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Case Law

2022/1 EELC’s review of the year 2021

Journal European Employment Law Cases, Issue 1 2022
Authors Niklas Bruun, Filip Dorssemont, Zef Even e.a.
Abstract

    Various of our academic board analysed employment law cases from last year.


Niklas Bruun

Filip Dorssemont

Zef Even

Ruben Houweling

Marianne Hrdlicka

Anthony Kerr

Attila Kun

Jean-Philippe Lhernould

Daiva Petrylaitė

Luca Ratti

Jan-Pieter Vos
Case Reports

Access_open 2022/2 Unions have no veto over employer negotiations with staff (UK)

Journal European Employment Law Cases, Issue 1 2022
Keywords Collective Agreements
Authors David Hopper and Kerry Salisbury
AbstractAuthor's information

    The Supreme Court has confirmed that recognised trade unions do not have a veto over employers making direct offers to their members to change terms and conditions of employment. Employers must, however, follow and exhaust the collective bargaining processes with their recognised unions before they may make direct offers with a view to resolving an impasse that has arisen.


David Hopper
David Hopper is a partner at Lewis Silkin LLP.

Kerry Salisbury
Kerry Salisbury is an associate at Lewis Silkin LLP.

    The Federal Labour Court of Germany has continued to specify the requirements for the legality of age limits in employer-funded pension plans under German law. In this case, according to the Court, the employer could impose a maximum age of 55 as a requirement of entry to the company pension plan.


Othmar K. Traber
Othmar Traber is a partner at Ahlers & Vogel, Bremen.
Case Reports

2022/7 Dismissal for violation of Covid-19 quarantine order (AT)

Journal European Employment Law Cases, Issue 1 2022
Keywords Unfair dismissal
Authors Andreas Tinhofer and Isabella Göschl
AbstractAuthor's information

    The Supreme Court has decided that the summary dismissal of an employee for violating a Covid-19 quarantine order by appearing at work is effective and justified.


Andreas Tinhofer
Andreas Tinhofer is a partner at ZFZ Zeiler Rechtsanwälte GmbH.

Isabella Göschl
Isabella Göschl is a junior associate at ZFZ Zeiler Rechtsanwälte GmbH.
Case Reports

2022/8 Port Labour Act not in conflict with the Belgian Constitution (BE)

Journal European Employment Law Cases, Issue 1 2022
Keywords Free Movement, Work and Residence Permit
Authors Heleen Franco and Julien Hick
AbstractAuthor's information

    In its judgment of 25 November 2021, the Belgian Constitutional Court has upheld the obligation to call on recognised dock workers for the activity consisting of preparing trailers on a dock for shipment with a vehicle specifically intended for that purpose (known as a ‘tugmaster tractor’). The obligation to rely solely on recognised dock workers for the performance of port work is justified, among other things, by the need to improve safety in port areas and to prevent accidents at work. The identical treatment of, on the one hand, the loading and unloading of ships in the strict sense and, on the other hand, the activity of preparing trailers on a dock for shipment with a tugmaster tractor, does not breach the principle of equality and non-discrimination. Therefore, equal treatment of both types of port labour, with regard to the obligation to call on recognised dock workers, is reasonably justified.


Heleen Franco
Heleen Franco is a senior associate at AKD, Brussels.

Julien Hick
Julien Hick is a partner at AKD, Brussels.
Article

Meetings between victims and offenders suffering from a mental disorder in forensic mental health facilities: a qualitative exploration of their subjective experiences

Journal The International Journal of Restorative Justice, Issue Online First 2022
Keywords Victim-offender meetings, restorative justice, forensic mental health, victimology, perception
Authors Mariëtte van Denderen and Michiel van der Wolf
AbstractAuthor's information

    Most studies about victim-offender meetings have been performed within prison populations, with little reference to offenders diagnosed with mental disorders. In establishing the effects of such meetings, these studies often use quantitative measures. Little is known about meetings between victims and offenders with mental disorders and about the more qualitative subjective experiences of the participants regarding these meetings. In this interview study, we inquired into the subjective experiences of sixteen participants in victim-offender meetings, six of whom are victims and ten offenders of severe crimes, currently residing in forensic mental health facilities. Topics of the interviews included benefits of the meeting and perceptions of each other prior to and after the meeting. Important benefits that participants experienced from meeting each other were reconnecting with family, processing the offence and contributing to each other’s well-being. Such benefits are comparable to those mentioned in studies on meetings with offenders without a mental disorder, challenging the practice that mentally disordered offenders are often excluded from such meetings. Most victims experienced a positive change in perception of the offender owing to the meeting. They perceived the offender as a human being and associated him less exclusively with his offence. Implications for clinical practice are addressed.


Mariëtte van Denderen
M.Y. van Denderen is criminologist and senior researcher at the Forensic Psychiatric Centre Dr. S. van Mesdag, Groningen, the Netherlands.

Michiel van der Wolf
M.J.F. van der Wolf is Professor of Forensic Psychiatry at Leiden University and Associate Professor of Criminal Law at the University of Groningen, the Netherlands. Corresponding author: M.Y. van Denderen at m.van.denderen@fpcvanmesdag.nl. Funding: This work was supported by an international, non-governmental, organization that prefers to stay anonymous (more information is available at request). Acknowledgements: We want to thank the victims, bereaved individuals and offenders who shared their experiences about the meeting. We would also like to thank the social workers of the FPC Dr. S. van Mesdag and FPC the Oostvaardersclinic, among which H. van Splunter, and Perspectief Herstelbemiddeling for their cooperation. We thank F. Fierstra, L. Gunnink, E. de Jong and F. Drijfhout for transcribing the interviews. Disclosure statement: No potential conflict of interest was reported by the authors.

David Tait
David Tait is Professor of Justice Research, Western Sydney University, Australia.

Munzer Emad
Munzer Emad is a doctoral candidate in Law, Western Sydney University, Australia. Corresponding author: David Tait at d.tait@westernsydney.edu.au.

    The emergence of a new virtual world during the COVID-19 pandemic has jeopardized essential elements of the negotiation process. Although online dispute resolution (ODR) may come with some advantages, it also poses significant difficulties, threatening the ability of negotiators to zealously represent their clients’ interests. The shift to a virtual world has hindered parties’ ability to prepare properly, to develop rapport and trust with one another and effectively manage their time, especially for those previously unfamiliar with ODR. This essay proposes solutions to help negotiators overcome the challenges posed by negotiating virtually, during and after COVID-19. Our world has been irrevocably changed, and many of the things that once seemed foreign are here to stay.


Alexandra Carlton
Alexandra Carlton, J.D., 2021, The George Washington University Law School; B.A., 2016, University of Vermont. Many thanks to Professor Robin Juni for her encouragement and guidance, as well as her enthusiasm for Alternative Dispute Resolution. All mistakes are my own.
Article

AI in the Legal Profession

Teaching Robot Mediators Human Empathy

Journal International Journal of Online Dispute Resolution, Issue 2 2021
Keywords ADR, AI, ML, mediation, digital technology, value alignment
Authors Linda Mochon Senado
AbstractAuthor's information

    What benefits do AI technologies introduce to the law and how can lawyers integrate AI tools into their everyday practice and dispute resolution? Can we teach robot mediators to understand human empathy and values to conduct a successful mediation? While the future of AI in the legal profession remains somewhat unknown, it is evident that it introduces valuable tools that enhance legal practice and support lawyers to better serve their clients. This paper discusses the practical ways in which AI is used in the legal profession, while exploring some of the major concerns and hesitation over value alignment, morality and legal formalism.


Linda Mochon Senado
Linda Mochon Senado is a J.D. student at Osgoode Hall Law School. Research Assistant for the Winkler Institute for Dispute Resolution. Caseworker and Certified Community Mediator with the Osgoode Mediation Clinic.
Editorial

Access_open Solidarity and COVID-19: An Introduction

Journal Netherlands Journal of Legal Philosophy, Issue 2 2021
Authors Wouter Veraart, Lukas van den Berge and Antony Duff
Author's information

Wouter Veraart
Wouter Veraart is Professor of Legal Philosophy at the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam.

Lukas van den Berge
Lukas van den Berge is Assistant Professor of Legal Theory at Utrecht University.

Antony Duff
Antony Duff is Emeritus Professor of Philosophy at the University of Stirling and Emeritus Professor of Law at the University of Minnesota.
Article

Access_open Welcoming the Other in a Pandemic Society

Journal Netherlands Journal of Legal Philosophy, Issue 2 2021
Keywords Discourse, Solidarity, Poststructuralism, Levinas, Derrida
Authors Thomas Jacobus de Jong and Carina van de Wetering
AbstractAuthor's information

    This contribution explores the meaning and scope of solidarity with the emergence of the coronavirus discourse as formulated by politicians in order to make sense of the virus. It offers a poststructuralist account drawing on discourse theory together with insights from Levinas and Derrida. This leads to a critical reflection on the prevailing view of solidarity as secondary and derivative to corona policies, because solidarity is often subjugated to hegemonic meanings of efficiency. Instead, the argument is made that solidarity refers to the unique responsibility to which the other as wholly other commands me. This appeal for responsibility, that is presented in the face of the other, is to be assumed in the distance between the rules and the singularity of the situation. Accordingly, solidarity is described as a paradox of dependence (calculability) and independence (beyond calculation), that appears in a moment of undecidability, for it can never be overcome.


Thomas Jacobus de Jong
Thomas Jacobus de Jong is senior parketsecretaris at the Netherlands Public Prosecution Service (OM).

Carina van de Wetering
Carina van de Wetering is Lecturer in International Relations at the Institute of Political Science at Leiden University.
Article

Access_open Solidarity, Religious Freedom and COVID-19

The Case of the Ultra-Orthodox Sects in Israel

Journal Netherlands Journal of Legal Philosophy, Issue 2 2021
Keywords Social solidarity, COVID-19, Religious freedom, Cultural defence, Ultra-Orthodox sects in Israel
Authors Miriam Gur-Arye and Sharon Shakargy
AbstractAuthor's information

    The article discusses the tension between social solidarity and religious freedom as demonstrated by the refusal of the ultra-Orthodox sects in Israel to comply with COVID-19 regulations. The article provides a detailed description of the refusal to comply with the regulations restricting mass prayer services in synagogues and studying Torah in the yeshivas, thus interfering with the ultra-Orthodox religious life. The article suggests possible explanations for that refusal, based on either religious beliefs or a socio-political claim to autonomy, and discusses whether the polity should be willing to tolerate such a refusal on the basis of the cultural defence. The article concludes that despite the drastic restrictions on religious life caused by the social distancing regulations, and the special importance of freedom of religion, reducing the pandemic’s spread called for awarding priority to solidarity over religious freedom, and the enforcement of social solidarity legal duties – the social distancing regulations – on all.


Miriam Gur-Arye
Miriam Gur-Arye is the Judge Basil Wunsh Professor of Criminal Law, Faculty of Law, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

Sharon Shakargy
Sharon Shakargy is a Senior Lecturer at the Faculty of Law, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem.
Article

Access_open Populism, the Kingdom of Shadows, and the Challenge to Liberal Democracy

Journal Netherlands Journal of Legal Philosophy, Issue 2 2021
Keywords Populism, Liberal democracy, Political representation, Société du spectacle, Theatrocracy
Authors Massimo La Torre
AbstractAuthor's information

    Populism is a somehow intractable notion, since its reference is much too wide, comprising phenomena that are indeed in conflict between them, and moreover blurred, by being often used in an instrumental, polemical way. Such intractability is then radicalized through the two alternative approaches to populism, one that is more or less neutral, rooting in the political science tradition, and a second one, fully normative, though fed by political realism, founding as it does on a specific political theory and project. In the article an alternative view is proposed, that of populism as the politics that is congruent with the increasing role played by ‘screens’, icons, and images in social relationships and indeed in political representation. In this way populism is approached as the specific way politics is done within the context of a digitalized société du spectacle.


Massimo La Torre
Massimo La Torre is Professor of Philosophy of Law, ‘Magna Graecia’ University of Catanzaro, Italy, and Visiting Professor of European Law, University of Tallinn, Estonia.

    This study explores the spread of disinformation relating to the Covid-19 pandemic on the internet, dubbed by some as the pandemic’s accompanying “infodemic”, and the societal reactions to this development across different countries and platforms. The study’s focus is on the role of states and platforms in combatting online disinformation.
    Through synthesizing answers to questions submitted by more than 40 researchers from 20 countries within the GDHR Network, this exploratory study provides a first overview of how states and platforms have dealt with Corona-related disinformation. This can also provide incentives for further rigorous studies of disinformation governance standards and their impact across different socio-cultural environments.
    Regarding the platforms’ willingness and efficacy in removing (presumed) disinformation, a majority of submissions identifies a shift towards more intervention in pandemic times. Most submitters assess that this shift is widely welcomed in their respective countries and more often considered as taking place too slowly (rather than being perceived as entailing dangers for unjustified restrictions of freedom of expression). The picture is less clear when it comes to enforcing non-speech related infection prevention measures.
    While the dominant platforms have been able to defend, or even solidify, their position during the pandemic, communicative practices on those platforms are changing. For officials, this includes an increasing reliance on platforms, especially social networks, for communicating infection prevention rules and recommendations. For civil society, the pandemic has brought an increasing readiness – and perceived need – to intervene against disinformation, especially through fact-checking initiatives.
    National and local contexts show great variance at whether platform-driven disinformation is conceived as a societal problem. In countries where official sources are distrusted and/or seen as disseminating disinformation criticism against private information governance by platforms remains muted. In countries where official sources are trusted disinformation present on platforms is seen more negatively.
    While Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram play important roles in the pandemic communication environment, some replies point towards an increasing importance of messaging apps for the circulation of Covid-19-related disinformation. These apps, like Telegram or WhatsApp, tend to fall under the radar of researchers, because visibility of content is limited and scraping is difficult, and because they are not covered by Network Enforcement Act-type laws that usually exclude one-to-one communication platforms (even if they offer one-to-many channels).
    Vis-à-vis widespread calls for a (re)territorialization of their content governance standards and processes amid the pandemic, platform companies have maintained, by and large, global standards. Standardized, featured sections for national (health) authorities to distribute official information via platforms are exceptions thereto.


Matthias C. Kettemann
Prof. dr. Matthias C. Kettemann, LL.M. (Harvard) is head of the research programme “Regulatory Structures and the Emergence of Rules in Online Spaces” at the Leibniz Institute for Media Research | Hans-Bredow-Institut.

Martin Fertmann
Martin Fertmann is a PhD student at the Leibniz-Institut für Medienforschung | Hans-Bredow-Institut’s research programme “Regulatory Structures and the Emergence of Rules in Online Spaces”.

    Terms-of-service based actions against political and state actors as both key subjects and objects of political opinion formation have become a focal point of the ongoing debates over who should set and enforce the rules for speech on online platforms.
    With minor differences depending on national contexts, state regulation of platforms creating obligations to disseminate such actors’ information is considered dangerous for the free and unhindered discursive process that leads to the formation of public opinions.
    Reactions to the suspension of Trump as not the first, but the most widely discussed action of platform companies against a politician (and incumbent president) provide a glimpse on the state of platform governance debates across participating countries.
    Across the countries surveyed politicians tend to see the exercise of content moderation policies of large platform companies very critically
    The majority of politicians in European countries seem to be critical of the deplatforming of Trump, emphasizing fundamental rights and calling for such decisions to be made by states, not private companies
    These political standpoints stand in an unresolved conflict with the constitutional realities of participating countries, where incumbents usually cannot invoke fundamental rights when acting in their official capacities and where laws with “must carry” requirements for official information do not exist for social media and would likely only be constitutional for narrowly defined, special circumstances such as disaster prevention.
    Facebooks’ referral of the Trump-decision to its Oversight Board sparked a larger debate about institutional structures for improving content governance. The majority of participating countries has experience with self- or co-regulatory press-, media- or broadcasting councils to which comparisons can be drawn, foreshadowing the possible (co-regulatory) future of governing online speech.
    Media commentators in participating countries interpreted the deplatforming of Trump as a signal that far-right parties and politicians around the world may face increasing scrutiny, while conservative politicians and governments in multiple participating countries instrumentalized the actions against Trump as supposed proof of platform’s bias against conservative opinions.
    Even without specific legal requirements on content moderation, submissions from several countries refer to a general – often: constitutional – privileging of speech of politicians and office holders. This could potentially support or even compel the decisions of platforms to leave content of political actors up even if it violates their terms of service.


Martin Fertmann
Martin Fertmann is a PhD student at the Leibniz-Institut für Medienforschung | Hans-Bredow-Institut’s research programme “Regulatory Structures and the Emergence of Rules in Online Spaces”

Matthias C. Kettemann
Prof. dr. Matthias C. Kettemann, LL.M. (Harvard) is head of the research programme “Regulatory Structures and the Emergence of Rules in Online Spaces” at the Leibniz Institute for Media Research | Hans-Bredow-Institut.
Article

Access_open European Standards of Judicial Independence in Lithuania

Journal East European Yearbook on Human Rights, Issue 1 2021
Keywords judicial independence, selection of judges, appointment of judges, rule of law, mutual trust
Authors Vygantė Milašiūtė and Skirgailė Žalimienė
AbstractAuthor's information

    The article examines the procedure for selection and appointment of judges in Lithuania in the light of the European standards of judicial independence. Both the Council of Europe and the European Union (EU) legal materials are relied on. The procedural role of different actors, the criteria for assessment of candidates, the question of judicial review of selection and appointment decisions as well as the problem of delays of judicial appointments are also examined. Even though the Lithuanian system for the selection and appointment of judges has been assessed favourably by European institutions, certain elements of the system are questionable. However, as long as these deficiencies are not systemic and do not raise issues of the rule of law in the sense of EU law, they would not negatively affect the operation of the EU law-based mutual trust instruments with respect to Lithuania. A suggestion is made that paying more attention to non-systemic deficiencies of judicial independence and the rule of law in EU member states could be beneficial for improving the protection of individual rights.


Vygantė Milašiūtė
Vygantė Milašiūtė: Associate professor at Vilnius University, Faculty of Law.

Skirgailė Žalimienė
Skirgailė Žalimienė: Associate professor at Vilnius University, Faculty of Law.

    Building upon the ECJ case law qualifying stand-by time with significant availability obligations of volunteer firefighters as working time, the Belgian Court of Cassation has upheld a system of compensation by which stand-by time pays less than regular working time.


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

Access_open Dutch Penal Protection Orders in Practice

A Study of Aims and Outcomes

Journal Erasmus Law Review, Issue 3 2021
Keywords enforcement practice, victim safety, street level bureaucracy, criminal justice chain, penal protection orders
Authors Tamar Fischer and Sanne Struijk
AbstractAuthor's information

    Penal protection orders (PPOs) aim to protect initial victims from repeat victimisation and in a broader sense from any danger for his or her dignity or psychological and sexual integrity and may therefore be important instruments for victim safety. However, knowledge on the actual practice of the PPOs and the successes, dilemmas and challenges involved is scarce. In this article, we describe the legal framework and actual enforcement practice of Dutch PPOs. The theoretical framework leading our explorative analyses regards Lipsky’s notion of ‘street-level bureaucracy’ and the succeeding work of Maynard & Musheno and Tummers on coping strategies and agency narratives of frontline workers. Using interview data from criminal justice professionals, victims and offenders, we describe the conditions of the enforcement practice and answer the question which coping mechanisms and types of agencies the professionals tend to apply in order to meet the legislative aims and to protect victims as effectively as possible. Results show that the five conditions described by Lipsky are clearly present. So far, in almost all situations the process of monitoring violations is reactive and because knowledge on risk indicators for violent escalation is still limited, it is difficult for frontline workers to decide how many and what type of resources should be invested in which cases. This results in a ‘moving away from clients’ strategy. However, within this context in which reactive enforcement is the default, we also found several examples of coping that represent ‘moving towards clients’ strategies.


Tamar Fischer
Tamar Fischer is Associate Professor of Criminology at the Erasmus Universiteit Rotterdam, the Netherlands.

Sanne Struijk
Sanne Struijk is Professor of Penal Sanctions Law and associate professor of Criminal Law at the Erasmus University Rotterdam, the Netherlands.

    This article refers to the problem of the Roman Catholic Church’s liability for the damages caused by sexual abuse of children by priests. The author points to the base of liability – the respondeat superior principle and analyses the problem of the ‘scope of entrusted duties’. The major problem arises from the fact that sexual abuse can never be the subject of any legally effective contract or the activities entrusted by the superior, but it happens only ‘when the opportunity arises’ – during the performance of actual activities covered by scope of the contract, for example, caring for minors, their education, treatment or spiritual formation. However, the problem is wider because sexual crimes can also occur in non-Catholic churches and other religious institutions, as well as all those places and institutions whose employees enter into special trust relationships with minors or adult people with special needs (for sick or disabled). This article refers to the experiences from various countries and presents two methods of its possible interpretation of the concept of the ‘scope of entrusted duties’ – strict and liberal, as well as the ‘enhanced risk theory’. The author also proposes her own method of solving the problem.


Anna Wilk
Dr. Anna Wilk, WSB University, Dąbrowa Górnicza, Poland.
Article

Sustainability in Global Supply Chains Under the CISG

Journal European Journal of Law Reform, Issue 3 2021
Keywords CISG, sustainability, supply chains, UN Global Compact, Codes of Conduct, conformity of the goods
Authors Ingeborg Schwenzer and Edgardo Muñoz
AbstractAuthor's information

    In this article, the authors assert that the United Nations Convention for the International Sale of Goods (CISG) can contribute to tackling gaps in statutory legislation and defective business conduct that have been associated with unsustainable trade in Global Supply Chains (GSCs). The authors provide evidence that the CISG contains rules enabling a general legal framework for establishing uniform sustainable standards for goods concerning suppliers, sellers and buyers located in different countries. For instance, the CISG provisions on contract formation ease the incorporation of joint codes of conduct for sustainable trade in GSCs. In addition, the contracting parties’ circumstances and current trade usages are now more relevant to determine what constitutes conformity of the goods under the contract and the default warranties in Article 35 CISG. On the level of remedies, the authors show that best-efforts provisions, possibly included in a code of conduct or inferred from standards applicable to the goods, may redefine the notion of impediment in Article 79 CISG, which could lead to exoneration of liability for the seller. They also demonstrate why fundamental breach and the calculation of damages are at the centre of the discussion regarding the remedies for breach of an obligation to deliver sustainable goods.


Ingeborg Schwenzer
Ingeborg Schwenzer is Dean of the Swiss International Law School (SiLS), Professor emerita of Private Law at the University of Basel (Switzerland) and past Chair of the CISG Advisory Council. Dr. iur. (Freiburg i.Br.), LLM (UC Berkeley).

Edgardo Muñoz
Edgardo Muñoz is Professor of Law, Universidad Panamericana. Facultad de Derecho. Calzada Álvaro del Portillo 49, Zapopan, Jalisco, 45010, México. PhD (Basel), LLM (UC Berkeley), LLM (Liverpool), LLB (UIA Mexico), DEUF (Lyon). This research has been funded by Universidad Panamericana through the grant ‘Fomento a la Investigación UP 2020’, under project code UP-CI-2020-GDL-04-DER.
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