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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.
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 European Law

Whose Interests to Protect?

Judgments in the Annulment Cases Concerning the Amendment of the Posting Directive

Journal Hungarian Yearbook of International Law and European Law, Issue 1 2021
Keywords posting of workers, freedom to provide services, posting directive, remuneration of posted workers, private international law
Authors Gábor Kártyás
AbstractAuthor's information

    The directive 96/71/EC on the posting of workers had been in force for over 20 years when its first amendment (Directive 2018/957) came into force on 30 July 2020. The Hungarian and Polish Governments initiated annulment proceedings against the new measure, primarily arguing that as the amendment extended the host state’s labor standards ó to posted workers, the directive is no longer compatible with the freedom to provide services (Cases C-620/18 and C-626/18). Although both claims were rejected, the actions contain a number of noteworthy legal arguments (from the perspective of home States), which highlight some of the long-known contradictions of EU legislation on postings. The article summarizes the CJEU’s key observations made in the judgments, which are important propositions for further discussion.


Gábor Kártyás
Gábor Kártyás: associate professor of law, Pázmány Péter Catholic University, Budapest.
Developments in European Law

Applicability of the GDPR on Personal Household Robots

Journal Hungarian Yearbook of International Law and European Law, Issue 1 2021
Keywords artificial intelligence, robots, personal data, GDPR, scenarios
Authors Gizem Gültekin Várkonyi
AbstractAuthor's information

    Recent developments in artificial intelligence (AI) and robotics point to a close future collaboration between humans and machines. Even though the use of personal robots is not yet a phenomenon, findings in technical and legal literature highlight several possible risks inherent in the processing of personal data by such robots. This article contributes to the current discussions on the applicability of the GDPR to AI technologies from three aspects: (i) first, it encourages the use of a scenario method to predict possible future legal problems related to new technologies; (ii) second, it analyzes considerations with the support of the relevant case-law and present comparative expert opinions for overcoming the weak points of the GDPR relevant to AI; (iii) and finally, proposals made in the recommendations part aim to contribute to a better application of the GDPR to AI technologies in personal use.


Gizem Gültekin Várkonyi
Gizem Gültekin Várkonyi: junior research fellow, University of Szeged.
Developments in European Law

The Possibility of Using Article 72 TFEU as a Conflict-of-Law Rule

Hungary Seeking Derogation from EU Asylum Law

Journal Hungarian Yearbook of International Law and European Law, Issue 1 2021
Keywords Article 72 TFEU, internal security, conflict of law, Common European Asylum System, relocation decisions
Authors Ágnes Töttős
AbstractAuthor's information

    The purpose of this article is to examine how the CJEU circumscribed the room for maneuver of Member States for safeguarding their internal security and whether the use of and reference to Article 72 TFEU changed over the past years. The starting point of the analysis is the Hungarian asylum infringement case: the article looks back at earlier case-law and identifies how the reference to Article 72 TFEU shifted from considering it an implementation clause to the attempts at using it as a conflict-of-law rule. Although the article finds that the CJEU reduced the scope of possibly using Article 72 TFEU as a conflict-of-law rule and practically excludes its application by the setting high standards for this unique form of application, the article examines some extreme situations from 2020 where it could be validly referred to.


Ágnes Töttős
Ágnes Töttős: senior government counselor, Government Office of the Prime Minister, Budapest.
Hungarian State Practice

The Public Trust Doctrine, the Non-Derogation Principle and the Protection of Future Generations

The Hungarian Constitutional Court’s Review of the Forest Act

Journal Hungarian Yearbook of International Law and European Law, Issue 1 2021
Keywords public trust, non-derogation, Article P, Constitutional Court of Hungary, future generations
Authors Katalin Sulyok
AbstractAuthor's information

    This article analyzes the doctrinal findings of the Hungarian Constitutional Court with respect to the constitutional protection afforded to future generations in the Fundamental Law. It focuses on Decision No. 14/2020. (VII. 6.) AB in which the Constitutional Court abolished an amendment to the Forest Act for infringing the right to a healthy environment and the environmental interests of future generations as enshrined in Article P of the Fundamental Law. On this occasion, the Constitutional Court for the first time explicitly recognized that Article P embodies the public trust doctrine; and stressed that it confers fiduciary duties on the State to act as a trustee over the natural heritage of the nation for the benefit of future generations, which limits the executive’s discretion to exploit and regulate such resources. This article puts the Hungarian constitutional public trust in a comparative perspective by exploring the origins, role and functioning of similar constitutional public trust provisions in other jurisdictions. This is followed by setting out the normative principles derived by the Hungarian Constitutional Court in its previous practice from Article P, such as the non-derogation principle, the principle of inter-generational equity, the imperative of long-term planning, economical use of resources and the precautionary principle. The article then sets out the legal bases featured in the ex post constitutional challenge brought against the amendment of the Forest Act by the Ombudsman, and the Constitutional Court’s reasoning. It concludes with offering some wider lessons for the judicial enforcement of long-term environmental goals vis-á-vis short-term economic private interests.


Katalin Sulyok
Katalin Sulyok: senior lecturer, ELTE Law School, Budapest; chief legal advisor, Office of the Hungarian Ombudsman for Future Generations, Budapest.

    Evaluations of restorative justice frequently report that only a minority of schools succeed in adopting a whole-school approach. More common are a consortium of practices necessitating the evaluation of schools not implementing the whole-school model but still achieving positive results. Previous research established that unconventional models have successful outcomes, yet little is known about the contextual factors and the causal mechanisms of different practices. This study finds that models of restorative justice facilitating student voice and consequently procedural justice have promising outcomes. Importantly, alternative models may be less resource-intensive, making them more feasible to fully implement.


Heather Norris
Heather Norris is a lecturer in the Department of Psychology at Aberystwyth University, Wales, UK. Corresponding author: Heather Norris at hnn1@aber.ac.uk.
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.

    The Bulgarian Supreme Court of Cassation in a decision of 2 February 2021 has ruled that in cases where the selection process is not a mandatory part of the termination procedure it is entirely up to the employer to conduct the selection and base its termination decisions on the results of such selection.


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

The Reform of Contract Rules in China’s New Civil Code

Successes or Pitfalls

Journal European Journal of Law Reform, Issue 2 2021
Keywords Civil Code of the People’s Republic of China, Contracts of the Civil Code, Chinese legal system, legislative history
Authors Peng Guo and Linxuan Li
AbstractAuthor's information

    The Civil Code of the People’s Republic of China (Civil Code) came into force on 1 January 2021. Book III on Contracts of the Civil Code has adopted significant changes compared to the old Chinese Contract Law (Contract Law). This article provides a comprehensive and systemic analysis of those changes from structure to content, from legislative technics to values underpinning the Civil Code. It evaluates all the factors in the context of the development of Chinese society, Chinese culture and Chinese legal system.
    This article first outlines the historical background of the development of the Contract Law and the Civil Code. It then moves on to compare the Civil Code and the Contract Law, highlighting the changes in structure, the incorporation of new provisions and the amendments to old provisions in light of contemporary Chinese society and culture. Finally, it argues that the Civil Code is a significant milestone in China’s legislative history; that it reflects the legislative experience and judicial practice in China; that it adds provisions which are innovative and of Chinese characteristics to meet the needs of China’s changing society and legal system; and that it keeps pace with the development of the global law reform and harmonization.


Peng Guo
Peng Guo is a Lecturer in Law, Graduate School of Business and Law, RMIT University, Australia.

Linxuan Li
Linxuan Li, LL.M. University of International Business and Economics, LL.B. Shandong University, China.
Article

Unwrapping the Effectiveness Test as a Measure of Legislative Quality

A Case Study of the Tuvalu Climate Change Resilience Act 2019

Journal European Journal of Law Reform, Issue 1 2021
Keywords effectiveness test, legislative quality, drafting process, Tuvalu Climate Change Resilience Act 2019
Authors Laingane Italeli Talia
AbstractAuthor's information


Laingane Italeli Talia
Laingane Italeli Talia is Senior Crown Counsel, Attorney General’s Office of Tuvalu

    On 16 December 2020, the Supreme Court of Lithuania (Cassation Court) delivered a ruling in a case where an employee claimed that the employer, JSC ‘Lithuanian Railways’, did not apply the regulations of the company’s employer-level collective agreement and did not pay a special bonus – an anniversary benefit (i.e. a benefit paid to employees on reaching a certain age) – because the employee was not a member of the trade union which had signed the collective agreement. According to the employee, she was discriminated against because of her membership of another trade union, i.e membership of the ‘wrong’ trade union.
    The Supreme Court held that combatting discrimination under certain grounds falls within the competence and scope of EU law, but that discrimination on the grounds of trade union membership is not distinguished as a form of discrimination. Also, the Court ruled that in this case (contrary to what the employee claimed in her cassation appeal) Article 157 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU) is not applicable because it regulates the prohibition of discrimination on other (sex) grounds. Moreover, the Court found that there was no legal basis for relying on the relevant case law of the ECJ which provides clarification on other forms of discrimination, but not on discrimination based on trade union membership.


Vida Petrylaitė
Vida Petrylaitė is an associate professor at Vilnius university.

    The Vaslui Tribunal has recently annulled an individual dismissal decision issued during the state of alert in Romania due to formalities which had not been observed by the employer. While the judge invested with determining the matter limited their analysis to the elements contained in the individual dismissal decision, the judicial assistant ascertained, within a competing opinion, that the dismissal decision should have been annulled for other reasons, namely for the fact that, in reality, the employer had implemented a collective redundancy process without observing the procedure and employees’ rights in the event of such dismissal. Relying on the provisions of Directive 98/59/EC of 20 July 1998 on the approximation of the laws of the Member States relating to collective redundancies, the judicial assistant has made an exhaustive analysis of the conditions required for the existence of a collective dismissal.
    While the competing opinion does not have the same effect as a court ruling, it is part of the judicial procedure and, from this perspective, the independence and impartiality of all the members of the court and their obedience solely to the law is maintained.


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

Andreea Serban
Andreea Serban is an attorney-at-law at Suciu I The Employment Law Firm.
Case Law

Access_open 2021/1 EELC’s review of the year 2020

Journal European Employment Law Cases, Issue 1 2021
Authors Ruben Houweling, Daiva Petrylaitė, Marianne Hrdlicka e.a.
Abstract

    Various of our academic board analysed employment law cases from last year. However, first, we start with some general remarks.


Ruben Houweling

Daiva Petrylaitė

Marianne Hrdlicka

Attila Kun

Luca Calcaterra

Francesca Maffei

Jean-Philippe Lhernould

Niklas Bruun

Jan-Pieter Vos

Luca Ratti

Andrej Poruban

Anthony Kerr

Filip Dorssemont
Article

Restorative justice conferencing in Australia and New Zealand

Application and potential in an environmental and Aboriginal cultural heritage protection context

Journal The International Journal of Restorative Justice, Issue 1 2021
Keywords restorative justice conferencing, environmental offending, Aboriginal cultural heritage offending, connection to the environment
Authors Mark Hamilton
AbstractAuthor's information

    Indigenous people may suffer harm when the environment, sacred places and sacred objects are destroyed or damaged. Restorative justice conferencing, a facilitated face-to-face dialogue involving victims, offenders, and pertinent stakeholders has the potential to repair that harm. This article explores the use of conferencing in this context with case law examples from New Zealand and New South Wales, Australia. As will be discussed, the lack of legislative support for conferencing in the Land and Environment Court of New South Wales means it is doubtful that such conferencing will develop past its current embryonic state. As well as using restorative justice conferencing to repair harm from past criminality, this article suggests that further research should explore the use of restorative justice to resolve present conflict, and prevent future conflict, where there is a disconnect between non-Indigenous use of the environment and Indigenous culture embedded in the environment.


Mark Hamilton
Mark Hamilton, PhD, is a lawyer and teaching fellow in the Criminology and Criminal Justice programme and the Law programme at the University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia. Contact: mark.hamilton@unsw.edu.au.
Article

A maximalist approach of restorative justice to address environmental harms and crimes

Analysing the Brumadinho dam collapse in Brazil

Journal The International Journal of Restorative Justice, Issue 1 2021
Keywords environmental law, maximalist approach, restorative justice principles and concepts, decision-making process, sanctioning rules
Authors Carlos Frederico Da Silva
AbstractAuthor's information

    In this article, the author analyses court cases arising from the rupture of the mining tailings dam in the city of Brumadinho, Brazil, on 25 January 2019. In a civil lawsuit context, legal professionals recognised damage to people and the environment during hearings involving a judge, prosecutors, lawyers and corporate representatives. The centrality of the victims’ interests and the need for remedial measures prevailed in the agreements signed mainly to provide urgent relief and restore damage to the ecosystem. In the criminal lawsuit dealing with the same facts, there have not yet been acquittals, non-prosecution agreements or convictions. By employing a socio-legal approach to contrast different types of legal reasoning, this article explores the possibilities of restorative responses in civil proceedings and explains the lack of them in criminal justice. In highlighting some characteristics of punishment theories that hinder a possible restorative justice approach, the article offers a critique of a penal system mostly linked to argumentative competition rather than persuasive conflict resolution. The author argues that jurisprudence should address transdisciplinary concepts, such as responsive regulation, restorative efforts, proportionality and individualisation of punishment. The discussion can shed light on the decision-making process to allow environmental restorative justice responses to crimes.


Carlos Frederico Da Silva
Carlos Frederico Braga Da Silva is a PhD researcher associated to the Graduate School of Sociology at the Federal University of Minas Gerais, Brazil, and to the Canadian Chair of Legal Traditions and Penal Rationality, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Criminology, University of Ottawa, Canada. He also works as a state judge in Belo Horizonte, Minas Gerais, Brazil. Contact author: carlosfrebrasilva@gmail.com.


Andreea Suciu
Andreea Suciu is Managing Partner at Suciu | The Employment Law Firm in Bucharest, Romania.

Teodora Manaila
Teodora Manaila is a Senior Associate at Suciu | The Employment Law Firm in Bucharest, Romania.

    This article focuses on the posting of workers in the aviation industry. The main problem is that it is not clear in which situations the Posting of Workers Directive should be applied to aircrew (i.e. cabin crew and pilots). The aviation sector is characterised by a very mobile workforce in which it is possible for employees to provide services from different countries in a very short timeframe. This makes it, to a certain extent, easier for employers to choose the applicable social legislation, which can lead to detrimental working conditions for their aircrew. This article looks into how the Posting of Workers Directive can prevent some air carriers from unilaterally determining the applicable social legislation and makes some suggestions to end unfair social competition in the sector. This article is based on a research report which the authors drafted in 2019 with funding from the European Commission (hereafter the ‘Report’)


Gautier Busschaert
Gautier Busschaert (PhD) is senior associate at the Brussels law firm Van Olmen & Wynant.

Pieter Pecinovsky
Pieter Pecinovsky (PhD) is counsel at the Brussels law firm Van Olmen & Wynant.

    On 13 December 2019 the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) Court held that a national provision that renders a father’s entitlement to parental benefits during a shared period of leave dependent on the mother’s situation, but not vice versa, fell outside the scope of Directive 2006/54/EC (the Equal Treatment Directive) since it did not concern “employment and working conditions” within the meaning of Article 14(1)(c) of that Directive. The action brought by the EFTA Surveillance Authority (ESA) was thus dismissed. The Court consequently did not consider whether the Norwegian rules amounted to unlawful discrimination under the Directive. Furthermore, no assessment was made as to the potential breach with the general principle of equality of gender under EEA law, as this had not been pleaded by ESA.


Jonas Thorsdalen Wik
Jonas Thorsdalen Wik is an attorneys-at-law at Hjort Law Firm (Oslo, Norway).

Dag Sørlie Lund
Dag Sørlie Lund is an attorneys-at-law at Hjort Law Firm (Oslo, Norway).
Article

Beizaras and Levickas v. Lithuania

Recognizing Individual Harm Caused by Cyber Hate?

Journal East European Yearbook on Human Rights, Issue 1 2020
Keywords hate speech, verbal hate crime, cyber hate, effective investigation, homophobia
Authors Viktor Kundrák
AbstractAuthor's information

    The issue of online hatred or cyber hate is at the heart of heated debates over possible limitations of online discussions, namely in the context of social media. There is freedom of expression and the value of the internet in and of itself on the one hand, and the need to protect the rights of victims, to address intolerance and racism, as well as the overarching values of equality of all in dignity and rights, on the other. Criminalizing some (forms of) expressions seems to be problematic but, many would agree, under certain circumstances, a necessary or even unavoidable solution. However, while the Court has long ago declared as unacceptable bias-motivated violence and direct threats, which under Articles 2, 3 and 8 in combination with Article 14 of the ECHR, activate the positive obligation of states to effectively investigate hate crimes, the case of Beizaras and Levickas v. Lithuania presented the first opportunity for the Court to extend such an obligation to the phenomenon of online verbal hate crime. This article will first address the concepts of hate speech and hate crime, including their intersection and, through the lens of pre-existing case law, identify the key messages for both national courts and practitioners. On the margins, the author will also discuss the issue of harm caused by verbal hate crime and the need to understand and recognize its gravity.


Viktor Kundrák
Viktor Kundrák has worked for the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) as a Hate Crime Officer since 2018. He has been responsible for ODIHR’s hate crime reporting, trained police, prosecutors and judges, and provided legislative and policy support at the national level. He is also a PhD candidate at Charles University in Prague. The views in this article are his own and do not necessarily represent those of ODIHR. Some of the opinions are based on an article published in Czech earlier this year (see V. Kundrák & M. Hanych, ‘Beizaras and Levickas v. Lithuania (Verbal Hate Crime on Social Network and Discriminatory Investigation)’, The Overview of the Judgments of the European Court of Human Rights, Vol. 3, 2020.
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