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Article

Covid-19 Emergency Prison Release Policy: A Public Health Imperative and a Rule of Law Challenge

Journal European Journal of Law Reform, Issue 4 2020
Keywords emergency prison release, rule of law, democracy, reducing prison overcrowding, prisoner rights, appropriate sanctions for white collar criminals, alternatives to custodial sentences
Authors Victoria Jennett
AbstractAuthor's information

    Many countries are implementing emergency releases of people from prison to mitigate the spread of Covid-19. Such measures, while critical to public health, can enable the unjust release from prison of politically connected and wealthy individuals convicted of corruption offences, thereby undermining the rule of law and democratic values by weakening public trust in the justice system. To reduce overcrowding of prisons while ensuring that white-collar criminals are appropriately sanctioned, one strategy is to impose alternatives to custodial sentences that ensure appropriate sanctioning of convicted criminals while de-densifying prisons – an approach that could be considered for non-emergency times as well.
    Main points:

    • Emergency prison release mechanisms to prevent the spread of Covid-19 can pose corruption risks owing to weak design, uneven implementation and inadequate oversight.

    • Such releases take three main forms: prisoner amnesties declared by governments; emergency release procedures drafted by governments and implemented by prison directors; and court decisions to release individual prisoners or set out frameworks to determine who is eligible for release.

    • These emergency procedures can enable the unjust release of politically connected prisoners convicted of corruption offences and undermine public trust in the rule of law and the justice system.

    • To help maintain rule of law during the emergency, alternatives to custodial sentences in line with international standards can be imposed on newly released persons who have been convicted of corruption crimes.

    • Conditions attached to releases can include, among others, status penalties, economic sanctions and monetary penalties, confiscation or expropriation of assets, and restitution or compensation to victims.

    • In non-emergency times, as well, alternatives to custodial sentences can be used to sanction those convicted of corruption crimes as a means to mitigate financial and social damage caused by corruption and reduce prison overcrowding.


Victoria Jennett
Dr. Victoria Jennett is an independent consultant to governments and international organisations on justice sector reform. She acknowledges the insights from Sofie Arjon Shuette at the U4 Anti-Corruption Resource Centre, UNODC colleagues and prison officials in the UK and the USA on an earlier version of this paper.
Article

The Windrush Scandal

A Review of Citizenship, Belonging and Justice in the United Kingdom

Journal European Journal of Law Reform, Issue 3 2020
Keywords Windrush generation, statelessness, right to nationality, genocide, apologetic UK Human Rights Act Preamble
Authors Namitasha Goring, Beverley Beckford and Simone Bowman
AbstractAuthor's information

    This article points out that the UK Human Rights Act, 1998 does not have a clear provision guaranteeing a person’s right to a nationality. Instead, this right is buried in the European Court of Human Rights decisions of Smirnova v Russia, 2003 and Alpeyeva and Dzhalagoniya v. Russia, 2018. In these cases, the Court stretched the scope of Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights, 1953 on non-interference with private life by public authorities to extend to nationality. The humanitarian crisis arising from the Windrush Scandal was caused by the UK Government’s decision to destroy the Windrush Generation’s landing cards in the full knowledge that for many these slips of paper were the only evidence of their legitimate arrival in Britain between 1948 and 1971.
    The kindling for this debacle was the ‘hostile environment policy’, later the ‘compliant environment policy’ that operated to formally strip British citizens of their right to a nationality in flagrant violation of international and domestic law. This article argues that the Human Rights Act, 1998 must be amended to include a very clear provision that guarantees in the UK a person’s right to a nationality as a portal to a person’s inalienable right to life. This balances the wide discretion of the Secretary of State under Section 4 of the Nationality, Immigration and Asylum Act, 2002 to deprive a person of their right to a nationality if they are deemed to have done something seriously prejudicial to the interests of the UK.
    This article also strongly recommends that the Preamble to the UK Human Rights Act, 1998 as a de facto bill of rights, be amended to put into statutory language Independent Advisor Wendy Williams’ ‘unqualified apology’ recommendation in the Windrush Lessons Learned Report for the deaths, serious bodily and mental harm inflicted on the Windrush Generation. This type of statutory contrition is in line with those of countries that have carried out similar grievous institutional abuses and their pledge to prevent similar atrocities in the future. This article’s contribution to the scholarship on the Human Rights Act, 1998 is that the Windrush Generation Scandal, like African slavery and British colonization, has long-term intergenerational effects. As such, it is fundamentally important that there is a sharp, comprehensive and enforceable legal mechanism for safeguarding the rights and interests of citizens as well as settled migrants of ethnically non-British ancestry who are clearly vulnerable to bureaucratic impulses.


Namitasha Goring
Namitasha Goring, Law and Criminology Lecturer Haringey Sixth Form College, LLM, PhD.

Beverley Beckford
Beverly Beckford, Barrister (Unregistered) (LLM).

Simone Bowman
Simone Bowman, Barrister (LLM Candidate DeMontford University).
Article

Access_open The Peer Review Process of the Global Forum on Transparency and Exchange of Information for Tax Purposes

A Critical Assessment on Authority and Legitimacy

Journal Erasmus Law Review, Issue 2 2017
Keywords Global Forum on Transparency and Exchange of Information, exercise of regulatory authority, due process requirements, peer review reports, legitimacy
Authors Leo E.C. Neve
AbstractAuthor's information

    The Global Forum on transparency and exchange of information for tax purposes has undertaken peer reviews on the implementation of the global standard of exchange of information on request, both from the perspective of formalities available and from the perspective of actual implementation. In the review reports Global Forum advises jurisdictions on required amendments of regulations and practices. With these advices, the Global Forum exercises regulatory authority. The article assesses the legitimacy of the exercise of such authority by the Global Forum and concludes that the exercise of such authority is not legitimate for the reason that the rule of law is abused by preventing jurisdictions to adhere to due process rules.


Leo E.C. Neve
Leo Neve is a doctoral student at the Erasmus School of Law, Rotterdam.
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