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Case Law

2022/1 EELC’s review of the year 2021

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

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


Niklas Bruun

Filip Dorssemont

Zef Even

Ruben Houweling

Marianne Hrdlicka

Anthony Kerr

Attila Kun

Jean-Philippe Lhernould

Daiva Petrylaitė

Luca Ratti

Jan-Pieter Vos

    The Danish Ministry of Employment has been held liable for a protracted legislative process following the ECJ’s ruling in the Ole Andersen case (C-499/08), which concluded that the Salaried Employees Act was not compliant with Directive 2000/78/EC concerning equal treatment in employment and occupation (prohibition of discrimination on grounds of age).


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

2022/7 Dismissal for violation of Covid-19 quarantine order (AT)

Journal European Employment Law Cases, Issue 1 2022
Keywords Unfair dismissal
Authors Andreas Tinhofer and Isabella Göschl
AbstractAuthor's information

    The Supreme Court has decided that the summary dismissal of an employee for violating a Covid-19 quarantine order by appearing at work is effective and justified.


Andreas Tinhofer
Andreas Tinhofer is a partner at ZFZ Zeiler Rechtsanwälte GmbH.

Isabella Göschl
Isabella Göschl is a junior associate at ZFZ Zeiler Rechtsanwälte GmbH.
Article

Restorative justice training for judges and public prosecutors in the European Union: what is on offer and where are the gaps?

Journal The International Journal of Restorative Justice, Issue Online First 2022
Keywords restorative justice, judicial training, judges, public prosecutors
Authors Ana Catarina Pereira, Britt De Craen and Ivo Aertsen
AbstractAuthor's information

    Judges and public prosecutors across Europe continue to be the main source of referral of cases to restorative justice programmes organised in the context of the criminal justice system. As a result, the training of these two groups of legal professionals regarding what restorative justice is and what it can offer to victims, offenders and the community has for many years been identified as a priority for the development of restorative justice in the European Union (EU). However, little information is available about what actually exists in terms of judicial training on restorative justice within the national judicial training institutions responsible for the initial and/or continuous training of judges and/or public prosecutors. Therefore, we developed an online survey on judicial training on restorative justice and invited 38 judicial training institutions operating in the (then) 28 EU Member States to participate in our study. We were able to make relevant observations regarding the reasons for the non-existence of restorative justice training in most of the judicial training institutions studied and identify important elements of the architecture of the restorative justice training offered by the judicial training institution of Czech Republic.


Ana Catarina Pereira
Ana Pereira is a PhD researcher in Criminology at the Leuven Institute of Criminology at KU Leuven, Belgium. She received a PhD grant from the Portuguese Foundation for Science and Technology (Fundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia, FCT).

Britt De Craen
Britt De Craen is a master’s student in Criminology at the Leuven Institute of Criminology at KU Leuven, Belgium.

Ivo Aertsen
Ivo Aertsen is Professor Emeritus of the Leuven Institute of Criminology at KU Leuven, Belgium. Corresponding author: Ana Pereira, anacatarina.alvespereira@kuleuven.be.

Szandra Windt
Szandra Windt is a Senior Researcher and the Chief Counsellor at the National Institute of Criminology, Hungary. Corresponding author: Szandra Windt at windt@okri.hu.

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


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

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

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


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

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

Access_open European Standards of Judicial Independence in Lithuania

Journal East European Yearbook on Human Rights, Issue 1 2021
Keywords judicial independence, selection of judges, appointment of judges, rule of law, mutual trust
Authors Vygantė Milašiūtė and Skirgailė Žalimienė
AbstractAuthor's information

    The article examines the procedure for selection and appointment of judges in Lithuania in the light of the European standards of judicial independence. Both the Council of Europe and the European Union (EU) legal materials are relied on. The procedural role of different actors, the criteria for assessment of candidates, the question of judicial review of selection and appointment decisions as well as the problem of delays of judicial appointments are also examined. Even though the Lithuanian system for the selection and appointment of judges has been assessed favourably by European institutions, certain elements of the system are questionable. However, as long as these deficiencies are not systemic and do not raise issues of the rule of law in the sense of EU law, they would not negatively affect the operation of the EU law-based mutual trust instruments with respect to Lithuania. A suggestion is made that paying more attention to non-systemic deficiencies of judicial independence and the rule of law in EU member states could be beneficial for improving the protection of individual rights.


Vygantė Milašiūtė
Vygantė Milašiūtė: Associate professor at Vilnius University, Faculty of Law.

Skirgailė Žalimienė
Skirgailė Žalimienė: Associate professor at Vilnius University, Faculty of Law.

    The Arnhem Court of Appeal has examined whether an employee was reasonably able to take leave, applying the ECJ’s Max Planck and Kreuziger judgments. According to the Court, the employer did not violate its obligation to inform the employee regarding the lapse of the right to paid annual leave. The Court stated that the employee was reasonably able to take leave, despite being incapacitated for work due to sickness. The Court ruled that the employee was not entitled to an allowance in lieu of untaken paid annual leave, as the right to such leave had lapsed.


Tessa van der Stel
Tessa van der Stel recently graduated from Erasmus School of Law, Rotterdam.

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


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

Access_open A Comparative Perspective on the Protection of Hate Crime Victims in the European Union

New Developments in Criminal Procedures in the EU Member States

Journal Erasmus Law Review, Issue 3 2021
Keywords hate crime, victims, victim rights, procedural justice, EU Member States, criminal procedure
Authors Suzan van der Aa, Robin Hofmann and Jacques Claessen
AbstractAuthor's information

    Hate crime victims involved in a criminal procedure experience difficulties that are different from problems encountered by other victims. In trying to meet the specific procedural needs of hate crime victims many EU Member States have introduced protective measures and services in criminal proceedings, but the adopted approaches are widely disparate. By reporting the results of an EU-wide comparative survey into hate crime victims within national criminal procedures the authors aim to: (1) make an inventory of the national (legal) definitions of hate crime and the protection measures available (on paper) for hate crime victims; and (2) critically discuss certain national choices, inter alia by juxtaposing the procedural measures to the procedural needs of hate crime victims to see if there are any lacunae from a victimological perspective. The authors conclude that the Member States should consider expanding their current corpus of protection measures in order to address some of the victims’ most urgent needs.


Suzan van der Aa
Suzan van der Aa, PhD, is Professor of Criminal Law at Maastricht University, the Netherlands.

Robin Hofmann
Robin Hofmann is Assistant Professor at Maastricht University, the Netherlands.

Jacques Claessen
Jacques Claessen is Professor at Maastricht University, the Netherands.
Conference Reports

Conference on the Bindingness of EU Soft Law

Report on the ‘Conference on the Bindingness of EU Soft Law’ Organized by Pázmány Péter Catholic University, 9 April 2021, Budapest

Journal Hungarian Yearbook of International Law and European Law, Issue 1 2021
Keywords conference report, soft law, Pázmány Péter Catholic University, bindingness, Grimaldi
Authors Vivien Köböl-Benda
AbstractAuthor's information

    The online ‘Conference on the bindingness of EU soft law’ was organized by the Ereky Public Law Research Center at Pázmány Péter Catholic University (Hungary), the Universidad de Castilla-La Mancha (Spain), and the Portsmouth Law School (United Kingdom) on 9 April 2021. The presentations described EU soft law instruments’ legal effect on EU institutions and the Member States. The soft law instruments of different policy fields were also examined, including the analysis of the language of EU soft law.


Vivien Köböl-Benda
Vivien Köböl-Benda: PhD student, Pázmány Péter Catholic University, Budapest.
Developments in European Law

The PSPP Judgment of the German Federal Constitutional Court

The Judge’s Theatre According to Karlsruhe

Journal Hungarian Yearbook of International Law and European Law, Issue 1 2021
Keywords German Constitutional Court, basic law, ultra vires, European Central Bank, primacy of Union law
Authors Maria Kordeva
AbstractAuthor's information

    The PSPP decision of 5 May 2020 rendered by the German Federal Constitutional Court (FCC) does not constitute a break with the earlier jurisprudence of the FCC elaborated since the Lisbon Treaty judgment of 30 June 2009. Even though qualifying the acts of the Union as ultra vires has been likened to a warlike act, one should beware of hasty conclusions and look closely at the analysis of the Second Senate to form a moderate opinion of this decision decried by European and national commentators. Should the PSPP judgment of the Federal Constitutional Court be classified as “much ado about nothing”, despite the procedure started by the European Commission, or, on the contrary, will the CJEU in the next months, sanction Germany for its obvious affront to and breach of the principle of the primacy of Union law? The (final?) power grab between the European and national courts remains to be seen. We can criticize the German FCC that it put the fundamental principles of the Union in danger. Yet, it is worth reflecting on the possible encroachment of competences by European institutions, because, in this case, the red line between monetary policy and economic policy is more than thin.


Maria Kordeva
Maria Kordeva: PhD in Public Law (University of Strasburg/University of Constance), lecturer and research associate, Saarland University, Saarbrücken.
Developments in International Law

The Decision on the Situation in Palestine Issued by Pre-Trial Chamber I of the International Criminal Court

Reflecting on the Legal Merits

Journal Hungarian Yearbook of International Law and European Law, Issue 1 2021
Keywords International Criminal Court, ICC, Palestine, Oslo Accords, jurisdiction
Authors Rachel Sweers
AbstractAuthor's information

    On 5 February 2021, the Pre-Trial Chamber I of the International Criminal Court (ICC) issued its decision on the Situation in Palestine affirming that its territorial jurisdiction extends to the territories occupied by Israel since 1967, namely Gaza and the West Bank, including East Jerusalem. The Situation was brought before the Chamber by request of the ICC’s Prosecutor. Legal issues were addressed in the Majority Decision, as well as in the Partly Dissenting Opinion and Partly Separate Opinion. The procedural history involving the Prosecution Request that seized the Chamber on the Situation in Palestine will be discussed, including a brief analysis of the legal basis for this request. Furthermore, the legal merits of the Situation in Palestine will be compartmentalized into three main pillars in order to analyze step by step how the Chamber reached its conclusion.


Rachel Sweers
Rachel Sweers: legal intern, International Criminal Court, the Hague.
Public Health Emergency: National, European and International Law Responses

Constitutional Rights in the Time of Pandemic

The Experience of Hungary

Journal Hungarian Yearbook of International Law and European Law, Issue 1 2021
Keywords state of emergency, emergency powers, restriction of fundamental rights, Fundamental Law, Constitutional Court of Hungary
Authors Lóránt Csink
AbstractAuthor's information

    Special circumstances may require special measures. This article is to highlight the importance of constitutional rights, also in the time of a pandemic. Its hypothesis is that constitutional rights are not luxuries one can only afford in peacetime, they are much rather at the core of civilization and democracy. History shows that a world without rights may easily turn into a nightmare. The article first focuses on the Hungarian constitutional basis of the state of emergency (Section 2). Next, it analyses the text of the constitution with respect to the limitation of fundamental rights and elaborates on the various interpretations through the lens of the case-law of the Constitutional Court (Sections 3-4). Finally, the article concludes that despite the rigid wording of the Hungarian Fundamental Law, constitutional rights can be restricted only if the restriction meets the necessity-proportionality test (Section 5)


Lóránt Csink
Lóránt Csink: associate professor of law, Pázmány Péter Catholic University, Budapest; counselor, Constitutional Court of Hungary, Budapest.
Anniversary: Commemorating the 90th Birthday of Ferenc Mádl, President of the Republic (2000-2005)

Ferenc Mádl, the Hungarian Professor of European Law

Journal Hungarian Yearbook of International Law and European Law, Issue 1 2021
Keywords Ferenc Mádl, private international law, Central Europe, V4, Hungary
Authors Endre Domaniczky
AbstractAuthor's information

    Living in a country under foreign occupation he became engrossed in the science of private law, and (under the influence and with the support of his masters) he started to study the characteristics of socialist, and later of Western European legal systems. Within the socialist bloc, he became one of the early experts on Common Market law, who, following an unexpected historical event, the 1989 regime change in Hungary, was also able to make practical use of his theoretical knowledge for the benefit of his country. In 2021, on the 90th anniversary of his birth and the 10th anniversary of his death, the article remembers Ferenc Mádl, legal scholar, member of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences, minister in the Antall- and Boross governments, former President of Hungary.


Endre Domaniczky
Endre Domaniczky: senior research fellow, Ferenc Mádl Institute of Comparative Law, Budapest.
Case Notes

The Constitutional Court of Hungary on the Borderlines of Blasphemy

A Note on Two Recent Cases

Journal Hungarian Yearbook of International Law and European Law, Issue 1 2021
Keywords blasphemy, freedom of speech, protection of dignity, protection of religion, Hungary
Authors Balázs Schanda
AbstractAuthor's information

    Blasphemy used to be a criminal offence in traditional legal systems. Although offending the transcendent is not criminalized in most Western legal systems, free speech must respect the dignity of others. Religious conviction constitutes an inherent part of dignity. The protection against hate speech offending the dignity of members i.e. of religious communities may include criminal sanctions in extreme cases. The new Civil Code of Hungary (2013) enables the bringing of a civil lawsuit for hate speech. After years of litigation the first two cases where litigants claimed their dignity violated by offensive images have reached the Constitutional Court. The Constitutional Court guaranteed protection of religious identity on the one hand, on the other hand, it upheld the freedom of political speech even when using a religious symbol. Degrading religion offends all members of the religious community, criticism of the religiosity of public actors, however, is protected by the freedom of speech.


Balázs Schanda
Balázs Schanda: professor of law, Pázmány Péter Catholic University, Budapest; justice, Constitutional Court of Hungary, Budapest.
Public Health Emergency: National, European and International Law Responses

Defining the Common European Way of Life

Exploring the Concept of Europeanness

Journal Hungarian Yearbook of International Law and European Law, Issue 1 2021
Keywords European identity, Common European Way of Life, coronavirus, European citizenship, Hungary, enlargement policy, Europeanness
Authors Lilla Nóra Kiss and Orsolya Johanna Sziebig
AbstractAuthor's information

    The article focuses on the interpretation of the European Way of Life and the concept of Europeanness. Ursula von der Leyen determined the Promotion of the European Way of Life as a priority of the 2019-2024 Commission. The purpose behind this was to strengthen European democracy and place the citizens into the center of decision-making. The article examines the role of European identity, European citizenship and those historical-traditional conditions that make our way of life ‘common’. The Common European Way of Life may be defined as a value system based on the established legal basis of EU citizenship that can be grasped in the pursuit of common principles and the exercise of rights guaranteed to all EU citizens, limited only under exceptional circumstances and ensuring socio-economic convergence. The article covers general conceptual issues but also focuses on the extraordinary impact of the COVID-19. Lastly, the relevant aspects of enlargement policy are also explored.


Lilla Nóra Kiss
Lilla Nóra Kiss: Visiting Scholar at Antonin Scalia Law School, George Mason University, Virginia, US.

Orsolya Johanna Sziebig
Orsolya Johanna Sziebig: senior lecturer, University of Szeged.
Hungarian State Practice

An Institution for a Sustainable Future

The Hungarian Ombudsman for Future Generations

Journal Hungarian Yearbook of International Law and European Law, Issue 1 2021
Keywords intergenerational equity, rights of future generations, ombudsman for future generations, Hungary, right to environment
Authors Kinga Debisso and Marcel Szabó
AbstractAuthor's information

    The purpose of this article is to give an insight into the process leading up to the establishment of the Hungarian Ombudsman for Future Generations and its tasks: an almost 15-year-old, unique legal institution aiming to protect the interests of future generations. The Ombudsman for Future Generations is an example for the institutionalization of the principle of intergenerational justice. The article aims to introduce the characteristics and strengths of the current institutional design and the structural features that allow for the successful operation of the Ombudsman for Future Generations in Hungary. Following an introduction to the political and historical context in which the institution was established, the article describes in detail the Ombudsman’s work, responsibilities, most important functions, elaborating on some examples of its best practices and achievements. Finally, the article touches upon how the example and experiences of the Hungarian institution may be valuable for other countries in Europe and beyond.


Kinga Debisso
Kinga Debisso: political advisor, Ministry of Justice, Budapest.

Marcel Szabó
Marcel Szabó: professor of law, Pázmány Péter Catholic University, Budapest; justice, Constitutional Court of Hungary, Budapest.
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.
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