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Stephan Parmentier
Stephan Parmentier is a Professor of Sociology of Law, Crime and Human Rights at the Faculty of Law, KU Leuven, Belgium. Contact author: stephan.parmentier@kuleuven.be.

Claudia Mazzucato
Claudia Mazzucato is Associate Professor of Criminal Law at Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore, Milan, Italy. Contact author: claudia.mazzucato@unicatt.it.
Article

Performing the COVID-19 Crisis in Flemish Populist Radical-Right Discourse

A Case Study of Vlaams Belang’s Coronablunderboek

Journal Politics of the Low Countries, Issue 2 2021
Keywords populism, COVID-19, crisis, discourse
Authors Jens Meijen
AbstractAuthor's information

    In June 2020, the Flemish populist radical right party Vlaams Belang (VB) published the Corona Blunder Book (CBB; Coronablunderboek in Dutch), detailing the government’s mistakes in handling the COVID-19 crisis. Populist parties can ‘perform’ crisis by emphasising the mistakes made by opponents (Moffitt, 2015) and may use a specifically populist discursive style, consisting largely of aggressive and sarcastic language (Brubaker, 2017). This paper takes the CBB as a case study in the populist performance of crisis and the populist style, finding that the book is, first, a clear example of populist ‘everyman’ stylistics and the performance of crisis, and, second, that VB uses the book to shift the COVID-19 crisis from a public health crisis to a crisis of governance, seeking to blame Belgium’s federal structure for the government’s alleged mismanagement of the COVID-19 pandemic and hence arguing for Flemish independence, one of the party’s main agenda points.


Jens Meijen
Jens Meijen is a PhD candidate at Leuven International and European Studies (LINES) at KU Leuven. His research focuses on nationalism, populism, and diplomacy.
Article

Access_open The Resilience of Democracy in the Midst of the COVID-19 Pandemic

Democratic Compensators in Belgium, the Netherlands and France

Journal Politics of the Low Countries, Issue 2 2021
Keywords COVID-19, crisis-management, democratic compensators, exceptionalism
Authors Tom Massart, Thijs Vos, Clara Egger e.a.
AbstractAuthor's information

    Since January 2020, European countries have implemented a wide range of restrictions to contain the COVID-19 pandemic. Yet governments have also implemented democratic compensators in order to offset the negative impacts of restrictions. This article aims to account for the variation of their use between Belgium, the Netherlands and France. We analyse three drivers: the strength of counterpowers, the ruling parties’ ideological leanings and political support. Building on an original data set, our results distinguish between embedded and ad hoc compensators. We find that ad hoc compensators are championed mainly by counterpowers, but also by ideology of the ruling coalitions in Belgium and the Netherlands and used strategically to maintain political support in France. Evidence on the link between embedded compensators and counterpowers is more ambiguous.


Tom Massart
Tom Massart is a PhD candidate at ULB / CEVIPOL. His research mainly focuses on European economic governance.

Thijs Vos
Thijs Vos is a political scientist and research assistant at Groningen University.

Clara Egger
Clara Egger is assistant professor in international relations at Groningen University. She is currently leading the Exceptius project on Covid19 containment policies in Europe.

Claire Dupuy
Claire Dupuy is professor of comparative politics at UCLouvain. She specializes in comparative public policy with a focus on multilevel governance, federalism and regionalization processes.

Constance Morel-Jean
Constance Morel-Jean is a master’s student at Grenoble-Alpes University. She specialises in the study of political behaviour.

Raul Magni-Berton
Raul Magni-Berton is professor of political science at Grenoble-Alpes University, PACTE research unit. His research mainly focuses on democracy, its institutions and norms.

Sébastian Roché
Sebastian Roché is CNRS Research Professor at Grenoble-Alpes University, PACTE research unit. He specializes in policing and legitimacy studies.

    In its decision rendered on 28 February 2019, the Luxembourg Court of Appeal (Cour d’appel de Luxembourg) examined under which circumstances on-call duty performed at the workplace qualifies as actual working time.
    The issue raised was whether the time spent at night by an employee (i.e. the presence of an employee at the workplace) performing the work of a live-in carer was to be considered as ‘actual working time’.
    The Court expressly referred to EU case law and decided that the concept of actual working time is defined by two criteria, namely (i) whether the employee during such a period must be at the employer’s disposal, and (ii) the interference with the employee’s freedom to choose their activities.
    In view of the working hours provided for in the employment contract and in the absence of evidence proving that the employee would not have been at the employer’s home during her working hours, the Court found that the employee stayed at the employer’s home at night and at the employer’s request. It was irrelevant in this respect whether it was for convenience or not. It was further established that the employee could not leave during the night and return to her home and go about her personal business, so that the hours she worked at night were to be considered as actual working time.
    Given that the employee’s objections regarding her salary were justified (as the conditions of her remuneration violated statutory provisions), the Court decided that the dismissal was unfair.


Michel Molitor
Michel Molitor is the managing partner of MOLITOR Avocats à la Cour SARL in Luxembourg, www.molitorlegal.lu.

    The Supreme Court (SC) has unanimously decided that drivers engaged by Uber are workers rather than independent contractors. It also decided that drivers are working when they are signed in to the Uber app and ready to work.


Colin Leckey
Colin Leckey is a partner at Lewis Silkin LLP.

    On 22 May 2020, fifty-two members of the Hungarian parliament petitioned the Constitutional Court which was requested to establish the unconstitutionality of Section 6(4) of Government Decree no. 47/2020 (III. 18), its conflict with an international treaty and to annul it with retroactive effect to the date of its entry into force. According to Section 6(4) of the Decree “in a separate agreement, the employee and the employer may depart from the provisions of the Labour Code” (i.e. ‘absolute dispositivity’). The petition, among other things, alleged the violation of equal treatment and the right to rest and leisure. The Constitutional Court rejected the motion to establish the unconstitutionality of Section 6(4) and its annulment, since it was repealed on 18 June 2020. The Constitutional Court may, as a general rule, examine the unconstitutionality of the legislation in force, however it was no longer possible to examine the challenged piece of legislation in the framework of a posterior abstract norm control.


Kristof Toth
Kristof Toth is PhD student at the Karoli Gaspar University in Hungary.

    The German Federal Labour Court (Bundesarbeitsgericht, ‘BAG’) has ruled that the user of an online platform (‘crowdworker’) who takes on so-called ‘microjobs’ on the basis of a framework agreement concluded with the platform operator (‘crowdsourcer’) can be an employee of the crowdsourcer. This applies in a case where the framework agreement is aimed at a repeated acceptance of such microjobs. The decisive factor is whether the crowdworker performs work that is subject to instructions and is determined by third parties in the context of the actual performance of the contractual relationship. The name of the contract is irrelevant. One assumes an employment relationship if the crowdsourcer controls the collaboration via an online platform operated by them in such a way that the crowdworker cannot freely shape their activity in terms of place, time and content.


Katharina Gorontzi
Katharina Gorontzi, LLM, is a senior associate at Luther lawfirm in Dusseldorf, Germany.

Jana Voigt
Jana Voigt is a senior associate at Luther lawfirm in Dusseldorf, Germany.

    On 12 October 2020, the Labour Court of Appeal of Ghent ruled that there was no indirect discrimination in the case of Mrs. Achbita, because a policy of neutrality does not disadvantage Muslim women who want to wear a headscarf more than any other worker. The Labour Court of Appeal was also of the opinion that the employer should not examine alternative job positions.


Gautier Busschaert
Gautier Busschaert is an attorney-at-law at Van Olmen & Wynant.
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

Democratic Scrutiny of COVID-19 Laws

Are Parliamentary Committees Up to the Job?

Journal European Journal of Law Reform, Issue 2 2021
Keywords parliament, scrutiny, committees, COVID-19, rights, legislation, Australia, New Zealand, United Kingdom
Authors Sarah Moulds
AbstractAuthor's information

    In response to the complex and potentially devastating threat posed by COVID-19, parliaments around the world have transferred unprecedented powers to executive governments and their agencies (Edgar, ‘Law-making in a Crisis’, 2020), often with the full support of the communities they represent. These laws were passed within days, sometimes hours, with limited safeguards and a heavy reliance on sunsetting provisions, some of which are dependent on the pandemic being officially called to an end. While parliaments themselves have suspended or reduced sitting days (Twomey, ‘A Virtual Australian Parliament is Possible’, 2020), parliamentary committees have emerged as the forum of choice when it comes to providing some form of parliamentary oversight of executive action.
    This article aims to evaluate the capacity of parliamentary committees established within the Australian, New Zealand (NZ) and United Kingdom (UK) parliaments to effectively scrutinize and review governments’ responses to COVID-19. It does this by comparing the legal framework underpinning the relevant committees in each jurisdiction and examining the work of these committees with a view to offering some preliminary views as to their impact on the shape of the laws made in response to COVID-19 in those jurisdictions. The article concludes by offering some preliminary observations about the scrutiny capacity of the parliamentary committee systems in Australia, NZ and the UK in the context of emergency lawmaking and flags areas for further research, evaluation and reform.


Sarah Moulds
Dr. Sarah Moulds, University of South Australia.
Article

Finding an Ideal Contract Law Regime for the International Sale of Goods

A Comparative Study on the Remedy of Termination for Breach of Contract under the United Nations Convention on Contracts for International Sale of Goods (CISG), the UNIDROIT Principles of International Commercial Contracts (PICC) and The Gambia Sale of Goods Act

Journal European Journal of Law Reform, Issue 2 2021
Keywords contracts, termination of contracts, CISG, International Sale of Goods, Unidroit Principles, the Gambia, comparative law
Authors Buba Ceesay
AbstractAuthor's information

    Parties enter into contracts for obtaining specific contractual benefits, and, as a result, they engage in risk allocation hoping that each will keep to its promise. These expectations are sometimes shattered by a breach by one of the parties. The contract at times provides remedies for breach of contract. However, in most cases, the parties’ contract leaves the regulation of the breach to the governing law of the contract. The efficiency of a remedial rule can be judged from the balance that it has put in place in ensuring the risks involved in international transactions are not skewed against the breaching party just because it is in breach. This article thus makes a comparative study between the United Nations Convention on Contracts for International Sale of Goods (CISG), UNIDROIT (International Institute for the Unification of Private Law) Principles of International Commercial Contracts (the PICC) and Sales Act (Act No. 4 of 1955) of The Gambia (GSGA) on the right of a creditor to terminate a contract to elucidate the similarities and the differences among the three regimes and to determine which of the regimes provides a suitable contract law model for the international sales of goods. The article reviews and analyses the legal instruments, case law and academic writings under the regimes and concludes that the CISG provides the most suitable contract law model for the international sale of goods.


Buba Ceesay
Buba Ceesay is an LLM candidate at the Université de Fribourg. Special appreciation to Professor Christiana Fountoulakis, Dr iur, Professor of Private Law and European Private Law, University of Fribourg, Switzerland, for guiding this research paper and helping in having the final version ready for publication.
Article

Consensual Accommodation of Sharia Law and Courts in Greece

Journal European Journal of Law Reform, Issue 2 2021
Keywords choice architecture, law reform, Molla Sali v. Greece, Mufti, multicultural accommodation, Muslim minority, nomoi group, Sharia law
Authors Nikos Koumoutzis
AbstractAuthor's information

    Having been exempted from a massive population exchange that took place between Greece and Turkey under the Treaty of Lausanne (1923), the Muslim minority of Western Thrace enjoys ever since a special status providing for the application of the Sharia law in family and succession matters, as well as the jurisdiction of the Mufti for the resolution of relevant disputes. A reform introduced by Law 4511/2018 marks a watershed moment in this long history. From now on, the Sharia law and the Mufti cease to be mandatory; their intervention requires the consent of the members of the minority, who also have the alternative to subject to the civil law and courts. This article tries to explore key features of the new model providing for an accommodation of the Muslim personal legal system based on choice. It focuses on the technique employed to structure the right of choice, on the proper ways for the exercise of choice, on the possibilities offered (or not) to make a partial choice only and revoke a previously made choice. In the end, a further question is raised, concerning how effective the right of choice may prove in the hands of women insiders, given that these are the most likely to experience pressure to demonstrate loyalty and not ignore the traditions and values – including the nomos – of their collective.


Nikos Koumoutzis
Nikos Koumoutzis is Associate Professor Law School at the University of Nicosia, ORCID ID: https://orcid.org/0000-0003-4362-2320
Article

Access_open Approach with Caution

Sunset Clauses as Safeguards of Democracy?

Journal European Journal of Law Reform, Issue 2 2021
Keywords emergency legislation, sunset clauses, post-legislative review, COVID-19
Authors Sean Molloy
AbstractAuthor's information

    In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, leaders across the globe scrambled to adopt emergency legislation. Amongst other things, these measures gave significant powers to governments in order to curb the spreading of a virus, which has shown itself to be both indiscriminate and deadly. Nevertheless, exceptional measures, however necessary in the short term, can have adverse consequences both on the enjoyment of human rights specifically and democracy more generally. Not only are liberties severely restricted and normal processes of democratic deliberation and accountability constrained but the duration of exceptional powers is also often unclear. One potentially ameliorating measure is the use of sunset clauses: dispositions that determine the expiry of a law or regulation within a predetermined period unless a review determines that there are reasons for extension. The article argues that without effective review processes, far from safeguarding rights and limiting state power, sunset clauses can be utilized to facilitate the transferring of emergency powers whilst failing to guarantee the very problems of normalized emergency they are included to prevent. Thus, sunset clauses and the review processes that attach to them should be approached with caution.


Sean Molloy
Dr Sean Molloy is a Lecturer in Law at Northumbria University.
Article

Access_open Hardship and Force Majeure as Grounds for Adaptation and Renegotiation of Investment Contracts

What Is the Extent of the Powers of Arbitral Tribunals?

Journal Erasmus Law Review, Issue 2 2021
Keywords contract adaptation, hardship, force majeure, investment contracts, arbitration
Authors Agata Zwolankiewicz
AbstractAuthor's information

    The change of circumstances impacting the performance of the contracts has been a widely commented issue. However, there seems to be a gap in legal jurisprudence with regard to resorting to such a remedy in the investment contracts setting, especially from the procedural perspective. It has not been finally settled whether arbitral tribunals are empowered to adapt investment contracts should circumstances change and, if they were, what the grounds for such a remedy would be. In this article, the author presents the current debates regarding this issue, potential grounds for application of such a measure and several proposals which would facilitate resolution of this procedural uncertainty.


Agata Zwolankiewicz
Agata Zwolankiewicz is an advocate trainee, graduated from the University of Silesia in Katowice (M.A. in law), and the University of Ottawa (LL.M. with concentration in international trade and foreign investment).
Article

Access_open Invisible before the law

The legal position of persons with intellectual disabilities under the Dutch Care and Compulsion Act (Wzd) in light of Article 12 of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD)

Journal Family & Law, June 2021
Keywords dicrimination, guardianship, incapacitated adults, legal (in)capacity
Authors F. Schuthof LLM
AbstractAuthor's information

    In the Netherlands, the use of involuntary treatment in the mental health care sector is governed by the Dutch Care and Compulsion Act (Wzd). This study examines the legal position of persons with intellectual disabilities under this Act. The Wzd is analyzed in light of the human rights standards of Article 12 of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD). The findings of this study show that the Wzd does not meet the standards of Article 12 in several cases. The Wzd does not recognize the legal capacity of persons with intellectual disabilities, it continues to allow for substituted decision-making and support measures are not complemented by adequate safeguards. From a theoretical point of view, an imbalance between the protection of and the respect for the autonomy of persons with intellectual disabilities can be observed. This article formulates several recommendations in order to restore this balance.
    ---
    De Nederlandse Wet zorg en dwang (Wzd) ziet toe op de rechten van mensen met een verstandelijke beperking bij onvrijwillige zorg of onvrijwillige opname. Dit artikel onderzoekt de juridische positie van mensen met een verstandelijke beperking ten aanzien van deze wet. De Wzd wordt geanalyseerd in relatie tot artikel 12 van het Verdrag inzake de Rechten van Personen met een Handicap (VRPH). De bevindingen van dit onderzoek laten zien dat de Wzd in verschillende gevallen niet voldoet aan de normen van artikel 12 VRPH. Zo wordt onder andere de handelingsbekwaamheid, ofwel ‘legal capacity’, van mensen met een verstandelijke beperking niet erkend en blijft plaatsvervangende besluitvorming mogelijk. Vanuit theoretisch oogpunt is er sprake van een disbalans tussen de bescherming van en het respect voor de autonomie van mensen met een verstandelijke beperking. Dit artikel doet daarom meerdere aanbevelingen om dit evenwicht te herstellen.


F. Schuthof LLM
Fiore Schuthof conducts research into better empowerment and protection of the elderly as a PhD student at Utrecht University (UU).
Article

Access_open What does it mean to be ‘illiberal’?

Journal Netherlands Journal of Legal Philosophy, Issue 1 2021
Keywords Liberalism, Illiberalism, Illiberal practices, Extremism, Discrimination
Authors Bouke de Vries
AbstractAuthor's information

    ‘Illiberal’ is an adjective that is commonly used by scholars. For example, they might speak of ‘illiberal cultures’, ‘illiberal groups’, ‘illiberal states’, ‘illiberal democracies’, ‘illiberal beliefs’, and ‘illiberal practices’. Yet despite its widespread usage, no in-depth discussions exist of exactly what it means for someone or something to be illiberal, or might mean. This article fills this lacuna by providing a conceptual analysis of the term ‘illiberal practices’, which I argue is basic in that other bearers of the property of being illiberal can be understood by reference to it. Specifically, I identify five ways in which a practice can be illiberal based on the different ways in which this term is employed within both scholarly and political discourses. The main value of this disaggregation lies in the fact that it helps to prevent confusions that arise when people use the adjective ‘illiberal’ in different ways, as is not uncommon.


Bouke de Vries
Bouke de Vries is a postdoctoral research fellow at Umeå University and the KU Leuven.
Article

Access_open Evaluative Mediation (Part I), an Analysis

Evaluative Mediation, Working Method or Not?

Journal Corporate Mediation Journal, Issue 1 2021
Keywords core values, evaluative mediation, method
Authors Martin Brink
AbstractAuthor's information

    The phenomenon of evaluative mediation has invited much debate among both scholars and mediators. At the heart of that debate is the question of a definition of mediation. Considering all prevailing schools of mediation, the conclusion was that doctrine will not be able to prevent that mediation will continue to occur in all kinds of shapes and forms.


Martin Brink
Martin Brink (Van Benthem & Keulen BV, advocaten en notariaat at Utrecht, the Netherlands), is Editor-in-Chief of this journal.
Research Note

Caretaker Cabinets in Belgium

A New Measurement and Typology

Journal Politics of the Low Countries, Issue 1 2021
Keywords caretaker government, Belgium, cabinets, political crisis
Authors Régis Dandoy and Lorenzo Terrière
AbstractAuthor's information

    Belgium is probably the world’s best known case of where caretaker governments reside. Yet a clear scholarly definition and measurement of this concept is missing. Based on a detailed analysis of the Belgian federal cabinets, this research note explores the main characteristics and measures the length of the various caretaker periods. We find that Belgium was governed for no less than 1,485 days by a caretaker government between 2007 and 2020, which equals more than four full calendar years. This research note also presents a novel typology of caretaker periods based on the institutional and political practice within the Belgian legislative and executive branches. This typology can be used to assess caretaker periods at other levels of government as well as in other countries in order to improve our understanding of the many ‘faces’ that a caretaker government can take on.


Régis Dandoy
Régis Dandoy is professor in political science at the Universidad San Francisco de Quito in Ecuador and visiting research fellow and guest lecturer at the University of Brussels, Belgium. His main research interests include comparative politics, federalism, voting behaviour, election results, electronic and internet voting and election observation.

Lorenzo Terrière
Lorenzo Terrière is a PhD candidate and teaching assistant at Ghent University. His doctoral research is focused on how (regionalist) parties deal with the strategic issue of government participation.
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