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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.
Article

Exploring the growth and development of restorative justice in Bangladesh

Journal The International Journal of Restorative Justice, Issue 2 2021
Keywords restorative justice, Bangladesh, salish, village courts, INGOs
Authors Muhammad Asadullah and Brenda Morrison
AbstractAuthor's information

    Although restorative justice is a new concept in Bangladesh (BD), resolving wrongdoing outside the criminal justice system is not a new practice. Community-based mediation, known as salish, has been practised for centuries – withstanding colonisation, adaptation and distortion. Other practices, such as village courts and customary justice, are also prevalent in Bangladesh. Of these, village courts are currently the most widely practised in Bangladesh. Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ Bangladesh) formally introduced restorative justice in 2013 with the support of international non-governmental organisations (INGOs), NGOs, academics and government agencies. Most of the literature on community-based justice practice focuses on village courts; academic, peer-reviewed research on restorative justice in Bangladesh is scarce. This qualitative study explores the growth and development of restorative justice in Bangladesh. Using in-depth qualitative interviews and survey, the study retraces the genesis of restorative justice in Bangladesh. In recent times, GIZ Bangladesh has been key to the development of restorative justice, which was further expanded by UNDP’s Activating Village Courts project, as well as a graduate course on restorative justice at the University of Dhaka. This study also finds contentious themes raised by the key informants, specifically the role of INGOs, government and community.


Muhammad Asadullah
Muhammad Asadullah is Assistant Professor at the Department of Justice Studies, University of Regina, Canada.

Brenda Morrison
Brenda Morrison is Associate Professor at the School of Criminology, Simon Fraser University, Canada. Contact author: Muhammad.Asadullah@uregina.ca.

    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.

    The Supreme Court (SC) has unanimously decided that drivers engaged by Uber are workers rather than independent contractors. It also decided that drivers are working when they are signed in to the Uber app and ready to work.


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

    On 12 October 2020, the Labour Court of Appeal of Ghent ruled that there was no indirect discrimination in the case of Mrs. Achbita, because a policy of neutrality does not disadvantage Muslim women who want to wear a headscarf more than any other worker. The Labour Court of Appeal was also of the opinion that the employer should not examine alternative job positions.


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

    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.

    In a recent case, the Danish Supreme Court addressed the question of what constitutes a comparable permanent employee in relation to discrimination against fixed-term employees. The Supreme Court ruled that even though the two groups of fixed-term and permanent singers at the Royal Opera Chorus of the Royal Danish Theatre performed almost the same tasks, their positions were not comparable as the singers’ qualifications and skills were different and, for this reason, the difference in terms and conditions was not discriminatory.


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

    The Court of Appeal has overturned a High Court decision which granted injunctive relief to prevent the defendant from removing the plaintiff from his position as chief financial officer during his probationary period.


Orla O’Leary
Orla O’Leary is an attorney-at-law at Mason Hayes & Curran in Dublin.

Laura Ryan
Laura Ryan is a trainee solicitor at Mason Hayes & Curran in Dublin.

    The Bulgarian Supreme Court of Cassation in a decision of 2 February 2021 has ruled that in cases where the selection process is not a mandatory part of the termination procedure it is entirely up to the employer to conduct the selection and base its termination decisions on the results of such selection.


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

    In the case of a ‘service provision change’ under the Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) Regulations 2006 (TUPE), where a service is outsourced or re-tendered, the Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) has ruled that an employee’s contract can be split so they go from working full-time for one employer to working part-time for two or more employers.


Amy Cooper
Amy Cooper is an associate at Lewis Silkin LLP.

    Deze analyse bespreekt uitvoerig de argumenten van voor- en tegenstanders van het wetsvoorstel ter versoepeling van de Belgische abortuswetgeving (2019-…). Het fel bediscussieerde wetsvoorstel beoogt het zelfbeschikkingsrecht van de zwangere persoon uit te breiden en abortus te destigmatiseren. Door vrijwillige zwangerschapsafbreking als gezondheidszorg te kwalificeren geven de indieners van het wetsvoorstel tevens de voorkeur aan een gezondheidsrechtelijk traject op maat van de zwangere persoon als patiënt. De inkorting van de wachtperiode-en het schrappen van abortusspecifieke informatieverplichtingen geven in die zin blijk van vertrouwen in de zwangere persoon, in het kwalitatief handelen van de zorgverlener en in de waarborgen die het gezondheidsrecht reeds biedt. De wetgever dient met andere woorden uit te maken (1) welke regels hij in de context van abortus nodig acht, (2) of deze regels reeds worden gewaarborgd door de algemene gezondheidswetten- en deontologie, en (3) of de vooropgestelde regels hun doel bereiken. Een uitbreiding van het zelfbeschikkingsrecht van de zwangere persoon wordt tevens bewerkstelligd door de termijnuitbreiding van twaalf naar achttien weken voor abortus op verzoek. Een keuze voor een termijn is steeds in zekere mate willekeurig, doch reflecteert een beleidsethische keuze waarbij wordt gezocht naar een evenwicht tussen de bescherming van ongeboren leven en het zelfbeschikkingsrecht van de zwangere persoon. Praktische bekommernissen vormen hierbij geen fundamenteel bezwaar tegen een termijnuitbreiding maar dienen, in overleg met de betrokken sector, te worden geanticipeerd en maximaal te worden opgevangen door middel van organisatorische (niet-noodzakelijk juridische) initiatieven. Ten slotte beogen de indieners van het wetsvoorstel opheffing van alle strafsancties voor vrijwillige zwangerschapsafbreking. Op rechtstheoretisch vlak blijven echter vragen bestaan omtrent de manier waarop dit voorstel een volledige depenalisering doorvoert. Hoewel het tuchtrecht enige rol kan spelen bij gebrek aan strafsancties, creëert de vooropgestelde depenalisering van ongeoorloofde zwangerschapsafbreking door een arts een rechtsonzekere situatie.
    ---
    This analysis extensively discusses the arguments of supporters and opponents of the legislative proposal to relax the Belgian abortion legislation (2019-…). The heavily debated proposal primarily aims to expand the pregnant person’s right to self-determination and to destigmatise abortion. By qualifying consensual termination of pregnancy as health care, the supporters of the proposal also prioritise an individualised, health-oriented approach towards the pregnant person as patient. In the same vein, the diminished waiting period and the removal of abortion-specific information duties express trust in the pregnant person, in the qualitative conduct of the health care provider, and in the guarantees that the health law already provides. In other words, the legislator must determine 1) which regulations it deems necessary in the context of abortion, 2) whether these regulations are already guaranteed by general health laws and ethics, and 3) whether the proposed regulations achieve their intended purpose. An expansion of the pregnant person’s right to self-determination is also achieved by the extension from twelve to eighteen weeks as a limit for abortion on request. Although a time limit is always arbitrary to some extent, it mainly reflects a policy-ethical decision in which a balance is sought between the protection of unborn life and the pregnant person’s right to self-determination. Practical concerns do not establish a fundamental objection to the extension of such limit, but must, in consultation with the medical profession, be anticipated and dealt with as much as possible by means of organisational (not necessarily legal) initiatives. Finally, the proposal lifts all criminal sanctions currently applicable to consensual termination of pregnancy. On a legal-theoretical level, however, questions remain about the way in which the proposal implements full depenalisation. Although disciplinary law can play some role in the absence of criminal sanctions, the depenalisation of unlawful termination of pregnancy by a health care professional produces legal uncertainty.


F. De Meyer
Fien De Meyer doet doctoraatsonderzoek naar regelgeving inzake abortus aan de Universiteit van Antwerpen.

C. De Mulder
Charlotte De Mulder doet doctoraatsonderzoek naar het statuut van ongeboren leven aan de Universiteit van Antwerpen.
Article

The Reform of Contract Rules in China’s New Civil Code

Successes or Pitfalls

Journal European Journal of Law Reform, Issue 2 2021
Keywords Civil Code of the People’s Republic of China, Contracts of the Civil Code, Chinese legal system, legislative history
Authors Peng Guo and Linxuan Li
AbstractAuthor's information

    The Civil Code of the People’s Republic of China (Civil Code) came into force on 1 January 2021. Book III on Contracts of the Civil Code has adopted significant changes compared to the old Chinese Contract Law (Contract Law). This article provides a comprehensive and systemic analysis of those changes from structure to content, from legislative technics to values underpinning the Civil Code. It evaluates all the factors in the context of the development of Chinese society, Chinese culture and Chinese legal system.
    This article first outlines the historical background of the development of the Contract Law and the Civil Code. It then moves on to compare the Civil Code and the Contract Law, highlighting the changes in structure, the incorporation of new provisions and the amendments to old provisions in light of contemporary Chinese society and culture. Finally, it argues that the Civil Code is a significant milestone in China’s legislative history; that it reflects the legislative experience and judicial practice in China; that it adds provisions which are innovative and of Chinese characteristics to meet the needs of China’s changing society and legal system; and that it keeps pace with the development of the global law reform and harmonization.


Peng Guo
Peng Guo is a Lecturer in Law, Graduate School of Business and Law, RMIT University, Australia.

Linxuan Li
Linxuan Li, LL.M. University of International Business and Economics, LL.B. Shandong University, China.
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

Compensation for Victims of Disasters

A Comparative Law and Economic Perspective

Journal European Journal of Law Reform, Issue 2 2021
Keywords victim compensation, disaster risk reduction, government relief, insurance, moral hazard, public private partnership
Authors Qihao He and Michael Faure
AbstractAuthor's information

    This article provides a critical analysis of the compensation awarded for victims of disasters. First, general guiding principles of compensation are discussed. Next, various ways of government provided victim compensation, both during the disaster and ex post are critically reviewed. Then the article focuses on ex ante insurance mechanisms for victim compensation, arguing that insurance can play a role in disaster risk reduction. Finally, the article explains how the government can cooperate with insurers in a public-private partnership for victim compensation, thus facilitating the availability of disaster insurance.


Qihao He
Qihao He is Associate Professor of Law, China University of Political Science and Law, College of Comparative Law. Beijing, China. Qihao He acknowledges the financial support of China Ministry of Education Research Program on Climate Change and Insurance (No. 18YJC820024), and Comparative Private Law Innovation Project of CUPL (No. 18CXTD05).

Michael Faure
Michael Faure is Michael G. Faure, Professor of Comparative and International Environmental Law, Maastricht University, and Professor of Comparative Private Law and Economics, Erasmus University Rotterdam, The Netherlands. The authors thank the participants in the symposium of Regulating Disasters through Private and Public Law: Compensation and Policy held in University of Haifa, and the comments from Suha Ballan.
Article

Finding an Ideal Contract Law Regime for the International Sale of Goods

A Comparative Study on the Remedy of Termination for Breach of Contract under the United Nations Convention on Contracts for International Sale of Goods (CISG), the UNIDROIT Principles of International Commercial Contracts (PICC) and The Gambia Sale of Goods Act

Journal European Journal of Law Reform, Issue 2 2021
Keywords contracts, termination of contracts, CISG, International Sale of Goods, Unidroit Principles, the Gambia, comparative law
Authors Buba Ceesay
AbstractAuthor's information

    Parties enter into contracts for obtaining specific contractual benefits, and, as a result, they engage in risk allocation hoping that each will keep to its promise. These expectations are sometimes shattered by a breach by one of the parties. The contract at times provides remedies for breach of contract. However, in most cases, the parties’ contract leaves the regulation of the breach to the governing law of the contract. The efficiency of a remedial rule can be judged from the balance that it has put in place in ensuring the risks involved in international transactions are not skewed against the breaching party just because it is in breach. This article thus makes a comparative study between the United Nations Convention on Contracts for International Sale of Goods (CISG), UNIDROIT (International Institute for the Unification of Private Law) Principles of International Commercial Contracts (the PICC) and Sales Act (Act No. 4 of 1955) of The Gambia (GSGA) on the right of a creditor to terminate a contract to elucidate the similarities and the differences among the three regimes and to determine which of the regimes provides a suitable contract law model for the international sales of goods. The article reviews and analyses the legal instruments, case law and academic writings under the regimes and concludes that the CISG provides the most suitable contract law model for the international sale of goods.


Buba Ceesay
Buba Ceesay is an LLM candidate at the Université de Fribourg. Special appreciation to Professor Christiana Fountoulakis, Dr iur, Professor of Private Law and European Private Law, University of Fribourg, Switzerland, for guiding this research paper and helping in having the final version ready for publication.
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.
Article

Is Euroscepticism Contagious?

How Mainstream Parties React to Eurosceptic Challengers in Belgian Parliaments

Journal Politics of the Low Countries, Issue Online First 2021
Keywords Euroscepticism, parliaments, party competition, Belgium, federalism
Authors Jordy Weyns and Peter Bursens
AbstractAuthor's information

    Euroscepticism has long been absent among Belgian political parties. However, since the start of the century, some Eurosceptic challengers have risen. This article examines the effect of Eurosceptic competition on the salience other parties give to the EU and on the positions these parties take in parliament. Using a sample of plenary debates in the federal and regional parliaments, we track each party’s evolution from 2000 until 2019. Our findings both contradict and qualify existing theories and findings on Eurosceptic competition. When facing Eurosceptic challengers, all parties raise salience fairly equally, but government and peripheral parties adopted (soft) Euroscepticism more often than other parties.


Jordy Weyns
Jordy Weyns is a recent graduate from Universiteit Antwerpen, and will soon start a PhD program at the European University Institute in Firenze.

Peter Bursens
Peter Bursens is professor of political science at Universiteit Antwerpen, at the research group Politics and Public Governance and the GOVTRUST Centre of Excellence.
Article

The Impact of VAAs on Vote Switching at the 2019 Belgian Legislative Elections

More Switchers, but Making Their Own Choices

Journal Politics of the Low Countries, Issue 1 2021
Keywords voting advice applications, vote switching, vote choice, elections and electoral behaviour, voters/citizens in Belgium, VAA
Authors David Talukder, Laura Uyttendaele, Isaïa Jennart e.a.
AbstractAuthor's information

    During electoral campaigns, the use of voting advice applications (VAAs) has become increasingly widespread. Consequently, scholars have examined both the patterns of usage and their effects on voting behaviour. However, existing studies lead to conflicting findings. In this article, we take a closer look at the effect of De Stemtest/Test électoral (a VAA developed by academics from the University of Louvain and the University of Antwerp, in partnership with Belgian media partners) on vote switching. More specifically, we divide this latter question into two sub-questions: (1) What is the impact of a (dis)confirming advice from the VAA on vote switching? (2) Do VAA users follow the voting advice provided by the VAA? Our study shows that receiving a disconfirming advice from the VAA increases the probability of users to switch their vote choice.


David Talukder
David Talukder is a PhD candidate at the Université libre de Bruxelles (ULB, Belgium). He works within the research project “Reforming Representative Democracy”. His main research interests are democratic innovations, political representation, and democratic reforms.

Laura Uyttendaele
Laura Uyttendaele is a PhD candidate at the University of Louvain (UCLouvain, Belgium). Her main research interests are Voting Advice Applications, Youth & politics, political attitudes and behaviours, and experimental methods.

Isaïa Jennart
Isaïa Jennart is a PhD candidate (Universiteit Antwerpen & VUB, Belgium) interested in public opinion, electoral campaigns, voting behaviour, Voting Advice Applications and political knowledge. He mainly studies citizens’ knowledge of parties’ issue positions.

Benoît Rihoux
Benoît Rihoux is full professor in political science at the University of Louvain (UCLouvain, Belgium). His research covers comparative methods (especially QCA) as well as diverse topics in comparative politics, political organizations and political behaviour.
Article

Access_open An Actor Approach to Mediatization

Linking Politicians’ Media Perceptions, Communication Behaviour and Appearances in the News

Journal Politics of the Low Countries, Issue 1 2021
Keywords mediatization, politicians, news media, media perceptions, news management
Authors Pauline Ketelaars and Peter Van Aelst
AbstractAuthor's information

    In the light of the broader debate on the mediatization of politics, this study wants to better understand how the media perceptions and media behaviour of politicians are related to their appearances in the news. We opt for an innovative actor-centred approach to actually measure the views and actions of individual politicians. We combine surveys conducted with 142 Belgian representatives with data on politicians’ external communication behaviour and on their appearances in television news, newspapers and news websites. The results show that media behaviour is not so much related to beliefs of media importance. We do find a significant positive relationship between strategic media behaviour and media attention suggesting that politicians who put in more effort appear more often in various news media. However, this positive relationship depends on the specific form of strategic communication and the political position of the legislator. Our study adds to the mediatization literature by showing how and when politicians are successful in obtaining media attention.


Pauline Ketelaars
Pauline Ketelaars was a postdoctoral researcher of the Fonds Wetenschappelijk Onderzoek (FWO). Her main research interests are political communication and social movements.

Peter Van Aelst
Peter Van Aelst is a research professor at the department of political science at the University of Antwerp and a founding member of the research group ‘Media, Movements and Politics’ (M2P). His research focuses on political communication. Corresponding author: peter.vanaelst@uantwerpen.be.
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