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Article

The Eternity Clause

Lessons from the Czech Example

Journal European Journal of Law Reform, Issue 3 2019
Keywords eternity clause, constitutional amendment, Czech Republic
Authors Ondřej Preuss
AbstractAuthor's information

    This article presents lessons from the Czech example of the so-called Eternity Clause’ i.e. a legal standard declaring certain principles, values or specific constitutional provisions to be unalterable and irrevocable. The Eternity Clause is viewed and applied in the Czech Republic as a substantive legal ‘instrument’ that enables society to preserve its values. It is used to limit practical ‘power’ and to maintain desired values and the political system.
    That the Eternity clause is a practical instrument has already been proved by the Czech Constitutional Court in its famous ‘Melcák’ decision. However, recent developments show that the Czech Constitutional Court is no longer open to such a ‘radical’ approach. Nonetheless, it still seems that the court is prepared to defend the values of liberal democracy, just not in such a spectacular way. It is, therefore, more up to the political actors or the people themselves to use Eternity Clause arguments to protect liberal democracy and its values.


Ondřej Preuss
Faculty of Law, Charles University (preuss@prf.cuni.cz). This article was written under the “Progress 04: Law in a Transforming World” programme.
Article

Constitutional Narcissism on the Couch of Psychoanalysis

Constitutional Unamendability in Portugal and Spain

Journal European Journal of Law Reform, Issue 3 2019
Keywords unamendable/ eternity clauses, de jure and de facto constitutional change, constitutional narcissism, foundational design, helicopter founding fathers, constitutional alma mater
Authors Catarina Santos Botelho
AbstractAuthor's information

    Comparing the Portuguese Constitution, which has the longest unamendable clause in the world, with the silence of the Spanish Constitution regarding the language of eternity is indeed a fascinating exercise. Each state’s quantum of constitutional change seems to be quite different. One can wonder how two neighbouring states that share a heavy history of right-wing dictatorships and transitioned to democracy forty years ago opted for such dissimilar constitutional designs. However, appearances are often misleading, and an effort should be done to unveil this curious mismatch.
    Both legal orders suffer from what I call constitutional narcissism, which manifests itself through the urge to perpetuate the foundational constitutional moment. Unamendable clauses (Portugal) and quasi-unamendable clauses (Spain) recast one of constitutional theory’s inner paradoxes: Can the constituent power of the people be petrified in one historical constituent decision and constrain future democratic transitions? And what if a volatile contemporary majority seeks to undermine the democratic process and run against the constitutional DNA achievements of the last centuries?
    Even if the original version of the Portuguese Constitution prohibited several provisions from ever being amended, some of these provisions were indeed modified or removed in the 1989 constitutional amendment process. This occurred without major disagreement from the political organs, scholars, or the judiciary. Therefore, the vexata quaestio remains unanswered: Given their obsolescence or hindrance towards good governance, should entrenchment clauses be eliminated de jure (through a channelled constitutional amendment process, such as the double amendment procedure) or de facto (through a revolutionary process materialized outside of the constitutional framework)?


Catarina Santos Botelho
Assistant Professor and Department Chair of Constitutional Law at the Porto Faculty of Law, Universidade Católica Portuguesa. Email: cbotelho@porto.ucp.pt. I thank Paul Kahn, Nuno Garoupa, Richard Albert, Gonçalo Almeida Ribeiro, Yaniv Roznai, Ana Teresa Ribeiro, and Luís Heleno Terrinha for their very helpful comments.
Article

Judicial Review of Constitutional Amendments in Turkey

The Question of Unamendability

Journal European Journal of Law Reform, Issue 3 2019
Keywords judicial review of constitutional amendments, constitutional unamendability, judicial activism, competitive authoritarianism, abusive constitutionalism
Authors Ergun Özbudun
AbstractAuthor's information

    This article deals with the judicial review of constitutional amendments, which has been a hotly debated constitutional and political issue in Turkey, particularly with regard to the unamendable provisions of the constitution. Since its creation by the Constitution of 1961, the Turkish Constitutional Court has followed a markedly activist and tutelarist approach regarding this issue and annulled several constitutional amendments arguing that they violated the unamendable provisions of the Constitution. Recently, however, the Court adopted a self-restraining approach. This shift can be explained as part of the political regime’s drift towards competitive authoritarianism and the governing party’s (AKP) capturing almost total control over the entire judiciary.


Ergun Özbudun
Ergun Özbudun is Professor of Constitutional Law at İstanbul Şehir University. This is an enlarged and updated version of my article ‘Judicial Review of Constitutional Amendments in Turkey’, European Public Law, Vol. 15, No. 4, 2009, pp. 533-538.
Article

Access_open Constitutional Norms for All Time?

General Entrenchment Clauses in the History of European Constitutionalism

Journal European Journal of Law Reform, Issue 3 2019
Keywords constitutional amendments, constitutional law, constitutional politics, constitutionalism, entrenchment clauses, eternity clauses
Authors Michael Hein
AbstractAuthor's information

    ‘General entrenchment clauses’ are constitutional provisions that make amendments to certain parts of a constitution either more difficult to achieve than ‘normal’ amendments or even impossible, i.e., legally inadmissible. This article examines the origins of these clauses during the American Revolution (1776-77), their migration to the ‘Old World’, and their dissemination and differentiation on the European continent from 1776 until the end of 2015. In particular, the article answers three questions: (1) When, and in which contexts, did general constitutional entrenchment clauses emerge? (2) How have they migrated to and disseminated in Europe? (3) Which constitutional subjects do such clauses protect, and thus, which main functions do they aim to fulfil?


Michael Hein
Adult Education Center Altenburger Land, Altenburg, Germany. Email: mail@michaelhein.de. All cited websites were visited on June 18, 2018. Unless stated otherwise, all references to constitutions in this article are taken from M. Hein, The Constitutional Entrenchment Clauses Dataset, Göttingen 2018, http://data.michaelhein.de. All translations are by the author.
Article

Post-Legislative Scrutiny in a Non-Westminster Parliament

Opportunities, Challenges and Considerations

Journal European Journal of Law Reform, Issue 2 2019
Keywords post-legislative scrutiny, parliamentary oversight, legislative process, Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine, French Senate, Belgian federal parliament
Authors Jonathan Murphy and Svitlana Mishura
AbstractAuthor's information

    Post-legislative scrutiny (PLS) has generated growing interest as a means both for strengthening the legislative process and for permitting parliament to more effectively integrate its legislative and oversight functions. Engagement throughout the cycle of legislative development, adoption and implementation enables parliament to assure laws are properly implemented and to rectify weaknesses either in original legislative conceptualization or in executive implementation. Carried out properly, PLS should improve governance and increase its democratic accountability. Recent attention to PLS has however focused mainly on its role and use in Westminster-type parliaments. This article explores PLS from the perspective of non-Westminster parliaments. It seeks to understand why PLS in non-Westminster parliaments has received comparatively less scholarly and parliamentary development practitioner attention. The article uses a case study of Ukraine to explore the context and challenges for effective PLS, a non-Westminster emerging democracy. It concludes by proposing rebalancing discussion of PLS to take better account of diverse parliamentary models and suggests approaches to supporting PLS development in parliaments where it has not previously been consistently used


Jonathan Murphy
Jonathan Murphy is Docent, University of Jyvaskyla, Finland and parliamentary development consultant.

Svitlana Mishura
Svitlana Mishura is Deputy Head of the Main Legal Department of the Administration of the Parliament of Ukraine. The authors would like to thank UNDP Ukraine and the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine for their support to the development of this article, and Anastasia Petrova for her invaluable research assistance in collecting data on PLS in the Verkhovna Rada.
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.
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.
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).
Article

The Sovereign Strikes Back

A Judicial Perspective on Multi-Layered Constitutionalism in Europe

Journal European Journal of Law Reform, Issue 2-3 2018
Keywords Constitutional identity, constitutionalism, fragmentation, globalization, multilayered constitution, sovereignty, trust
Authors Renáta Uitz and András Sajó
AbstractAuthor's information

    The supranational web of public law is often described as a new constitutionalism. It emerged in a globalized world together with global markets. In the course of the multilayered constitutional experiment, the old, national constitutional framework had lost its ability to deliver on the key features associated with constitutionalism: limiting the exercise of political powers and preventing the arbitrary exercise thereof. In the multilayered era it has become difficult to pinpoint the centre of authority. Ultimately, someone needs to govern, if not for other reasons, at least to avoid chaos. Is it possible to have the guarantees of freedom, rule of law and efficiency that a constitutional democracy seems to provide in a system where there is no sovereign with authority?


Renáta Uitz
Renáta Uitz is Professor, Chair of the Comparative Constitutional Law Program, Department of Legal Studies, Central European University, Budapest.

András Sajó
András Sajo is University Professor, Central European University, Budapest. This volume (The EU Bill of Rights’ Diagonal Application to Member States. Ed. Csongor István Nagy) was published as part of the research project of the HAS-Szeged Federal Markets ‘Momentum’ Research Group.

    An acquired mother tongue is – at least indirectly – connected to a person’s origin and therefore also linked to ethnic origin. Claims based on the German General Equal Treatment Act (Allgemeines Gleichbehandlungsgesetz, the ‘AGG’) must be brought in writing within two months after knowledge of a possible discrimination. Time only starts to run for claims after the employer has provided an unsuccessful job applicant with a clear and definite statement that he or she has been rejected. The limitation period under the AGG will not be triggered by lapse of time only.


Paul Schreiner
Paul Schreiner is an attorney at law at Luther Rechtsanwaltsgesellschaft mbH.

Jana Voigt
Jana Voigt is an attorney at law at Luther Rechtsanwaltsgesellschaft mbH.
Article

Access_open The Right to Same-Sex Marriage: Assessing the European Court of Human Rights’ Consensus-Based Analysis in Recent Judgments Concerning Equal Marriage Rights

Journal Erasmus Law Review, Issue 3 2017
Keywords same-sex marriage, gay marriage, European consensus, margin of appreciation, consensus-based analysis by the ECtHR
Authors Masuma Shahid
AbstractAuthor's information

    This contribution assesses the consensus-based analysis and reasoning of the European Court of Human Rights in recent judgments concerning equal marriage rights and compares it to the Court’s past jurisprudence on European consensus and the margin of appreciation awarded to Member States regarding the issue of equal marriage rights. The contribution aims to analyse whether there is a parallel to be seen between the rapid global trend of legalisation of same-sex marriage and the development or evolution of the case law of the ECtHR on the same topic. Furthermore, it demonstrates that the Court’s consensus-based analysis is problematic for several reasons and provides possible alternative approaches to the balancing of the Court between, on the one hand, protecting rights of minorities (in this case same-sex couples invoking equal marriage rights) under the European Convention on Human Rights and, on the other hand, maintaining its credibility, authority and legitimacy towards Member States that might disapprove of the evolving case law in the context of same-sex relationships. It also offers insights as to the future of European consensus in the context of equal marriage rights and ends with some concluding remarks.


Masuma Shahid
Lecturer, Department of International and European Union Law, Erasmus School of Law, Rotterdam.
Article

Access_open An Empirical Study of the Voting Pattern of Judges of the International Court of Justice (2005-2016)

Journal Erasmus Law Review, Issue 3 2017
Keywords voting pattern, ICJ judges, empirical research
Authors Xuechan Ma and Shuai Guo
AbstractAuthor's information

    The Statute of the International Court of Justice stipulates that judges shall exercise their powers impartially. We question the practicability of this statement and examine whether the voting pattern of the judges are biased. In this light, empirical research is conducted on cases adjudicated from 2005 to 2016. We find strong evidence that (1) judges favour their home States or appointing States; and (2) judges favour States that speak same majority language with their home States.


Xuechan Ma
Xuechan Ma, Ph.D. candidate at Leiden University, LL.M. and LL.B. at Peking University. Email address: x.ma@law.leidenuniv.nl.

Shuai Guo
Shuai Guo, Ph.D. candidate at Leiden University, LL.M. and LL.B. at China University of Political Science and Law. Email address: s.guo@law.leidenuniv.nl.
ECtHR Court Watch

ECtHR 26 January 2017, application no. 42788/06, Right to fair hearing and right to respect for private and family life

Surikov – v – Ukraine, Ukrainian case

Journal European Employment Law Cases, Issue 2 2017
Keywords Right to respect for private and family life
Abstract

    ECtHR concludes that there has been a violation of Article 8 (right to respect for private and family life) in the case of retention and disclosure of an employee’s mental-health data and its use in deciding on employees’ applications for promotion.

Article

New Space Activities and Legislation

A General Overview with a Specific Reference to the Ongoing Debate in Italy

Journal International Institute of Space Law, Issue 2 2017
Authors Marina Gagliardi, Nicoletta Bini, Cristina Marabottini e.a.
Author's information

Marina Gagliardi
Marina Gagliardi, Legal Affairs Unit, Italian Space Agency, Rome, Italy.

Nicoletta Bini
Nicoletta Bini, Legal Affairs Unit, Italian Space Agency, Rome, Italy.

Cristina Marabottini
Cristina Marabottini, Legal Affairs Unit, Italian Space Agency, Rome, Italy.

Gianfranco Gabriele Nucera
Gianfranco Gabriele Nucera, Department of Political Sciences, Sapienza University of Rome.
Article

Enforcement of Judgments in SEE, CIS, Georgia and Mongolia

Challenges and Solutions

Journal European Journal of Law Reform, Issue 2 2016
Keywords enforcement, bailiffs, judgments, CIS, SEE
Authors Kim O’Sullivan and Veronica Bradautanu
AbstractAuthor's information

    The article considers the results of the Assessment of enforcement systems for commercial cases, carried out by the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) in 2013-2014. In phase I the Assessment looked at the systems in thirteen countries, namely Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyz Republic, Moldova, Mongolia, Russia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Ukraine, Uzbekistan (“CIS+ region”); and in phase II another eight countries were reviewed: Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, FYR Macedonia, Kosovo, Montenegro, Serbia and Slovenia (“SEE region”).
    On the basis of the information gathered during the Assessment, the article compares the three forms of enforcement systems and their manifestation in the assessed regions: public (state), private and mixed (hybrid) systems. Using examples from the reviewed jurisdictions, the article discusses the benefits and downsides of each form. There is no preferred form; however, each may borrow elements from the other to result in a stronger system.
    The Assessment attempted to provide a comprehensive overview of the enforcement frameworks and practices and to pinpoint areas that might need reform and attention in order to improve the quality of the service. It looked at the following elements of enforcement: resources and framework, supervision and integrity issues, searching for assets, seizure of assets, sale of assets, speed of enforcement, cost and fees.
    The article discusses in detail the two areas of enforcement that emerged from the Assessment as most challenging: searching for debtors’ assets and sale of seized assets. Facilitated access to registers, wider use of electronic means of communications and clear process are identified among the contributors to better practice in searching for assets. Similarly, use of electronic platforms, establishing a fair price, ensuring sufficient flexibility in methods and process of sale would help improve the outcome of enforcement.
    The article further analyses another two components often overlooked by the regulatory bodies and policymakers, which permeate the enforcement system, significantly influencing the enforcement process. This refers to gathering of statistical data about the results of enforcement and its effective use; as well as efficient supervisory system over enforcement agents. The article argues that gathering data about, for example, enforcement timeline and percentage of recovered claims, and publicizing such data shall contribute to improved results. Furthermore, having an adequate complaints system will help build trust in the enforcement profession.


Kim O’Sullivan
Kim O’Sullivan is a Principal Counsel at EBRD.

Veronica Bradautanu
Veronica Bradautanu is a Consultant to the EBRD.
Article

Prohibition of Discrimination: Citizenship as a Possible Discrimination Basis

Journal European Journal of Law Reform, Issue 3 2016
Keywords anti-discrimination law, Serbian Law, harmonization, right to a personal name, European Court of Justice
Authors Olga Jović-Prlainović and Jelena Belović
AbstractAuthor's information

    In modern society, the right to equality is not just a universal moral obligation; it is rather an expression of a generally accepted rule in international law that all people have equal rights, independently of differences based on innate or acquired personal characteristics. Prohibition of discrimination is a civilization heritage, and it is determined by systematically overcoming prejudices and stereotypes as key factors of discrimination, where educational institutions, media, public authority, and non-governmental organizations all have a vital role. Tackling with discrimination is not just the application of rules regulated by law and taking necessary measures towards social groups which are in an unequal position, but it is also a continuous development of tolerance when it comes to ethnicity, religion, gender, minorities, as well as acceptance of the existing interpersonal differences. It is well known that the area of West Balkans is often a breeding ground where stereotypes and prejudices thrive for decades. The strategic aim of the Republic of Serbia is membership in the European Union, and so nation-wide law regulation concerning this matter is directed at complying with the European Union Law since the prohibition of discrimination is one of the pillars of the European Union Law. In this article, the influence of the European Union Law and practical measures taken by the European Court of Human Rights in order to prohibit discrimination in a specific international and private domain are analyzed.


Olga Jović-Prlainović
Olga Jović-Prlainović is Associate Professor at the Faculty of Law, University of Pristina, Kosovska Mitrovica.

Jelena Belović
Jelena Belović is Assistant Professor at the Faculty of Law, University of Pristina, Kosovska Mitrovica.
Article

The International Criminal Court and Africa

Contextualizing the Anti-ICC Narrative

Journal African Journal of International Criminal Justice, Issue 1-2 2016
Keywords International Criminal Court (ICC), security, African Union (AU), war crimes, international law
Authors Brendon J. Cannon, Dominic R. Pkalya and Bosire Maragia
AbstractAuthor's information

    This article critiques attempts by some in Africa to brand the International Criminal Court (ICC) as a neocolonial institution and stooge of the West. These arguments accuse the ICC of playing a double standard, being overly focused on trying African defendants, and warn that the Court risks exacerbating factionalism and ethnic divisions thereby threatening peace and reconciliation efforts. Although we neither defend nor champion the ICC’s mandate, we deem such criticisms as hyperbole. At best, they attempt to whitewash the instrumental role played by African states in the birth of the Court and ignore the fact that many of the ICC cases were referred there by African governments. Furthermore, the current African narrative understates the ICC’s potential to midwife local judiciaries and contribute positively towards conflict resolution in Africa through the promotion of at least a measure of accountability and offers of justice, thereby taming elite immunity and impunity in states where justice regimes are either weak or non-existent. Until African states strengthen their judiciaries to ensure such references to the ICC are indeed a last resort, the Court will continue to remain the only credible forum for states emerging from conflict and seeking justice and reconciliation.


Brendon J. Cannon
Brendon J. Cannon is an Assistant Professor of Political Science at Khalifa University’s Institute of International and Civil Security (IICS) in Abu Dhabi, UAE.

Dominic R. Pkalya
Dominic R. Pkalya is a post-graduate student at Kisii University, Faculty of Social Sciences in Nairobi, Kenya.

Bosire Maragia
Bosire Maragia is an Adjunct Lecturer of Political Science (African Politics) at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, USA and works for the United States Federal Government. The views expressed herein are his and do not reflect or constitute official US government policy.

Simonetta Di Pippo
Simonetta Di Pippo is the Director of the United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs.
Article

Parliamentary Diplomacy in the United Nations and Progressive Development of Space Law

Journal European Journal of Law Reform, Issue 1 2016
Keywords COPUOS, Legal Subcommittee, law making, agenda, working methods
Authors Tare Brisibe
AbstractAuthor's information

    Recent and on-going efforts by individual or groups of states aim to organize parliamentary mechanisms and substantive issues concerning space law. The article addresses organizational matters of the Legal Subcommittee (LSC) of the UN Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space (COPUOS) and particularly the debate between procedure and substance. The article enquires whether amending the parliamentary process can be expected to yield results in the absence of agreement to proceed on substantive matters. Whilst highlighting the achievements of COPUOS and its LSC in the progressive development and codification of space law, attention is paid to salient decisions concerning organizational matters, taken with respect to the COPUOS and its LSC spanning the period 1990 to 1999 and post 1999 to present. Analysis is undertaken of reasons for presumed decline, alongside current and future perspectives that shall influence COPUOS and its LSC in their respective law making functions.


Tare Brisibe
Barrister & Solicitor of the Supreme Court of Nigeria, Legal Consultant and former Chair of the UN COPUOS Legal Subcommittee for the biennium 2012-2014.
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