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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.
Developments in International Law

The Decision on the Situation in Palestine Issued by Pre-Trial Chamber I of the International Criminal Court

Reflecting on the Legal Merits

Journal Hungarian Yearbook of International Law and European Law, Issue 1 2021
Keywords International Criminal Court, ICC, Palestine, Oslo Accords, jurisdiction
Authors Rachel Sweers
AbstractAuthor's information

    On 5 February 2021, the Pre-Trial Chamber I of the International Criminal Court (ICC) issued its decision on the Situation in Palestine affirming that its territorial jurisdiction extends to the territories occupied by Israel since 1967, namely Gaza and the West Bank, including East Jerusalem. The Situation was brought before the Chamber by request of the ICC’s Prosecutor. Legal issues were addressed in the Majority Decision, as well as in the Partly Dissenting Opinion and Partly Separate Opinion. The procedural history involving the Prosecution Request that seized the Chamber on the Situation in Palestine will be discussed, including a brief analysis of the legal basis for this request. Furthermore, the legal merits of the Situation in Palestine will be compartmentalized into three main pillars in order to analyze step by step how the Chamber reached its conclusion.


Rachel Sweers
Rachel Sweers: legal intern, International Criminal Court, the Hague.
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.
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.
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.
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.

    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

Morality in the Populist Radical Right

A Computer-Assisted Morality Frame Analysis of a Prototype

Journal Politics of the Low Countries, Issue Online First 2021
Keywords Populist radical right, morality, frame analysis, word2vec, crimmigration
Authors Job P.H. Vossen
AbstractAuthor's information

    This article provides a computer-assisted morality framing analysis of Vlaams Belang’s 2019 manifesto. The VB is regarded in the literature as a prototypical example of the Populist Radical Right (PRR). We first concisely review what PRR politics is and what it consists of, tentatively distinguishing four elements that we hypothesise will materialise in corresponding subframes running throughout the manifesto. We point to a mismatch between the omnipresent role of morality in all PRR subframes and the little attention devoted to the concept in the PRR literature. We introduce a useful theory from social psychology into framing literature to create a novel methodological approach to frame analysis that builds a bridge between a qualitative content and a quantitative context approach. The results support our hypothesis that populism, nationalism, nativism and authoritarianism can be distinguished from one another. Additionally, we detect a fifth PRR subframe, crimmigration, by its unique role of morality.


Job P.H. Vossen
Job Vossen is a PhD candidate at the University of Antwerp. His research investigates (im)morality in political discoursing and its interacting with fear, solidarity and gender and sexuality. The corresponding author states that there is no conflict of interest.
Article

Access_open Text-mining for Lawyers: How Machine Learning Techniques Can Advance our Understanding of Legal Discourse

Journal Erasmus Law Review, Issue 1 2021
Keywords text mining, machine learning, law, natural language processing
Authors Arthur Dyevre
AbstractAuthor's information

    Many questions facing legal scholars and practitioners can be answered only by analysing and interrogating large collections of legal documents: statutes, treaties, judicial decisions and law review articles. I survey a range of novel techniques in machine learning and natural language processing – including topic modelling, word embeddings and transfer learning – that can be applied to the large-scale investigation of legal texts


Arthur Dyevre
Arthur Dyevre is Professor at the KU Leuven Centre for Empirical Jurisprudence, Leuven, Belgium. arthur.dyevre@kuleuven.be.
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 Big Data Ethics: A Life Cycle Perspective

Journal Erasmus Law Review, Issue 1 2021
Keywords big data, big data analysis, data life cycle, ethics, AI
Authors Simon Vydra, Andrei Poama, Sarah Giest e.a.
AbstractAuthor's information

    The adoption of big data analysis in the legal domain is a recent but growing trend that highlights ethical concerns not just with big data analysis, as such, but also with its deployment in the legal domain. This article systematically analyses five big data use cases from the legal domain utilising a pluralistic and pragmatic mode of ethical reasoning. In each case we analyse what happens with data from its creation to its eventual archival or deletion, for which we utilise the concept of ‘data life cycle’. Despite the exploratory nature of this article and some limitations of our approach, the systematic summary we deliver depicts the five cases in detail, reinforces the idea that ethically significant issues exist across the entire big data life cycle, and facilitates understanding of how various ethical considerations interact with one another throughout the big data life cycle. Furthermore, owing to its pragmatic and pluralist nature, the approach is potentially useful for practitioners aiming to interrogate big data use cases.


Simon Vydra
Simon Vydra is a Researcher at the Institute for Public Administration, Leiden University, the Netherlands.

Andrei Poama
Andrei Poama is Assistant Professor at the Institute for Public Administration, Leiden University, the Netherlands.

Sarah Giest
Sarah Giest is Assistant Professor at the Institute for Public Administration, Leiden University, the Netherlands.

Alex Ingrams
Alex Ingrams is Assistant Professor at the Institute for Public Administration, Leiden University, the Netherlands.

Bram Klievink
Bram Klievink is Professor of Digitization and Public Policy at the Institute for Public Administration, Leiden University, the Netherlands.
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.

Tara Kumabe
Tara Kumabe is an elementary teacher with the York Region District School Board and an instructor at Trent University, Canada.

Christina Parker
Christina Parker is Associate Professor in Social Development Studies at Renison University College, University of Waterloo, Canada. Contact author: tarakumabe@trentu.ca.

Ian D. Marder
Ian D. Marder is a Lecturer in Criminology in the Department of Law at Maynooth University, Ireland.

Meredith Rossner
Meredith Rossner is a Professor of Criminology at the Centre for Social Research and Methods at Australia National University, Australia. Contact author: Ian.Marder@mu.ie.

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

Risk, restorative justice and the Crown

a study of the prosecutor and institutionalisation in Canada

Journal The International Journal of Restorative Justice, Issue 2 2021
Keywords restorative justice, institutionalisation, risk, prosecutor, Canada
Authors Brendyn Johnson
AbstractAuthor's information

    In Canada, restorative justice programmes have long been institutionalised in the criminal justice system. In Ontario, specifically, their use in criminal prosecutions is subject to the approval of Crown attorneys (prosecutors) who are motivated in part by risk logics and risk management. Such reliance on state support has been criticised for the ways in which it might subvert the goals of restorative justice. However, neither the functioning of these programmes nor those who refer cases to them have been subject to much empirical study in Canada. Thus, this study asks whether Crown attorneys’ concerns for risk and its management impact their decision to refer cases to restorative justice programmes and with what consequences. Through in-depth interviews with prosecutors in Ontario, I demonstrate how they predicate the use of restorative justice on its ability to reduce the risk of recidivism to the detriment of victims’ needs. The findings suggest that restorative justice becomes a tool for risk management when prosecutors are responsible for case referrals. They also suggest that Crown attorneys bear some responsibility for the dangers of institutionalisation. This work thus contributes to a greater understanding of the functioning of institutionalised restorative justice in Canada.


Brendyn Johnson
Brendyn Johnson is a PhD candidate at the School of Criminology at the University of Montreal, Canada. Contact author: brendyn.johnson@umontreal.ca. Acknowledgement: This research is supported in part by funding from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada. I am grateful for the support of Véronique Strimelle and Françoise Vanhamme for their guidance in the conducting of this research as well as Marianne Quirouette for her thoughtful comments in the writing of this article.
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.
PhD Review

Allied Against Austerity Transnational Cooperation in European Anti-Austerity Movement

PhD by Bernd Bonfert (Radboud University Nijmegen), supervisors: Angela Wigger & Laura Horn

Journal Politics of the Low Countries, Issue 2 2021
Authors Mònica Clua-Losada
Author's information

Mònica Clua-Losada
Dr. Mònica Clua-Losada is Full Professor at the Department of Political Science of The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley. She is editor-in-chief of the journal Global Political Economy.
Editorial

Access_open Computational Methods for Legal Analysis

The Way Forward?

Journal Erasmus Law Review, Issue 1 2021
Keywords computational legal analysis, empirical legal studies, natural language processing, machine learning
Authors Elena Kantorowicz-Reznichenko
AbstractAuthor's information

    Computational analysis can be seen as the most recent innovation in the field of Empirical Legal Studies (ELS). It concerns the use of computer science and big data tools to collect, analyse and understand the large and unstructured data, such as for instance (legal) text. Given that the text is now the object of analysis, but the methods are (largely) quantitative, it lies in the intersection between doctrinal analysis and ELS. It brings with it not only a great potential to scale up research and answer old research questions, but also to reveal uncovered patterns and address new questions. Despite a slowly growing number of legal scholars who are already applying such methods, it is underutilised in the field of law. Furthermore, given that this method comes from social and computer sciences, many legal scholars are not even aware of its existence and potential. Therefore, the purpose of this special issue is not only to introduce these methods to lawyers and discuss possibilities of their application, but also to pay special attention to the challenges, with a specific emphasis on the ethical issues arising from using ‘big data’ and the challenge of building capacity to use such methods in law schools. This editorial briefly explains some of the methods which belong to the new movement of Computational Legal Analysis and provides examples of their application. It then introduces those articles included in this special issue. Finally, it provides a personal note on the way forward for lawyers within the movement of Computational Legal Analysis


Elena Kantorowicz-Reznichenko
Elena Kantorowicz-Reznichenko is Professor of Quantitative Empirical Legal Studies at the Rotterdam Institute of Law and Economics, Erasmus School of Law, Erasmus University, Rotterdam.
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