman
Authors Pablo Cortes
AbstractAuthor's information

    This article discusses how technology and extrajudicial processes can provide a solution to the access-to-justice problem for self-represented litigants. The article first observes the need for efficient dispute resolution processes based on a wider concept of access to justice and argues for greater integration amongst courts and extrajudicial bodies, especially in the consumer sphere where dispute resolution bodies are currently undergoing an institutionalization process as a result of recent EU legislation. Accordingly, it is argued that access to justice for consumers will only be achieved if they have access to either an accountable and effective extrajudicial scheme that offers adjudication or a truly user-friendly and accessible online court that incorporates alternative dispute resolution techniques as the United Kingdom has endeavoured to deliver. To that end, this article examines the policy options for the English Online Court with a particular focus on the challenges faced by litigants in person. Finally, this article submits that dispute system design changes need to be informed by empirical research and a holistic policy strategy on dispute resolution.


Pablo Cortes
Pablo Cortes is Professor of Civil Justice, Leicester Law School, University of Leicester.
Part II Private Justice

Reputational Feedback Systems and Consumer Rights

Improving the European Online Redress System

Journal International Journal of Online Dispute Resolution, Issue 1-2 2018
Keywords reputational feedback systems, consumer’s protection, dispute resolution, ADR, ODR, enforceability, ecommerce, European redress system small claims
Authors Aura Esther Vilalta Nicuesa
AbstractAuthor's information

    The European Union single market needs to tackle an outstanding issue to boost competitiveness and growth: a trust-based redress framework that ensures the effectiveness of consumers’ rights. The current disparities among dispute resolution mechanisms, added to the fact that in practice many do not guarantee participation and enforceability, are serious obstacles to this goal. Trust and the integration of certain dispute avoidance tools added to the regulation of some common enforcement mechanisms are key issues in the field of consumer protection. The goal of this article is to offer some insights within the context of the European Union legislative proposals aimed at improving the current redress system.


Aura Esther Vilalta Nicuesa
Aura Esther Vilalta Nicuesa is Professor of Law, Universitat Oberta de Catalunya (UOC) and member of the National Center or Technology and Dispute Resolution, Massachusetts, Amherst.
Article

Access_open Evidence-Based Regulation and the Translation from Empirical Data to Normative Choices: A Proportionality Test

Journal Erasmus Law Review, Issue 2 2018
Keywords evidence-based, regulation, proportionality, empirical law studies, law and society studies
Authors Rob van Gestel and Peter van Lochem
AbstractAuthor's information

    Studies have shown that the effects of scientific research on law and policy making are often fairly limited. Different reasons can be given for this: scientists are better at falsifying hypothesis than at predicting the future, the outcomes of academic research and empirical evidence can be inconclusive or even contradictory, the timing of the legislative cycle and the production of research show mismatches, there can be clashes between the political rationality and the economic or scientific rationality in the law making process et cetera. There is one ‘wicked’ methodological problem, though, that affects all regulatory policy making, namely: the ‘jump’ from empirical facts (e.g. there are too few organ donors in the Netherlands and the voluntary registration system is not working) to normative recommendations of what the law should regulate (e.g. we need to change the default rule so that everybody in principle becomes an organ donor unless one opts out). We are interested in how this translation process takes place and whether it could make a difference if the empirical research on which legislative drafts are build is more quantitative type of research or more qualitative. That is why we have selected two cases in which either type of research played a role during the drafting phase. We use the lens of the proportionality principle in order to see how empirical data and scientific evidence are used by legislative drafters to justify normative choices in the design of new laws.


Rob van Gestel
Rob van Gestel is professor of theory and methods of regulation at Tilburg University.

Peter van Lochem
Dr. Peter van Lochem is jurist and sociologist and former director of the Academy for Legislation.
Article

Access_open Sustainable Enjoyment of Economic and Social Rights in Times of Crisis

Obstacles to Overcome and Bridges to Cross

Journal European Journal of Law Reform, Issue 4 2018
Keywords social and economic rights, austerity measures, Euro crisis, defaulting countries
Authors Dr. Natalie Alkiviadou
AbstractAuthor's information

    In 2008, the European Union was hit by the most severe financial downturn since the Great Recession of the 1930s. One of the major consequences of this phenomenon was the deterioration in the enjoyment of human rights, in particular economic and social rights. While it is indisputable that the crisis itself was directly correlated to the erosion of such rights, the conditions attached to the loan agreements between defaulting countries and the three lending institutions, namely the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the European Central Bank and the European Commission, have negatively affected the rights under consideration. Loans came with strict austerity measures, such as public expenditure cuts in the realm of, inter alia, public services, benefits and social security. This article considers the deterioration in the enjoyment of economic and social rights by Union inhabitants and particularly the anti-crisis strategy adopted by the European Union, which, as will be demonstrated, directly contributed to this deterioration. The stance of the three institutions was facilitated by the less than proactive, but improving, positioning of the Court of Justice of the European Union in case law, which will be assessed. It must be noted that it is not the three institutions acting alone in this process; the Member States are the ones who agree to the loans and their conditions and implement austerity measures on the ground. However, as will be reflected, the practical role and actual input of the countries themselves in this procedure is limited. The central theoretical tenet of the article is that the European Union is re-shifting its direction to the almost absolute adoption of an economic constitution, with little regard to its social counterpart. Within the aforementioned framework, this article seeks to assess the status of economic and social rights in a crisis-hit Union, provide a theoretical explanation for this occurrence and put forth possibilities for positive change, placing the protection and promotion of economic and social rights at the heart of any responses to crisis as a method to ensure their sustainable protection effectively.


Dr. Natalie Alkiviadou
Dr Natalie Alkiviadou is a Lecturer at the University of Central Lancashire Cyprus.
Article

The Suprema Lex of Malta

A Forgotten Law in Legislative Drafting, Statutory Interpretation and Law Making?

Journal European Journal of Law Reform, Issue 4 2018
Keywords Maltese Law, legislative drafting, statutory interpretation, law making, supreme law
Authors Kevin Aquilina
AbstractAuthor's information

    Although the Constitution of Malta is the supreme law of the land, yet, in practice, the three principal organs of the state – the legislature, executive and judiciary – have, in certain respects exemplified in this article, tended to close their eyes to the provisions of the supreme law of the land to such an extent that legislation, government action and judicial pronouncements have breached the basic law. Without attempting to be all-inclusive, the article discusses a few illustrations where this has been the case and reflects upon this institutional behaviour where the Constitution is not upheld as the supreme law of Malta but is instead derided and disparaged. Consequently, fundamental principles of state governance such as the tenets of a democratic society and the rule of law end up being threatened and imperilled by those same institutions which are called upon to respect them. Nevertheless, the Constitution proclaims itself supreme over any other law and the organs it establishes, including the three principal organs of the state which are assaulting it, and embodies within its fold the rule of law which at the current state of play is passing through a critical phase in the state of Malta.


Kevin Aquilina
Professor Kevin Aquilina is Dean of the Faculty of Laws at the University of Malta.
Article

The European Court of Human Rights in the States of the Former Yugoslavia

Journal East European Yearbook on Human Rights, Issue 1 2018
Keywords Ex-Yugoslavia, European Court of Human Rights, domestic implementation, the rule of law, human rights
Authors Jernej Letnar Černič
AbstractAuthor's information

    The countries of the former Yugoslavia have in past decades failed to fully meet both the challenges of the socio-economic environment and of the full-fledged functioning of the rule of law and the protection of human rights. Their development was in the first decade halted by the inter-ethnic wars, while in the second decade their institutions have been hijacked by various populist interest groups. All the countries of the former Yugoslavia have been so far facing a constant crisis of liberal democratic institutions of the modern state, based on the rule of law. Only a small number of them have decided to accept effective measures to break away from such crises. In order to present the problems of the newly established democracies in the former Yugoslavia, this article presents and analyses the contributions of the European Court of Human Rights to establishing the rule of law and effective human rights protection in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia and Slovenia. In the closing part of the article, conclusions are drawn on how those countries should proceed to internalize the values of human rights protections in liberal democracies.


Jernej Letnar Černič
Associate Professor, Graduate School of Government and European Studies, Nova Univerza, Ljubljana, Slovenia.
Human Rights Practice Review

Hungary

Journal East European Yearbook on Human Rights, Issue 1 2018
Authors Kriszta Kovács LLM, PhD
Author's information

Kriszta Kovács LLM, PhD
LLM, PhD in Law, associate professor at ELTE University Faculty of Social Sciences, Senior Researcher at WZB Berlin Center for Global Constitutionalism.
Human Rights Literature Review

Lithuania

Journal East European Yearbook on Human Rights, Issue 1 2018
Authors Vygantė Milašiūtė PhD
Author's information

Vygantė Milašiūtė PhD
PhD, associate professor at the Faculty of Law of Vilnius University.
Human Rights Literature Review

Poland

Journal East European Yearbook on Human Rights, Issue 1 2018
Authors Vita Zagórowska and Jakub Czepek
Author's information

Vita Zagórowska
Vita Zagórowska, University of Warsaw, Faculty of Law and Administration, Institute of International Law, Department of International Public Law.

Jakub Czepek
Jakub Czepek, Cardinal Stefan Wyszyński University in Warsaw, Faculty of Law and Administration, Institute of International Law, European Union and International Relations, Department of Human Rights Protection and International Humanitarian Law.
Human Rights Practice Review

Croatia

Journal East European Yearbook on Human Rights, Issue 1 2018
Authors Maša Marochini Zrinski PhD
Author's information

Maša Marochini Zrinski PhD
PhD, assistant professor at the Department for Theory of Law and State, Philosophy of Law, Human Rights and Public Policy, Faculty of Law, University of Rijeka.
Article

Regional Judicial and Non-judicial Bodies

An Effective Means for Protecting Human Rights?

Journal East European Yearbook on Human Rights, Issue 1 2018
Keywords Direct access, human rights protection, judicial bodies, non-judicial bodies, direct access of individuals
Authors Ján Klučka
AbstractAuthor's information

    Regional human rights systems consisting of regional bodies, instruments and mechanisms play an important role in the promotion and protection of human rights. If one’s rights are not protected on the domestic level, the international system comes into play and protection can be provided either by the regional or global (UN) system. Regional mechanisms of human rights today cover five parts of the world, namely: Africa, the Americas, Europe, Arab countries and the Asia-Pacific. They differ in their origin, resulting from different concepts of human rights and the need of interested states to establish a regional framework for human rights protection. The level and scope of their human rights protection is obviously uneven, although this protection is generally higher in regions with democratic states that have constitutional and rule of law regimes in which human rights are considered an integral part of their constitutional architecture. However, current practice confirms that the creation of judicial systems for the protection of human rights within the context of concrete regions does not automatically guarantee the right of direct access of individuals to them. The regional particularities of locus standi result from a set of factors having historic, religious, ethnic and other nature. In the institutional system of protection of human rights, these particularities manifest also through the optional (non-compulsory) jurisdiction of regional judicial bodies, the preventive ‘filtering’ systems before non-judicial bodies (commissions) combined with the right to bring the case before a judicial body, the systems where different entities are entitled to bring the case before a judicial body but the individual has no such right etc. Nevertheless, the existing practice generally confirms the increasing role of the judicial segment of the regional human rights systems as well as the strengthening of position of individuals within the proceedings before regional human rights judicial and non-judicial bodies. A specific factor in the developing world represents the concept of a ‘strict’ interpretation of sovereignty preventing external control of the respect for human rights before a regional judicial body on the basis of an individual complaint by a concerned person. The specificities of regional systems are without detriment to their widely accepted advantages and benefits. Regional systems allow for the possibility of regional values to be taken into account when human rights norms are defined (e.g. so-called collective rights and duties within the African system), provided that the idea of the universality of human rights is not compromised. The regional systems are located closer to the individual human rights subjects and offer a more accessible forum in which individuals can pursue their cases, and states tend to show stronger political will to conform to decisions of regional human rights bodies. The existence of the regional human rights systems finally allows for the existence of proper enforcement mechanisms, which can better reflect local conditions than a global (universal) system of enforcement.


Ján Klučka
Professor of International Law, Institute of International and European Law, Law Faculty, University P.J. Šafárik, Košice, Slovakia.
Human Rights Practice Review

Serbia

Journal East European Yearbook on Human Rights, Issue 1 2018
Authors Jelena Simić
Author's information

Jelena Simić
Jelena Simić is assistant professor, Union University Law School (Belgrade).
Article

The European Court of Human Rights and the Central and Eastern European States

Journal East European Yearbook on Human Rights, Issue 1 2018
Keywords Case law regarding Central and Eastern Europe, ECHR, human rights, reform, European system of Human Rights
Authors András Baka
AbstractAuthor's information

    At the time of its creation and during the following 30 years, the European Court of Human Rights was a Western European institution. It was not until the sweeping political changes in 1989-1990 that the Central and Eastern European countries could join the European system of individual human rights protection. The massive and relatively rapid movement of accession of the ‘new states’ to the European Convention on Human Rights had a twofold effect. On the one hand it led to a complete reform of the human rights machinery of the Council of Europe, changing the structure and the procedure. A new, permanent and more efficient system emerged. What is even more important, the Court has had to deal with not only the traditional questions of individual human rights but under the Convention new issues were coming to the Court from applicants of the former eastern-bloc countries. On the other hand, being part of the European human rights mechanism, these countries got a chance to establish or re-establish the rule of law, they got support, legal standards and guidance on how to respect and protect individual human rights. The article addresses some of these elements. It also points out that public hopes and expectations towards the Court – especially nowadays in respect of certain countries – are sometimes too high. The Court has its limits. It has been designed to remedy certain individual injustices of democratic states following common values but cannot alone substitute seriously weakened democratic statehood.


András Baka
Former judge of the ECtHR (1991-2008); former president of the Hungarian Supreme Court.
Article

Politics and Pragmatism

The Constitutional Court of the Russian Federation and Its 20 Years of Engagement with the European Convention on Human Rights

Journal East European Yearbook on Human Rights, Issue 1 2018
Keywords Constitutional Court of the Russian Federation, European Court of Human Rights, Russia
Authors Bill Bowring
AbstractAuthor's information

    After the highly controversial YUKOS judgment of 19 January 2017, on 23 May 2017 the Constitutional Court of the Russian Federation (CCRF) delivered a warmly received judgment, in which the provisions of the administrative offences legislation prohibiting stateless persons to challenge the reasonableness of their detention in special detention facilities was found to be unconstitutional. The CCRF was addressed by leading Russian human rights advocates. The judgment referred not only to Article 22 of the Russian Constitution but also to the analogous Article 5 of the ECHR. The judgment paid special attention to case-law: Guzzardi v. Italy (1980), Kemmache v. France (1994), Kurt v. Turkey (1998), Aleksei Borisov v. Russia (2015), and Z.A. v. Russia (2017), as well as Alim v. Russia (2011), Shakurov v. Russia (2012) and Azimov v. Russia (2013). Indeed, Strasbourg jurisprudence has played a central role in the development of the CCRF’s jurisprudence since Russia’s ratification of the ECHR in 1998. This article analyses and seeks to explain what in the author’s view is the CCRF’s serious engagement with a body of pan-European quasi-constitutional law, with which Russian jurists feel surprisingly comfortable and experienced. Is there really a cultural incompatibility between Russian and ‘Western’ approaches to human rights law?


Bill Bowring
Professor of Law, Birkbeck College, University of London.
Human Rights Literature Review

Ukraine

Journal East European Yearbook on Human Rights, Issue 1 2018
Authors Dr. Tetyana Antsupova
Author's information

Dr. Tetyana Antsupova
Dr. habil., Judge of the Supreme Court (Ukraine).
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