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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

The Role of National Human Rights Institutions in Post-Legislative Scrutiny

Journal European Journal of Law Reform, Issue 2 2019
Keywords National Human Rights Institution, parliament, legislation, reporting, post-legislative scrutiny
Authors Luka Glušac
AbstractAuthor's information

    This article explores the role of national human rights institutions (NHRIs) in post-legislative scrutiny (PLS), a topic that has been notably neglected in existing literature. The present research demonstrates that (1) legislative review is actually part of NHRIs’ mandate and (2) the applicable international standards (e.g. Belgrade and Paris Principles) provide for their actorness in all stages of legislative process. The main hypothesis is that NHRIs have already been conducting activities most relevant for PLS, even though they have not often been labelled as such by parliaments or scholars. In other words, we argue that their de facto role in PLS has already been well established through their practice, despite the lack of de jure recognition by parliamentary procedures. We support this thesis by providing empirical evidence from national practices to show NHRIs’ relevance for PLS of both primary and secondary legislation. The central part of this article concentrates on the potential of NHRIs to act as (1) triggers for PLS, and (2) stakeholders in PLS that has already been initiated. The article concludes with a summary of the results, lessons learned, their theoretical and practical implications and the avenues for further research.


Luka Glušac
Luka Glušac received his PhD in Political Science from the University of Belgrade; Faculty of Political Sciences. His PhD thesis explored the evolution of national human rights institutions (NHRIs) and their relations with the United Nations. He is adviser in the Secretariat of the Ombudsman of Serbia, since 2011. In 2018, he served as a National Institutions Fellow at The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) in Geneva. He can be contacted at lukaglusac@gmail.com.
Article

Civil Society Perspectives on the Criminal Chamber of the African Court of Justice and Human Rights

Journal African Journal of International Criminal Justice, Issue 1-2 2018
Keywords Malabo Protocol, African Court, Criminal Chamber, International and Transnational Crimes, African Union
Authors Benson Chinedu Olugbuo LLB BL LLM Ph.D.
AbstractAuthor's information

    In June 2014, African Heads of States and Governments adopted the Protocol on the Amendments to the Protocol on the Statute of the African Court of Justice and Human Rights in Malabo, Equatorial Guinea. The Malabo Protocol seeks to expand the jurisdiction of the African Court to international and transnational crimes. This development raises fundamental issues of jurisdiction, capacity, political will and regional complementarity in the fight against impunity in the African continent. The paper interrogates the role of Civil Society Organisations in the adoption and possible operationalisation of the Court in support of the efforts of the African Union to end human rights abuses and commission of international and transnational crimes within the continent.


Benson Chinedu Olugbuo LLB BL LLM Ph.D.
LLB (Nigeria); BL (Abuja); LLM (Pretoria); Ph.D. (Cape Town); Executive Director, CLEEN Foundation, Abuja–Nigeria and Research Associate, Public Law Department, University of Cape Town, South Africa.
Article

Access_open Armed On-board Protection of Danish Vessels Authorisation and Use of Force in Self-defence in a Legal Perspective

Journal Erasmus Law Review, Issue 4 2018
Keywords piracy, private security companies (PSC), privately contracted armed security personnel (PCASP), use of force, Denmark
Authors Christian Frier
AbstractAuthor's information

    This article examines the legal issues pertaining to the use of civilian armed guards on board Danish-flagged ships for protection against piracy. The Danish model of regulation is interesting for several reasons. Firstly, the Danish Government was among the first European flag States to allow and formalise their use in a commercial setting. Secondly, the distribution of assignments between public authorities and private actors stands out as very pragmatic, as ship owners and contracting private security companies are empowered with competences which are traditionally considered as public administrative powers. Thirdly, the lex specialis framework governing the authorisation and use of force in self-defence is non-exhaustive, thus referring to lex generalis regulation, which does not take the special circumstances surrounding the use of armed guards into consideration. As a derived effect the private actors involved rely heavily on soft law and industry self-regulation instrument to complement the international and national legal framework.


Christian Frier
Christian Frier is research assistant at the Department of Law, University of Southern Denmark. He obtained his PhD in Law in March 2019.
Article

Plain Language

A Promising Tool for Quality Legislation

Journal European Journal of Law Reform, Issue 4 2018
Keywords plain language, clarity, precision, accessibility, interpretation
Authors Kally K.L. Lam LLB
AbstractAuthor's information

    The hypothesis of this article is that plain language drafting with innovative drafting techniques can improve the quality of legislation. Further to this, the article tries to prove that quality legislation can also make the law more accessible to its general audience. With regard to quality, the article assesses plain language drafting with innovative drafting techniques using Helen Xanthaki’s criteria of quality in legislation, i.e. that it should be clear, precise and unambiguous. With regard to accessibility, it is defined broadly as to include readability. I will first assess whether plain language drafting with innovative drafting techniques can meet the expectations of its general audience and second discuss whether legislation drafted in plain language with innovative techniques passes the usability tests.


Kally K.L. Lam LLB
Kally K.L. Lam, LLB (University of Hong Kong), LLM (University of London) is Solicitor (Hong Kong).
Article

The Suprema Lex of Malta

A Forgotten Law in Legislative Drafting, Statutory Interpretation and Law Making?

Journal European Journal of Law Reform, Issue 4 2018
Keywords Maltese Law, legislative drafting, statutory interpretation, law making, supreme law
Authors Kevin Aquilina
AbstractAuthor's information

    Although the Constitution of Malta is the supreme law of the land, yet, in practice, the three principal organs of the state – the legislature, executive and judiciary – have, in certain respects exemplified in this article, tended to close their eyes to the provisions of the supreme law of the land to such an extent that legislation, government action and judicial pronouncements have breached the basic law. Without attempting to be all-inclusive, the article discusses a few illustrations where this has been the case and reflects upon this institutional behaviour where the Constitution is not upheld as the supreme law of Malta but is instead derided and disparaged. Consequently, fundamental principles of state governance such as the tenets of a democratic society and the rule of law end up being threatened and imperilled by those same institutions which are called upon to respect them. Nevertheless, the Constitution proclaims itself supreme over any other law and the organs it establishes, including the three principal organs of the state which are assaulting it, and embodies within its fold the rule of law which at the current state of play is passing through a critical phase in the state of Malta.


Kevin Aquilina
Professor Kevin Aquilina is Dean of the Faculty of Laws at the University of Malta.
Article

The Reliability of Evidence in Evidence-Based Legislation

Journal European Journal of Law Reform, Issue 1 2018
Keywords evidence-based legislation, Institutional Legislative Theory and Methodology (ILTAM), reliable evidence, Professor Robert Seidman
Authors Sean J. Kealy and Alex Forney
AbstractAuthor's information

    As evidence-based legislation develops, and as technology puts more information at our fingertips, there should be a better understanding of what exactly constitutes reliable evidence. Robert and Ann Seidman devoted their professional careers to developing the evidence-based Institutional Legislative Theory and Methodology and teaching it to legislative drafters around the world. Although ILTAM was firmly grounded in – and driven by – evidence, the question becomes what evidence is reliable and a worthy input for the methodology. Further, how can the drafter avoid the misuses of evidence such as confirmation bias and naïve beliefs? We aim to give a guide for using evidence by offering examples of evidence-based legislation in practice and through a proposed hierarchy of evidence from most to least reliable:

    1. Experiments within the jurisdiction / lessons from other jurisdictions.

    2. Information on a topic or issue that was formally requested by the legislature or produced to the legislature under oath or under the penalties of perjury.

    3. Studies / information provided by a government agency.

    4. Expert or scientific studies.

    5. Economic or mathematical models and statistics.

    6. Information provided by special interests.

    7. Stories, apocrypha and uncorroborated tales.


    We hope that this hierarchy provides a starting point for discussion to refine and improve evidence-based legislation.


Sean J. Kealy
Sean J. Kealy is a Clinical Associate Professor of Law, Director of the Legislative Clinics, Boston University School of Law. This article expands upon a concept that he first wrote about in Designing Legislation (APKN, 2011). Professor Kealy wishes to thank Professor Richard Briffault, Joseph P. Chamberlain Professor of Legislation at Columbia Law School, and Professor William W. Buzbee, Georgetown Law School, for reading and commenting on this article at the American Association of Law Schools 2017 Conference.

Alex Forney
Alex Forney earned his Juris Doctor, Boston University School of Law, 2016.
Article

Access_open Religious Freedom of Members of Old and New Minorities: A Double Comparison

Journal Erasmus Law Review, Issue 3 2017
Keywords ECtHR, UNHRC, religious manifestations, religious minorities, empirical analysis
Authors Fabienne Bretscher
AbstractAuthor's information

    Confronted with cases of restrictions of the right to manifest religious beliefs of new religious minorities formed by recent migration movements, the ECtHR and the UNHRC seem to opt for different interpretations and applications of this right, as recent conflicting decisions show. Based on an empirical legal analysis of the two bodies’ decisions on individual complaints, this article finds that these conflicting decisions are part of a broader divergence: While the UNHRC functions as a protector of new minorities against States’ undue interference in their right to manifest their religion, the ECtHR leaves it up to States how to deal with religious diversity brought by new minorities. In addition, a quantitative analysis of the relevant case law showed that the ECtHR is much less likely to find a violation of the right to freedom of religion in cases brought by new religious minorities as opposed to old religious minorities. Although this could be a hint towards double standards, a closer look at the examined case law reveals that the numerical differences can be explained by the ECtHR’s weaker protection of religious manifestations in the public as opposed to the private sphere. Yet, this rule has an important exception: Conscientious objection to military service. By examining the development of the relevant case law, this article shows that this exception bases on a recent alteration of jurisprudence by the ECtHR and that there are similar prospects for change regarding other religious manifestations in the public sphere.


Fabienne Bretscher
PhD candidate at the University of Zurich.
Article

Non-Legal Considerations in the Reasoning of the European Court of Human Rights

Journal European Journal of Law Reform, Issue 3 2017
Keywords ECHR, Convention, human rights, subsidiarity, pretence
Authors Kacper Zajac
AbstractAuthor's information

    This article discusses the role of non-legal considerations in the judgments of the European Court of Human Rights. First, it considers what legal instruments are available to the Court in interpreting the Convention Rights and why such instruments came to being in the first place. Second, the article identifies what types of non-legal considerations are taken into account by the Court and what impact they have on the Court’s decision-making process. The article argues that the Court pays considerable attention to such considerations and, in certain circumstances, it deploys available legal instruments, such as the margin of appreciation doctrine or fair balance test, to give those non-legal considerations a legal pretence. The article concludes that the importance of the non-legal factors in the decision-making process can be attributed to the vulnerable position of the European Court of Human Rights vis-à-vis the contracting states.


Kacper Zajac
Kacper Zajac is a LLM student at the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) specializing in European Human Rights. He graduated from Aberystwyth University with First Class Honours in 2015. Kacper has published in the area of international law and British constitutional law. He has also worked as a Researcher for the Society of Conservative Lawyers on the pamphlet ‘A Conservative Narrative on International Law: Past, Present and Future’.
Article

Access_open Corporate Taxation and BEPS: A Fair Slice for Developing Countries?

Journal Erasmus Law Review, Issue 1 2017
Keywords Fairness, international tax, legitimacy, BEPS, developing countries
Authors Irene Burgers and Irma Mosquera
AbstractAuthor's information

    The aim of this article is to examine the differences in perception of ‘fairness’ between developing and developed countries, which influence developing countries’ willingness to embrace the Base Erosion and Profit Shifting (BEPS) proposals and to recommend as to how to overcome these differences. The article provides an introduction to the background of the OECD’s BEPS initiatives (Action Plan, Low Income Countries Report, Multilateral Framework, Inclusive Framework) and the concerns of developing countries about their ability to implement BEPS (Section 1); a non-exhaustive overview of the shortcomings of the BEPS Project and its Action Plan in respect of developing countries (Section 2); arguments on why developing countries might perceive fairness in relation to corporate income taxes differently from developed countries (Section 3); and recommendations for international organisations, governments and academic researchers on where fairness in respect of developing countries should be more properly addressed (Section 4).


Irene Burgers
Irene Burgers is Professor of International and European Tax Law, Faculty of Law, and Professor of Economics of Taxation, Faculty of Business and Economics, University of Groningen.

Irma Mosquera
Irma Mosquera, Ph.D. is Senior Research Associate at the International Bureau of Fiscal Documentation IBFD and Tax Adviser Hamelink & Van den Tooren.
Article

Access_open Belgium and Democratic Constitution-Making: Prospects for the Future?

Journal Netherlands Journal of Legal Philosophy, Issue 1 2017
Keywords constitutional change, democracy, participation, Belgium
Authors Ronald Van Crombrugge
Abstract

    How constitutions are changed – and more importantly: how they should be changed – is the subject of ongoing debate. There seems to be a growing consensus, however, that in order for a constitution to be considered legitimate it is required that it was created through a democratic process. This growing consensus stands in sharp contrast with the Belgian experience of constitutional change as an essentially elite-led process that takes place behind closed doors. This article seeks to explore the possibilities for more democratic forms of constitutional change in Belgium. It does so by evaluating and comparing two examples of democratic constitution-making, namely the constitution-making processes In South Africa (1996) and Iceland (2012). On the basis of these two examples, several concrete suggestions will be made, which are not only relevant for the Belgian case but can be applied more broadly to other countries as well.


Ronald Van Crombrugge
Article

Outer Space Treaty 1967 vs. 2017

A lex specialis or Derogation from Human Rights?

Journal International Institute of Space Law, Issue 1 2017
Authors Milan Mijovic
Author's information

Milan Mijovic
Law School, Union University, Belgrade, Serbian office for Space sciences, research and development, Belgrade, mijovic.milan@gmail.com
Article

The Outer Space Treaty

Its First Fifty Years

Journal International Institute of Space Law, Issue 1 2017
Authors Peter Jankowitsch
Author's information

Peter Jankowitsch
President, International Academy of Astronautics (IAA), former Austrian Minister for Foreign Affairs, and former Chairman, UNCOPUOS
Article

Comparative Legislative Drafting

Comparing across Legal Systems

Journal European Journal of Law Reform, Issue 2 2016
Keywords comparative legislative drafting, comparative law, drafting process
Authors Constantin Stefanou
AbstractAuthor's information

    This article is an original, first attempt at establishing a list of comparative criteria for the comparative study of legislative drafting or aspects of legislative drafting between the two families of legal systems: common law and civil law. Because of the limited bibliography in the field of legislative drafting – let alone in comparative legislative drafting between common law and civil law systems – this article adds to existing scholarship on the field aiming to become a basis for further comparative research in legislative drafting. The list of criteria can be used on its own for different jurisdictions within the same family of legal systems, or the two lists can be used to juxtapose civil and common law experiences in legislative drafting. As this is the first time that such lists of comparative criteria in legislative drafting have been produced, it should be stressed that the lists are certainly not exhaustive. The aim of this article is to generate comparative research in legislative drafting, and so, inevitably, such comparative research might add or even subtract criteria from the lists depending on results.


Constantin Stefanou
Dr Constantin Stefanou is the director of the Sir William Dale Centre for Legislative Studies, at the Institute of Advanced Legal Studies (School of Advanced Study, University of London). He is also the convener of the oldest master’s programme in the field of legislative drafting (LLM in advanced legislative studies) at the IALS.
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 Fight against Corruption in Sierra Leone

Challenges and Opportunities in the Jurisprudence

Journal African Journal of International Criminal Justice, Issue 1-2 2016
Keywords Accountability, corruption, judicial approach, jurisprudence, reforms
Authors Michael Imran Kanu
AbstractAuthor's information

    The fight against corruption in Sierra Leone gained momentum, at least in terms of policy direction, following the enactment of the Anti-Corruption Act 2000 and the Amendment Act in 2008. It is considered to be one of the most robust anti-graft laws in the world and its promulgation is in recognition of the international and national resolve to fight the menace, owing to its devastating effects, especially in the Least Developed Countries (LCDs) of the world. The Anti-Corruption Act of 2000, though viewed as a tremendous move towards curtailing corruption, was riddled with shortcomings. Practitioners viewed the Act as limited in the number of proscribed offences created, coupled with the lack of independence signified by the absence of prosecutorial powers. With the enactment of the Amendment Act in 2008, it is crucial to examine the opportunities it has created to eradicate corruption. Critical also to the national and global resolve is the consideration of challenges that may have sprouted. This paper will examine some of the opportunities and challenges in the jurisprudence in the fight against corruption in Sierra Leone, with the aim of providing an avenue for reflection as well as a prompter for legislative reforms or change in judicial approach.


Michael Imran Kanu
Department of Legal Studies, Central European University. Email: Kanu_Michael@phd.ceu.edu.
Article

Access_open A Law and Economics Approach to Norms in Transnational Commercial Transactions: Incorporation and Internalisation

Journal Erasmus Law Review, Issue 1 2016
Keywords Incorporation and internalisation, transnational commercial transactions, transnational commercial norms
Authors Bo Yuan
AbstractAuthor's information

    In today’s global economy, a noticeable trend is that the traditional state-law-centred legal framework is increasingly challenged by self-regulatory private orders. Commercial norms, commercial arbitration and social sanctions at the international level have become important alternatives to national laws, national courts and legal sanctions at the national level. Consisting of transnational commercial norms, both codified and uncodified, and legal norms, both national and international, a plural regime for the governance of transnational commercial transactions has emerged and developed in the past few decades. This article explores the interaction between various kinds of norms in this regime, identifies the effects of this interaction on the governance of transnational commercial transactions and shows the challenges to this interaction at the current stage. The central argument of this article is that the interaction between social and legal norms, namely incorporation and internalisation, and the three effects derived from incorporation and internalisation, namely systematisation, harmonisation and compliance enhancement, are evident at both the national and international levels. In particular, the emergence of codified transnational commercial norms that are positioned in the middle of the continuum between national legal norms and uncodified transnational commercial norms has brought changes to the interaction within the international dimension. Although the development of codified transnational commercial norms faces several challenges at the moment, it can be expected that these norms will play an increasingly important role in the future governance of transnational commercial transactions.


Bo Yuan
Bo Yuan is a Ph.D. candidate at the Erasmus University Rotterdam, Department of Law and Economics.
Article

Structure of Legislation: A Paradigm for Accessibility and Effectiveness

Journal European Journal of Law Reform, Issue 3 2015
Keywords effectiveness of legislation, structure of legislation, accessibility of legislation, quality drafting, clarity
Authors Elohor Onoge
AbstractAuthor's information

    The aim of this article is to examine how the structure of legislation can nurture accessibility and effectiveness of legislation.
    It explores whether the legislative drafter in carrying out the task of drafting can nurture effective communication of the policy maker’s intent to the targeted audience by making use of the structure of legislation as a tool, to ensure the legislation is accessible to the end user, and foster effectiveness.
    The third and fourth stage of Thornton’s stages of the drafting process – design and composition – would be examined and also Peter Butt’s types of structure, which relates to the drafting of legal documents but would be applied in this paper, to the drafting of legislation.


Elohor Onoge
Elohor Onoge LLM is a Nigerian legislative drafter working for the Federal Parliament. Email: stephyrook@gmail.com.
Article

Delegated Legislation in Nigeria: The Challenges of Control

Journal European Journal of Law Reform, Issue 3 2015
Keywords delegated legislation, parliament, control, quality, parliamentary scrutiny
Authors Jemina Benson LL.M
AbstractAuthor's information

    In considering how society generally is regulated, most times focus is always on Acts of parliament that are passed by the legislative arm of government. However, delegated legislation is another aspect of law making that is of immense importance for the regulation of any given society. This form of lawmaking being a deviation from the norm has some challenges in terms of control. This article seeks to examine some of these challenges emphasising that adequate parliamentary scrutiny will prevent the harbouring of bad-quality legislation.


Jemina Benson LL.M
Jemina Benson LL.M (University of London) is a legislative drafter for Rivers State House of Assembly in Nigeria. Email: jeminabenson@yahoo.com.

    Statutory interpretation is quickly becoming the primary function of our courts. Ambiguity, unexpected scenarios, and drafting errors in legislation compound this challenging task, obliging many judges to turn to debate transcripts and other legislative materials in search of our elected representatives’ intent.
    Legislatures are intrinsically the products of the societies that create them, however, with each possessing a diverging structure and rules of procedure. These institutional differences affect bills’ drafting, consideration, and passage, and represent the mechanical process of how legislative bargains are translated into binding statutory text.
    Through the lenses of the United Kingdom Parliament and the United States Congress, the fundamental logic behind these institutions’ legislative bargains will be explored, assessing the impact of procedure and the interests that shape the enacting process. Parliamentary tradition emphasizes the foundational role of Her Majesty’s Government in managing virtually all legislation, maintaining a unity of purpose without compromise, amendment, or purposefully ambiguous provisions. Conversely, unique procedures and the multiplicity of veto players within Congress necessitates that compromise is a de facto requirement for passage. The diverging logic behind these legislative bargains offers powerful evidence that institutional characteristics have a dispositive impact on the utility of legislative materials in statutory interpretation.


Chris Land
Juris Doctor Student, 2016, University of Minnesota Law School. LL.M., with distinction, Institute of Advanced Legal Studies, University of London; B.S., summa cum laude, Florida State University.
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