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Article

Access_open Opening the Opaque Blank Box

An Exploration into Blank and Null Votes in the 2018 Walloon Local Elections

Journal Politics of the Low Countries, Issue 3 2019
Keywords voting, elections, blank vote, invalid vote, abstention
Authors Jean-Benoit Pilet, Maria Jimena Sanhuza, David Talukder e.a.
AbstractAuthor's information

    In this article, we propose an in-depth exploration of blank and null ballots in the recent 2018 local elections in Wallonia (Belgium). In the official results, both blank and null ballots are merged together and are classified as invalid votes. After obtaining the authorization to access genuine electoral ballots, we study the votes which were not considered for the composition of local councils in detail. The dataset is a representative sample of 13,243 invalidated ballots from 49 Walloon municipalities. We first describe how many of these invalidated ballots are blank and how many are null votes, as well as the nature of the nulled votes (unintended errors or intentionally spoiled ballots). Second, we dig deeper into the differences between ballots that have been intentionally invalidated by voters (blank votes and intentional null votes) and ballots non-intentionally invalidated. Our results show that most of the ballots (two-thirds) are null ballots and that among them, half are unintentional null ballots. Finally, we show that contextual (socio-demographic and political) factors explain the variations in intentional and unintentional null votes across municipalities.


Jean-Benoit Pilet
Jean-Benoit Pilet is professor of political science at Université libre de Bruxelles (ULB). He works on elections, political parties, and democratic reforms. He has recently co-authored Faces on the Ballot. The Personalization of Electoral Systems in Europe (OUP, 2016, with Alan Renwick) and The Politics of Party Leadership (OUP, 2016, with William Cross).

Maria Jimena Sanhuza
Maria Jimena Sanhueza is PhD Researcher in Political Science at Universite Libre de Bruxelles where she is associated to three projects studying Belgian politics. Her research focuses on citizenship, representation and democracy. Before starting her PhD, Maria Jimena worked as assistant researcher for EU HORIZON 2020 projects Pathways to Power and Solidarity in Times on Crisis, and co-authored a few publications on European democracies and representation.

David Talukder
David Talukder is PhD candidate at the Université libre de Bruxelles (ULB). He is conducting a thesis on the reform of representative democracy, looking at disadvantaged groups’ evaluation of representative democracy and demands for procedural democratic reforms. His main research interests are related to procedural democratic reforms, participatory democracy and democratic innovations.

Jérémy Dodeigne
Jérémy Dodeigne is associate professor in political science at the Université de Namur. His research areas cover the study of political representation in multilevel systems, local politics, comparative politics and mixed methods research designs. His work appears in journals such as Party Politics, American Behavioral Scientist, Local Government Studies, Regional & Federal Studies, Government & Opposition, and Representation.

Audrey E. Brennan
Audrey E. Brennan is completing a joint doctorate in political science at Université libre de Bruxelles (ULB) and Université Laval. Her research interests are political parties, elections, and political participation. Her dissertation studies the effect of leadership change mechanisms on the long-term behaviour of political party members.
Article

Split-Ticket Voting in Belgium

An Analysis of the Presence and Determinants of Differentiated Voting in the Municipal and Provincial Elections of 2018

Journal Politics of the Low Countries, Issue 3 2019
Keywords split-ticket voting, local elections, voting motives, Belgium, PR-system
Authors Tony Valcke and Tom Verhelst
AbstractAuthor's information

    This article tackles the particular issue of split-ticket voting, which has been largely overlooked in Belgian election studies thus far. We contribute to the literature by answering two particular research questions: (1) to what extent and (2) why do voters cast a different vote in the elections for the provincial council as compared to their vote in the elections for the municipal council?
    The article draws on survey data collected via an exit poll in the ‘Belgian Local Elections Study’, a research project conducted by an inter-university team of scholars.
    Our analysis shows that nearly 45% of the total research population cast a split-ticket vote in the local elections of 2018. However, this number drops to one out of four if we only consider a homogenous party landscape at both levels by excluding the numerous votes for ‘local’ lists (which occur mostly at the municipal level). This finding underlines the importance of accounting for the electoral and institutional context of the different electoral arenas in research on split-ticket voting in PR systems. In the Belgian context, split-ticket voting in 2018 also differed between the different parties and regions. Furthermore, it was encouraged by a higher level of education and familiarity with particular candidates. This candidate-centred and strategic voting was matched by party identification and the urban municipal context favouring straight-ticket voting. Other factors such as region, a rural municipal context and preferential voting seemed more relevant to determine voting for local parties than using the instrument of split-ticket votes as such.


Tony Valcke
Tony Valcke is Associate Professor at the Faculty of Political and Social Sciences of Ghent University (Belgium). He is a member of the Centre for Local Politics (CLP) and coordinator of the Teacher Training Department. His research, publications and educational activities focus on elections and democratic participation/innovation, (the history of) political institutions and (local) government reform, political elites and leadership, citizenship (education).

Tom Verhelst
Tom Verhelst is Assistant Professor at the Faculty of Political and Social Sciences at Ghent University (Belgium) and a postdoctoral research fellow at the Department of Political Science at Maastricht University (the Netherlands). His research focuses on the Europeanisation of local government (with a particular interest for the regulatory mobilisation of local government in EU decision-making processes) and on the role and position of the local council in Belgium and the Netherlands (with a particular interest for local council scrutiny).
Human Rights Literature Reviews

Hungary

Journal East European Yearbook on Human Rights, Issue 1 2019
Authors Alexandra Sipos PhD
Author's information

Alexandra Sipos PhD
PhD student, Doctoral School of Sociology, Faculty of Social Sciences at Eötvös Loránd University, Budapest, Hungary.
Article

The Right of Appeal against a Decision on Disciplinary Liability of a Judge

Journal East European Yearbook on Human Rights, Issue 1 2019
Keywords disciplinary proceedings, scope of judicial review, standard of judicial review, remedial measures
Authors Taras Pashuk PhD
AbstractAuthor's information

    This article deals with the questions of scope and the standard of judicial review of a disciplinary decision against a judge. It further addresses the issue of remedial powers, which should be granted to the reviewing authority in this type of cases. It is suggested that the scope of judicial review of a disciplinary decision against a judge should extend to questions of law, fact and discretion. What actually varies is the depth of review or, more precisely, the standards of review and the corresponding level of deference, which must be demonstrated to the primary decision-making authority. It is further suggested that there are several factors that have influence on the formation of the standards of review: the institutional, procedural and expertise factors. As to the remedial capacity, the reviewing court should be provided with the competence to apply adequate remedial measures. The reviewing court should be able to effectively eliminate the identified shortcomings in the proceedings before the first-instance authority. For the effective protection of the rights at issue, it may be important for the reviewing court not only to repeal the decision subject to review, but also take other remedial measures. The legitimacy and necessity for applying particular remedial action should be established by taking into account the same institutional, procedural and expertise factors.


Taras Pashuk PhD
PhD (Ivan Franko National University of Lviv, Ukraine), lawyer at the Registry of the European Court of Human Rights. This article has been written in personal capacity, and the thoughts expressed in it cannot be attributed to any Council of Europe body.
Article

Reasoning in Domestic Judgments in New Democracies

A View from Strasbourg

Journal East European Yearbook on Human Rights, Issue 1 2019
Keywords European Court of Human Rights, Article 6, new democracies, reasoning in domestic judgments
Authors Dragoljub Popović
AbstractAuthor's information

    One of the shortcomings in the functioning of the justice systems in new democracies consists of insufficient reasoning in judgments. The European Court of Human Rights (Court) had to deal with the issue in cases in which applicants invoked Article 6 of the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms (Convention). The Court’s case law developments concerning the issue are analysed in this article. The general rule emerged in leading cases and was subsequently followed. It says there is an obligation incumbent on national courts to provide reasons for their judgments. Therefore, insufficient reasoning in a judgment given at the domestic level of jurisdiction provides grounds for finding a violation of Article 6 of the Convention. The problem of lack of adequate reasoning in domestic judgments has been given attention among scholars, judges and practising lawyers in new democracies. The Court’s jurisprudence provides guidance to solutions aimed at improvement of the administration of justice in those countries, which are Member States of the Convention.


Dragoljub Popović
Former judge of the ECtHR, attorney-at-law at the Belgrade Bar, professor of law at Union University (Belgrade, Serbia) and a visiting professor at Creighton University (Omaha, NE, USA).
Human Rights Practice Reviews

Albania

Journal East European Yearbook on Human Rights, Issue 1 2019
Authors Anisia Mandro LLM
Author's information

Anisia Mandro LLM
Anisia Mandro (European Union Law - LLM), Legal Researcher and Legal Adviser in the area of competition law, data protection, and human rights; Consultant in approximation of national legislation with EU acquis Communautaire.
Article

Access_open The Brussels International Business Court: Initial Overview and Analysis

Journal Erasmus Law Review, Issue 1 2019
Keywords international jurisdiction, English, court language, Belgium, business court
Authors Erik Peetermans and Philippe Lambrecht
AbstractAuthor's information

    In establishing the Brussels International Business Court (BIBC), Belgium is following an international trend to attract international business disputes to English-speaking state courts. The BIBC will be an autonomous business court with the competence to settle, in English, disputes between companies throughout Belgium. This article focuses on the BIBC’s constitutionality, composition, competence, proceedings and funding, providing a brief analysis and critical assessment of each of these points. At the time of writing, the Belgian Federal Parliament has not yet definitively passed the Bill establishing the BIBC, meaning that amendments are still possible.


Erik Peetermans
Erik Peetermans is a legal adviser at the Federation of Enterprises in Belgium (FEB).

Philippe Lambrecht
Philippe Lambrecht is the Director-Secretary General at the Federation of Enterprises in Belgium (FEB).
Article

Access_open The Singapore International Commercial Court: The Future of Litigation?

Journal Erasmus Law Review, Issue 1 2019
Keywords international commercial court, Singapore, dispute resolution, litigation
Authors Man Yip
AbstractAuthor's information

    The Singapore International Commercial Court (‘SICC’) was launched on 5 January 2015, at the Opening of Legal Year held at the Singapore Supreme Court. What prompted the creation of SICC? How is the SICC model of litigation different from litigation in the Singapore High Court? What is the SICC’s track record and what does it tell us about its future? This article seeks to answer these questions at greater depth than existing literature. Importantly, it examines these questions from the angle of reimagining access of justice for litigants embroiled in international commercial disputes. It argues that the SICC’s enduring contribution to improving access to justice is that it helps to change our frame of reference for international commercial litigation. Hybridisation, internationalisation, and party autonomy, the underpinning values of the SICC, are likely to be the values of the future of dispute resolution. International commercial dispute resolution frameworks – typically litigation frameworks – that unduly emphasise national boundaries and formalities need not and should not be the norm. Crucially, the SICC co-opts a refreshing public-private perspective to the resolution of international commercial disputes. It illuminates on the public interest element of the resolution of such disputes which have for some time fallen into the domain of international commercial arbitration; at the same time, it introduces greater scope for self-determination in international commercial litigation.


Man Yip
BCL (Oxon).
Article

Access_open Chambers for International Commercial Disputes in Germany: The State of Affairs

Journal Erasmus Law Review, Issue 1 2019
Keywords Justizinitiative Frankfurt, Law Made in Germany, International Commercial Disputes, Forum Selling, English Language Proceedings
Authors Burkhard Hess and Timon Boerner
AbstractAuthor's information

    The prospect of attracting foreign commercial litigants to German courts in the wake of Brexit has led to a renaissance of English-language commercial litigation in Germany. Leading the way is the Frankfurt District Court, where – as part of the ‘Justizinitiative Frankfurt’ – a new specialised Chamber for International Commercial Disputes has been established. Frankfurt’s prominent position in the financial sector and its internationally oriented bar support this decision. Borrowing best practices from patent litigation and arbitration, the Chamber offers streamlined and litigant-focused proceedings, with English-language oral hearings, within the current legal framework of the German Code of Civil Procedure (ZPO).1xZivilprozessordnung (ZPO).
    However, to enable the complete litigation process – including the judgment – to proceed in English requires changes to the German Courts Constitution Act2xGerichtsverfassungsgesetz (GVG). (GVG). A legislative initiative in the Bundesrat aims to establish a suitable legal framework by abolishing the mandatory use of German as the language of proceedings. Whereas previous attempts at such comprehensive amendments achieved only limited success, support by several major federal states indicates that this time the proposal will succeed.
    With other English-language commercial court initiatives already established or planned in both other EU Member States and Germany, it is difficult to anticipate whether – and how soon – Frankfurt will succeed in attracting English-speaking foreign litigants. Finally, developments such as the 2018 Initiative for Expedited B2B Procedures of the European Parliament or the ELI–UNIDROIT project on Transnational Principles of Civil Procedure may also shape the long-term playing field.

Noten

  • 1 Zivilprozessordnung (ZPO).

  • 2 Gerichtsverfassungsgesetz (GVG).


Burkhard Hess
Burkhard Hess is the Executive Director of the Max Planck Institute Luxembourg for International, European and Regulatory Procedural Law (MPI Luxembourg).

Timon Boerner
Timon Boerner is a Research Fellow at the MPI Luxembourg.
Editorial

Access_open International Business Courts in Europe and Beyond: A Global Competition for Justice?

Journal Erasmus Law Review, Issue 1 2019
Keywords international business courts, justice innovation, justice competition, global commercial litigation, private international law
Authors Xandra Kramer and John Sorabji
Author's information

Xandra Kramer
Xandra Kramer, Professor of Private Law at Erasmus University Rotterdam, and of Private International Law, Utrecht University.

John Sorabji
John Sorabji, Senior Teaching Fellow, UCL, London/Principal Legal Adviser to the Lord Chief Justice and the Master of the Rolls.
Article

Access_open The Court of the Astana International Financial Center in the Wake of Its Predecessors

Journal Erasmus Law Review, Issue 1 2019
Keywords international financial centers, offshore courts, international business courts, Kazakhstan
Authors Nicolás Zambrana-Tévar
AbstractAuthor's information

    The Court of the Astana International Financial Center is a new dispute resolution initiative meant to attract investors in much the same way as it has been done in the case of the courts and arbitration mechanisms of similar financial centers in the Persian Gulf. This paper examines such initiatives from a comparative perspective, focusing on their Private International Law aspects such as jurisdiction, applicable law and recognition and enforcement of judgments and arbitration awards. The paper concludes that their success, especially in the case of the younger courts, will depend on the ability to build harmonious relationships with the domestic courts of each host country.


Nicolás Zambrana-Tévar
LLM (LSE), PhD (Navarra), KIMEP University.
Article

Access_open The Emergence of International Commercial Courts in India: A Narrative for Ease of Doing Business?

Journal Erasmus Law Review, Issue 1 2019
Keywords Commercial contracts, Enforcement, Jurisdiction, Specialized courts, India
Authors Sai Ramani Garimella and M.Z. Ashraful
AbstractAuthor's information

    The liberal globalised order has brought increased focus on the regulation of international commerce, and especially dispute resolution. Enforcement of contracts has been a concern largely owing to the insufficiencies of the legal systems, especially relating to the institutional structure, and it holds true for India as well. The commercial courts mechanism – international and domestic – with innovative features aimed at providing expedited justice is witnessing much traction. India, similar to many other jurisdictions, legislated in favour of specialized dispute resolution mechanisms for commercial disputes that could help improve the procedures for enforcement of contracts. This research attempts to critique the comparable strengths and the reform spaces within the Indian legislation on commercial courts. It parses the status of commercial dispute resolution in India especially in the context of cross-border contracts and critiques India’s attempt to have specialised courts to address commercial dispute resolution.


Sai Ramani Garimella
Sai Ramani Garimella, PhD, is assistant professor of the faculty of legal studies at the South Asian University in New Delhi.

M.Z. Ashraful
M.Z. Ashraful is the research student at South Asian University in New Delhi.
Article

Access_open International Commercial Courts in France: Innovation without Revolution?

Journal Erasmus Law Review, Issue 1 2019
Keywords international commercial court, dispute resolution, business court, Brexit, judicial system
Authors Alexandre Biard
AbstractAuthor's information

    In 2018, in the wake of Brexit, the French legal profession took several important measures to strengthen the competitiveness of France and the French legal system, and to make Paris an attractive go-to-point for businesses when the latter have to deal with international commercial litigation. When taking a closer look at it, Brexit is only the top of the iceberg, and has mostly served as a catalyst. Reasons explaining the development of international commercial courts in France are manifold. They are consequences of long-standing efforts aimed at boosting the French judicial marketplace to adapt it to the requirements of globalization and to the expectations of multinational corporations. The setting-up of the French international business courts has made several procedural adjustments necessary. Although the latter undoubtedly represent clear innovations, they however do not constitute a full-blown revolution. France has indeed decided to maximize already-existing procedural rules, combined with a new organisational format inspired by the Common Law tradition. If it remains too early to draw clear conclusions on the impact of these new developments, it is essential to keep our ears to the ground, and to be forward-looking. We should carefully consider the possible side-effects on the French justice system considered as a whole, and in particular wonder whether these international commercial courts might in the future open the door to broader far-reaching evolutions within the judicial system. Finally, the multiplication of international business courts across Europe nowadays triggers some questions concerning the role and potential added value of an EU initiative in this domain.


Alexandre Biard
Postdoctoral researcher, Erasmus University Rotterdam.
Article

Access_open Matchmaking International Commercial Courts and Lawyers’ Preferences in Europe

Journal Erasmus Law Review, Issue 1 2019
Keywords choice of court, commercial court, lawyers’ preferences, survey on lawyers, international court
Authors Erlis Themeli
AbstractAuthor's information

    France, Germany, Belgium, and the Netherlands have taken concrete steps to design and develop international commercial courts. Most of the projects claim to be building courts that match the preferences of court users. They also try to challenge England and Wales, which evidence suggests is the most attractive jurisdiction in the EU. For the success of these projects, it is important that their proposed courts corresponds with the expectations of the parties, but also manages to attract some of the litigants that go to London. This article argues that lawyers are the most important group of choice makers, and that their preferences are not sufficiently matched by the new courts. Lawyers have certain litigation service and court perception preferences. And while the new courts improve their litigation service, they do not sufficiently addressed these court perception preferences.


Erlis Themeli
Postdoc, Erasmus School of Law, Erasmus University Rotterdam.

Gian Luigi Lepri
Gian Luigi Lepri is a psychologist and psychotherapist coordinator of the Restorative Justice Practices Team, University of Sassari, Department of Humanities and Social Sciences – Dumas, Italy.

Ernesto Lodi
Ernesto Lodi is researcher in Social Psychology at the University of Sassari, Department of Humanities and Social Sciences – Dumas, Italy.

Patrizia Patrizi
Patrizia Patrizi is full professor of Social Psychology and Psychology and Law at the University of Sassari, Department of Humanities and Social Sciences – Dumas, Italy, member of the board of the European Forum for Restorative Justice.

    The German Federal Labour Court (Bundesarbeitsgericht, the ‘BAG’) has held that pre-employment as a freelancer must be taken into account in relation to the number of years having been with a firm as a freelancer when assessing the legality of a fixed-term contract due to the character of the specific deployment.


Sean Illing
Sean Illing is an Associate Solicitor at Lewis Silkin LLP.

    Following an appeal by Uber against the Employment Appeal Tribunal’s (EAT) finding last year, which was featured in EELC 2018/9, that drivers engaged by Uber are ‘workers’ rather than independent contractors (reported in EELC 2018-1), the Court of Appeal (CA) has now upheld the EAT’s decision. The CA also upheld the finding of the Employment Tribunal (ET), which was featured in EELC 2017/10, that drivers are working when they are signed into the Uber app and ready to work (reported in EECL 2017-1). Uber has approximately 40,000 drivers (and about 3.5 million users of its mobile phone application in London alone) and so this decision has potentially significant financial consequences for the company.


Jemma Thomas
Jemma Thomas is a Senior Associate Solicitor at Lewis Silkin LLP.
Article

Managing Procedural Expectations in Small Claims ODR

Journal International Journal of Online Dispute Resolution, Issue 1 2019
Keywords fair trial, procedural justice, natural justice, waiver, small claims, consumer disputes, proportionality
Authors Fabien Gélinas
AbstractAuthor's information

    In this article, the author reflects on the appropriate place of traditional procedural guarantees in the resolution of consumer and small claims disputes using online tools. After examining the key aspects of procedural justice that constitute the right to a fair trial and analysing its effects on procedures designed for low-value disputes, the article argues for a flexible approach that takes procedural proportionality seriously.


Fabien Gélinas
Fabien Gélinas is Sir Wiliam C. Macdonald Professor of Law, McGill University, Co-Founder of the Montreal Cyberjustice Laboratory and Head of the Private Justice and the Rule of Law Research Team. The preparation of this article was made possible by grants from the SSHRC and the FQRSC. Thanks go to Dr Giacomo Marchisio and Ms Leyla Bahmany for their kind assistance. This article was originally published in Immaculada Barral (ed.) La resolución de conflictos con consumidores: de la mediation a las ODR (Madrid: Editorial Reus, 2018).
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