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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.
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.
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.
Article

Access_open The Common Law Remedy of Habeas Corpus Through the Prism of a Twelve-Point Construct

Journal Erasmus Law Review, Issue 2 2021
Keywords Habeas corpus, common law, detainee, consitution, liberty
Authors Chuks Okpaluba and Anthony Nwafor
AbstractAuthor's information

    Long before the coming of the Bill of Rights in written Constitutions, the common law has had the greatest regard for the personal liberty of the individual. In order to safeguard that liberty, the remedy of habeas corpus was always available to persons deprived of their liberty unlawfully. This ancient writ has been incorporated into the modern Constitution as a fundamental right and enforceable as other rights protected by virtue of their entrenchment in those Constitutions. This article aims to bring together the various understanding of habeas corpus at common law and the principles governing the writ in common law jurisdictions. The discussion is approached through a twelve-point construct thus providing a brief conspectus of the subject matter, such that one could have a better understanding of the subject as applied in most common law jurisdictions.


Chuks Okpaluba
Chuks Okpaluba, LLB LLM (London), PhD (West Indies), is a Research Fellow at the Free State Centre for Human Rights, University of the Free State, South Africa. Email: okpaluba@mweb.co.za.

Anthony Nwafor
Anthony O. Nwafor, LLB, LLM, (Nigeria), PhD (UniJos), BL, is Professor at the School of Law, University of Venda, South Africa. Email: Anthony.Nwafor@univen.ac.za.
Article

Access_open The Influence of Strategic Culture on Legal Justifications

Comparing British and German Parliamentary Debates Regarding the War against ISIS

Journal Erasmus Law Review, Issue 2 2021
Keywords strategic culture, international law, ISIS, parliamentary debates, interdisciplinarity
Authors Martin Hock
AbstractAuthor's information

    This article presents an interdisciplinary comparison of British and German legal arguments concerning the justification of the use of force against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS). It is situated in the broader framework of research on strategic culture and the use of international law as a tool for justifying state behaviour. Thus, a gap in political science research is analysed: addressing legal arguments as essentially political in their usage. The present work questions whether differing strategic cultures will lead to a different use of legal arguments. International legal theory and content analysis are combined to sort arguments into the categories of instrumentalism, formalism and natural law. To do so, a data set consisting of all speeches with regard to the fight against ISIS made in both parliaments until the end of 2018 is analysed. It is shown that Germany and the UK, despite their varying strategic cultures, rely on similar legal justifications to a surprisingly large extent.


Martin Hock
Martin Hock is Research Associate at the Technische Universität Dresden, Germany.
Article

Access_open The Role of the Vienna Rules in the Interpretation of the ECHR

A Normative Basis or a Source of Inspiration?

Journal Erasmus Law Review, Issue 2 2021
Keywords European Convention on Human Rights, European Court of Human Rights, techniques of interpretation, the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties
Authors Eszter Polgári
AbstractAuthor's information

    The interpretive techniques applied by the European Court of Human Rights are instrumental in filling the vaguely formulated rights-provisions with progressive content, and their use provoked widespread criticism. The article argues that despite the scarcity of explicit references to the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties, all the ECtHR’s methods and doctrines of interpretation have basis in the VCLT, and the ECtHR has not developed a competing framework. The Vienna rules are flexible enough to accommodate the interpretive rules developed in the ECHR jurisprudence, although effectiveness and evolutive interpretation is favoured – due to the unique nature of Convention – over the more traditional means of interpretation, such as textualism. Applying the VCLT as a normative framework offers unique ways of reconceptualising some of the much-contested means of interpretation in order to increase the legitimacy of the ECtHR.


Eszter Polgári
Eszter Polgári, PhD, is assistant professor at the Department of Legal Studies of the Central European University in Austria.

    The Bulgarian Supreme Administrative Court has held that not only employees working under an employment relationship but also state officials enjoy special protection against termination.


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

    The Craiova Court of Appeal has ruled that a trade union that organized an illegal strike was civilly liable for the entire prejudice caused to the employer due to the interruption of its business activity. The compensation will be calculated based on the damage incurred by the employer, regardless of whether the strike took place for only two hours, as in the case at hand, if the activity of the unit was disrupted for a longer period of time due to such strike action.


Andreea Suciu
Andreea Suciu is Managing Partner of Suciu | The Employment Law Firm.

Andreea Oprea
Andreea Oprea is an Associate at Suciu | The Employment Law Firm.

    The UK’s Supreme Court (SC) has ruled that retail staff of the supermarket chain Asda can compare themselves under UK law to higher-paid distribution depot staff for the purposes of an equal pay claim. In a separate case against Tesco, the ECJ subsequently confirmed that the company’s shop workers can rely directly on EU law to compare themselves to distribution centre workers for the purposes of such a claim.


Carolyn Soakell
Carolyn Soakell is a partner at Lewis Silkin LLP.
Article

Restorative justice practice in forensic mental health settings: bridging the gap

Journal The International Journal of Restorative Justice, Issue Online First 2021
Keywords restorative justice in mental health, evidence-based practice, institutional settings, victims, ethics
Authors Gerard Drennan and Fin Swanepoel
AbstractAuthor's information

    The ‘clinic’ has developed sophisticated systems for responding to the challenge of serious mental health conditions. Mental health services combine hierarchical decision-making processes, with clear medical authority, with interventions that are required to be evidence-based to the highest standard. This is a system in which ethical, defensible practice is imperative to protect the public and to protect practitioners from legal liability in the event of adverse outcomes. Restorative justice interventions are powerful ‘medicine’. At their best, they change lives. However, the evidence base for formal restorative justice interventions when ‘administered’ to people with severe mental health difficulties is almost non-existent. It is into this relative vacuum of empirical support that initial steps are being taken to formalise access to restorative justice for mental health populations. This article will consider the challenges for applications of restorative justice in mental health settings and how the gap between the principle of equality of access and actual practice could be conceptualised and bridged. Recommendations include a rigorous commitment to meeting the needs of victims; a focus on the mental health patient’s capacity to consent rather than the capacity to benefit; practice-based evidence development and the inclusion of restorative justice awareness in all mental health practitioner training.


Gerard Drennan
Gerard Drennan is Head of Psychology & Psychotherapy at South London & Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust, London, United Kingdom.

Fin Swanepoel
Fin Swanepoel is a Restorative Justice Practitioner at South London & Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust, London, United Kingdom. Corresponding author: Gerard Drennan at Gerard.Drennan@slam.nhs.uk. Acknowledgements: We wish to thank the reviewers of the first submission of this article for their helpful comments and suggestions as the article was significantly improved by their guidance. We also wish to thank our colleagues in forensic mental health services who are also working to introduce restorative justice practices in their settings. We have learnt so much from their vision and commitment. We have been sustained in our journey because we journey with them.
Article

Opposition in Times of COVID-19 – To Support or Not to Support?

Journal Politics of the Low Countries, Issue 2 2021
Keywords minority government, rally-around-the-flag, COVID-19, mainstream parties, challenger parties, opposition, party goals
Authors Britt Vande Walle, Wouter Wolfs and Steven Van Hecke
AbstractAuthor's information

    COVID-19 has hit many countries all over the world, and its impact on (party) politics has been undeniable. This crisis situation functions as an opportunity structure incentivising opposition forces to support the government. Not much is known about what drives opposition parties to (not) support the government in crisis situations. This article integrates the literature on rally-around-the-flag, political opportunity structures, party types and party goals. More specifically, we focus on the behaviour of opposition parties towards the government’s crisis response to the COVID-19 pandemic. We analyse whether and how the party type influences the position of the party vis-à-vis the governmental coalition, focusing on the case of Belgium. We categorise the seven opposition parties in Belgium as challenger or mainstream parties and explain their behaviour on the basis of policy-, office- or vote-seeking motives. Our analysis is based on party voting behaviour, elite interviews and an analysis of the main plenary debates.


Britt Vande Walle
Britt Vande Walle is PhD Researcher at the KU Leuven Public Governance Instituted, funded by a FWO fellowship ‘Fundamental Research’. Her research focuses on comparative politics, political parties, and political party think tanks. ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-9594-9897.

Wouter Wolfs
Wouter Wolfs is Senior Researcher at the KU Leuven Public Governance Institute. His research interests include the European Union, political finance, legislative studies and political parties. ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-6214-5972.

Steven Van Hecke
Steven Van Hecke is Associate Professor in Comparative and EU Politics at the KU Leuven Public Governance Institute. His research focuses on Europarties, EU institutions and European integration history. ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0003-0215-5463.
Article

Access_open Teaching Technology to (Future) Lawyers

Journal Erasmus Law Review, Issue 1 2021
Keywords legal education, law and technology, legal analytics, technology education, technological literacy
Authors Mikołaj Barczentewicz
AbstractAuthor's information

    The article offers a reflection on how applications of computer technology (including data analytics) are and may be taught to (future) lawyers and what are the benefits and limitations of the different approaches. There is a growing sense among legal professionals and law teachers that the technological changes in the practice of law are likely to promote the kind of knowledge and skills that law graduates often do not possess today. Teaching computer technology can be done in various ways and at various depths, and those different ways and levels have different cost and benefit considerations. The article discusses four models of teaching technology: (1) teaching basic technological literacy, (2) more advanced but general technology teaching, (3) teaching computer programming and quantitative methods and (4) teaching a particular aspect of technology – other than programming (e.g. cybersecurity). I suggest that there are strong reasons for all current and future lawyers to acquire proficiency in effective uses of office and legal research software and standard means of online communication and basic cybersecurity. This can be combined with teaching of numerical and informational literacy. I also claim that advanced technology topics, like computer programming, should be taught only to the extent that this is justified by the direct need for such skills and knowledge in students’ future careers, which I predict to be true for only a minority of current lawyers and law students.


Mikołaj Barczentewicz
Mikołaj Barczentewicz is the Research Director, Surrey Law and Technology Hub, as well as Senior Lecturer (Associate Professor) in Law, University of Surrey School of Law. He is also a Research Associate of the University of Oxford Centre for Technology and Global Affairs.
Article

Access_open The Determinants of Committee Membership in Belgium and the Netherlands

Journal Politics of the Low Countries, Issue 3 2021
Keywords parliamentary committees, legislative organisation
Authors Tim Mickler
AbstractAuthor's information

    In this article I analyse whether differences in formal committee structures affect how parliamentary actors organise their work within them. I compare the allocation of members to specialised committees in the Dutch House of Representatives (Tweede Kamer) and the Belgian Chamber of Representatives (Kamer van Volksvertegenwoordigers/Chambre des Représentants) to test whether committee assignments are given more serious consideration when committees are strong. Despite many similarities, both parliaments differ in their internal institutional arrangements: committees in the Chamber of Representatives are, at least formally, considerably more powerful than those in the Dutch Lower House. The article uses the congressional theories of legislative organisation as heuristic devices to deduce several rationales of the assignment process. The role of parliamentary party groups is highlighted. The results indicate the presence of stable, reoccurring patterns in both parliaments. Even in the House of Representatives, where committees present lower opportunity structures, assignments are given due consideration.


Tim Mickler
Tim Alexander Mickler is an assistant professor at the Institute of Political Science at Leiden University. Corresponding author: Tim Mickler at t.a.mickler@fsw.leidenuniv.nl.
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.

Lisa Merkel-Holguin
Lisa Merkel-Holguin is the Director of the Kempe Center for the Prevention and Treatment of Child Abuse and Neglect, Department of Pediatrics, Aurora, Colorado, and Associate Professor of Pediatrics at the University of Colorado School of Medicine, USA. Contact author: lisa.merkel-holguin@cuanschutz.edu.
Article

An exploration of trauma-informed practices in restorative justice: a phenomenological study

Journal The International Journal of Restorative Justice, Issue 2 2021
Keywords restorative justice, trauma, trauma-informed care, interpretative phenomenological analysis
Authors Claudia Christen-Schneider and Aaron Pycroft
AbstractAuthor's information

    While several studies identify trauma as a main risk factor for developing offending behaviour, the criminal justice system still largely ignores the problem, and the same seems to be true of restorative justice. This article offers a critical exploration of trauma-informed work with offenders using interpretative phenomenological analysis. The interviewees perceive a growing interest in the topic of trauma and trauma-informed care (TIC). However, they also identify several areas that seem to hinder a trauma-informed approach, not only with offenders but also with victims. One concern is the tendency to institutionalise restorative justice with an emphasis on efficiency, effectiveness and outcome orientation. The interviewees also perceive a revengeful and retributive attitude in their societies that does not condone restorative measures that seemingly favour offenders. This tendency appears even stronger in societies that have suffered from collaborative trauma and not recovered from it. Interviewees therefore advocate for raising awareness of trauma, the consequences of unhealed trauma and the need to work trauma-informed with all stakeholders, including offenders and the extended, affected community. They also appeal for increased training to be provided for practitioners in TIC and self-care as these areas seem essential to provide safe and beneficial processes for all stakeholders.


Claudia Christen-Schneider
Claudia Alexandra Christen-Schneider is president of the Swiss RJ Forum.

Aaron Pycroft
Aaron Pycroft PhD is Reader in Criminal Justice and Social Complexity at the University of Portsmouth, UK. Contact author: Claudia Alexandra Christen-Schneider at swissrjforum@gmail.com.
Article

The Praise for a ‘Caretaker’ Leader

Gendered Press Coverage of Prime Minister Sophie Wilmès in a COVID-19 Context

Journal Politics of the Low Countries, Issue 2 2021
Keywords political leadership, crisis, care, Belgium, gendered media coverage
Authors Clémence Deswert
AbstractAuthor's information

    Studies on media coverage of women politicians have underlined how the media contribute to the association of the figure of the political leader with masculinity. Yet, the social construction of leadership seems to evolve towards a more ‘femininity-inclusive’ definition. Research on the ‘glass cliff’ phenomenon suggests that stereotypical feminine attributes might be expected from political leaders in a time of crisis. We investigated the gendered construction of political leadership in the press in a COVID-19 context through the case of former Belgian Prime minister Sophie Wilmès. In line with the ‘think crisis-think female’ association, our discourse analysis shows an appreciation of traditionally feminine traits, and particularly care-related qualities, in the evaluation of what a ‘good’ leader should be in pandemic times, although some characteristics traditionally associated with masculinity are still considered valuable assets in the journalistic portrayal of Wilmès’ leadership.


Clémence Deswert
Clémence Deswert is a PhD candidate at the Political Science Department of the Université libre de Bruxelles (ULB). Her research interests include political communication and political representation of women. Declaration of interests: I confirm that this article was not submitted to or publicised in another journal. No conflict of interest exists.
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