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Article

Access_open De gewetensbeslissing in Scholtens rechtsmethodologie

Journal Netherlands Journal of Legal Philosophy, Issue 1 2021
Keywords Geweten, feiten, Scholten, Kierkegaard, naastenliefde
Authors Jos Vleugel
AbstractAuthor's information

    The role that Paul Scholten assigns to conscience in his legal methodology still leads to heated discussions in literature after almost 100 years. Recognizing that in case law the conscience of the judge can be of decisive importance is apparently problematic. It would facilitate political court rulings, make judicial judgment uncontrollable and could be arbitrary for the parties to the legal dispute. Not only Scholten’s view on the role of conscience in judicial decision making is “a stumbling block”. At least as great is the fuss about his representation of conscience. Only Christian lawyers could identify with this. This article attempts to shed new light on the above points of criticism by drawing attention to the following aspects of Scholten’s legal methodology: the role of the facts in establishing the law, the nature of the legal judgment and finally the grounds on which conscience may be determined.


Jos Vleugel
Jos Vleugel is universitair docent staatsrecht aan de Universiteit Utrecht.
Article

Access_open Nationale constitutie versus internationale jurisdictie?

De rol van de rechter vanuit internationaalrechtelijk perspectief

Journal Netherlands Journal of Legal Philosophy, Issue 2 2020
Authors Anneloes Kuiper-Slendebroek
AbstractAuthor's information

    Voor het evenwicht tussen de staatsmachten, maar ook voor de ontwikkeling van internationaal recht, is de wijze waarop de nationale rechter zijn rol vervult van belang: gedraagt hij zich als rechtsvormer of als een rechtshandhaver? Zowel de legitimatie en vorming van het internationale recht als de handhaving van de internationale verplichtingen van de Staat op nationaal niveau zijn hiervan afhankelijk. Deze belangen worden bezien vanuit internationaal perspectief en uiteengezet aan de hand van recente jurisprudentie.


Anneloes Kuiper-Slendebroek
Anneloes Kuiper-Slendebroek is universitair docent privaatrecht aan de Universiteit Utrecht.
Article

Access_open Restraint as a Source of Judicial ‘Apoliticality’

A Functional Reconstruction

Journal Netherlands Journal of Legal Philosophy, Issue 2 2020
Keywords Urgenda, Miller v. Secretary of State, Norm of judicial apoliticality, Ronald Dworkin, Judicial restraint
Authors Maurits Helmich
AbstractAuthor's information

    Few legal theorists today would argue that the domain of law exists in isolation from other normative spheres governing society, notably from the domain of ‘politics’. Nevertheless, the implicit norm that judges should not act ‘politically’ remains influential and widespread in the debates surrounding controversial court cases. This article aims to square these two observations. Taking the Miller v. Secretary of State and Urgenda cases as illustrative case studies, the article demonstrates that what it means for judges to adjudicate cases ‘apolitically’ is itself a matter of controversy. In reflecting on their own constitutional role, courts are forced to take a stance on substantive questions of political philosophy. Nevertheless, that does not mean that the ‘norm of judicial apoliticality’ should therefore be rejected. The norm’s coherence lies in its intersocial function: its role in declaring certain modes of judicial interpretation and intervention legitimate (‘legal’/‘judicial’) or illegitimate (‘political’).


Maurits Helmich
Maurits Helmich is promovendus aan de afdeling Sociologie, Theorie en Methodologie van het Recht aan de Erasmus Universiteit Rotterdam.

Elaine Mak
Elaine Mak is hoogleraar Rechtstheorie en Enclyopedie van de rechtswetenschappen aan de Universiteit Utrecht.

Anne Ruth Mackor
Anne Ruth Mackor is hoogleraar Hoogleraar professie-ethiek, in het bijzonder van juridische professies aan de Rijksuniversiteit Groningen.

Iris van Domselaar
Iris van Domselaar is universitair hoofddocent aan de Amsterdamse rechtenfaculteit.
Article

Urgenda to Be Followed

Will the Courts Be the Last Resort to Prevent Dangerous Climate Change?

Journal Hungarian Yearbook of International Law and European Law, Issue 1 2020
Keywords climate change, Urgenda, Paris Agreement, effort sharing, IPCC
Authors András Huszár
AbstractAuthor's information

    The fight against climate change has reached new battlegrounds. National courts have become the stage where individuals and communities are trying to force Governments or other public and private legal entities to do more. After more than four years of legal battle, the Dutch Supreme Court has settled perhaps one of the most well-known climate cases in literature so far: Urgenda Foundation v. the State of the Netherlands. The essence of the judgment is that the Dutch Government was ordered to comply with the greenhouse gas emission reduction target deemed necessary by the international community. The way in which the Court has arrived at this conclusion in terms of the concrete obligation is questionable. While the ruling is based on various legal bases, the present article examines solely the arguments derived from international climate law and science. To that end it elaborates on the challenges of establishing the substance of a legally binding obligation for individual states concerning mitigation, it analyzes the nature of joint mitigation efforts, it looks at reports of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change used as evidence in court procedures, and finally, it explores the possible future of climate litigation in light of the legally binding ‘ultimate’ goal of climate policy introduced by the Paris Agreement.


András Huszár
András Huszár: PhD student, National University of Public Service, Budapest; founder and director, Green Policy Center.
Article

The Case Between Urgenda and the State of the Netherlands

Journal Hungarian Yearbook of International Law and European Law, Issue 1 2020
Keywords climate change, public interest litigation, human rights, ECHR, Netherlands
Authors Otto Spijkers
AbstractAuthor's information

    The Supreme Court of the Netherlands held that the Netherlands’ Government must ensure that, by the end of 2020, greenhouse gas emission levels from the Netherlands are at least a quarter below 1990 levels, otherwise the rights to life and wellbeing, as guaranteed under Articles 2 and 8 ECHR respectively, of the people in the Netherlands are breached. In doing so, the Supreme Court affirmed the reasoning and ruling of the Appeals Court, and distanced itself from the reasoning of the District Court, which was primarily based on domestic tort law.


Otto Spijkers
Otto Spijkers: professor of law, China Institute of Boundary and Ocean Studies (CIBOS) of Wuhan University.
Article

Access_open Recht en politiek in de klimaatzaken

Een sleutelrol voor het internationaal recht in de argumentatie van de nationale rechter

Journal Netherlands Journal of Legal Philosophy, Issue 1 2020
Authors Vincent Dupont
AbstractAuthor's information

    Ever since it was published in 2015, the judgment of the The Hague court in the so-called Urgenda-case, and the subsequent decisions of the appellate and cassation courts confirming it, have been met with repeated and vivid critiques. By recognizing the necessity of the reduction in greenhouse gas emissions, and furthermore imposing a certain reduction level on the Dutch state, the judgments in the cases at hand gave rise to many questions concerning the position of the judiciary in the matter, and in Dutch society as a whole. This article attempts in the first place to situate the positions of the different actors intervening in the Urgenda-case within a legal-theoretical framework. The contribution subsequently explores the strategic possibilities that an alternative understanding of law could offer to the judges, focusing specifically on the use of legal instruments stemming from international law, brought into the reasoning of the national judge.


Vincent Dupont
Vincent Dupont studeerde in 2017 af als Master of Laws aan de KU Leuven en volgt momenteel een opleiding sociologie aan de Université libre de Bruxelles, Unicamp in São Paulo en de École des hautes études en sciences sociales in Parijs.
Article

Access_open Consumer Social Responsibility in Dutch Law

A Case Study on the Role of Consumers in Energy Transition

Journal Erasmus Law Review, Issue 4 2019
Keywords consumer, energy transition, social responsibility, Dutch law, EU law
Authors Katalin Cseres
AbstractAuthor's information

    As our economies continue to focus on growth, competition and maximisation of consumer choice, the global increase in consumption takes vast environmental and social costs and cause irreversible harm to our climate and environment. The urgency of reducing human footprint and to diminish one of the root causes of a declining climate and environment is irrefutable. In the shift that globally has to take place, a decentralised energy system relying on more distributed generation, energy storage and a more active involvement of consumers form a crucial component of renewable energy solutions. The move from a highly centralised to a more decentralised power system involves an increasing amount of small-scale (intermittent) generation from renewable energy which is located closer to the point of final consumption. In order to steer consumption towards sustainability national governments and supranational organisations have adopted policies and corresponding legislation that address individual consumers as rational and active choice-makers who make socially responsible choices when they receive the ‘right’ amount of information. By relying on insights from modern consumption theories with contributions from sociology, this article questions the effectiveness and legitimacy of these ‘consumer-centred’ policies and laws. First, the article argues that the single focus on individual consumer behaviour as a rational and utility maximising market actor fails to take into account the complexity of consumption, which is fundamentally influenced by social norms and its broader institutional setting. Although consumers are willing to consume more sustainably, they are often ‘locked in by circumstances’ and unable to engage in more sustainable consumption practices even if they want to. Second, by relying on evidence from sociological studies the article argues that individual consumers are not the most salient actors in support of sustainable consumption. Even though the urgency of the energy transition and the critical role consumers play in (un)sustainable energy consumption is acknowledged in both the EU and its Member States, their laws and policies remain grounded on goals of economic growth with competitive economies, the sovereignty of consumer choice and wealth maximisation, instead of aiming at slower economic growth or even degrowth, reducing overall resource use and consumption levels and introducing radically different ways of consumption.
    Third, the role of law is underlined as a social institution both as a constraint on the autonomous acts of consumption, dictating the normative frameworks within which the role of consumer is defined, and as a facilitator which consumers might also employ, in order to determine for themselves particular normative parameters within which consumption can occur.
    The Netherlands, which serves as a case study in this article, has reached important milestones in its energy transition policy since 2013. Still, it remains strongly focused on economic rationality and market competitiveness. Even though various models of consumer participation exist and local consumer energy initiatives are flourishing and are recognised as key actors in the energy transition, they remain embedded in institutional, structural and behavioural settings where consumers still face challenging sociocultural barriers to sustainable practices.
    In light of these legal, political and social complexity of energy transition, the article offers a critical analysis of the current Dutch law in its broader legal context of EU law in order to answer the question what the role of (energy) law is in steering consumers towards sustainable energy consumption.


Katalin Cseres
Katalin Cseres is Associate Professor of Law, Amsterdam Centre for European Law & Governance (ACELG), University of Amsterdam.

Irawan Sewandono
Irawan Sewandono is universitair docent staats- en bestuursrecht bij de Faculteit Cultuur- en Rechtswetenschappen van de Open Universiteit.

András Huszár
Climate law expert.
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