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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
Article

Fit for Office? The Perception of Female and Male Politicians by Dutch Voters

Journal Politics of the Low Countries, Issue 1 2022
Keywords political underrepresentation, gender stereotypes, role incongruity, candidate evaluation, experimental vignette study
Authors Rozemarijn E. van Dijk and Joop van Holsteyn
AbstractAuthor's information

    The underrepresentation of women in politics is a worldwide phenomenon and the Netherlands fit the pattern: about 39% of the Dutch MPs are female. Based on social role incongruity theory, it is expected that female politicians are evaluated more negatively than male politicians since women do not fit the dominant male politician role. However, most research is conducted in the United States, that is, a candidate-centred system where individual characteristics play an important role. This article focuses on the party-centred parliamentary context in which we examine (1) whether gender stereotypes are present among citizens and (2) to what extent these stereotypes influence the evaluation of politicians. We do this by conducting an experimental vignette survey design. We find that at the mass level there is no difference between the evaluation of male and female politicians, although gender stereotypes are present.


Rozemarijn E. van Dijk
Rozemarijn E. van Dijk is a PhD student at the department of political science at the University of Antwerp, Belgium.

Joop van Holsteyn
Joop J.M. van Holsteyn is Professor in Political Behaviour and Research Methods at Leiden University, the Netherlands.
Article

Opening an Absolute Majority A Typology of Motivations for Opening and Selecting Coalition Partners

Journal Politics of the Low Countries, Issue 1 2022
Keywords negotiation, absolute majority, oversized coalition, motivations, local election
Authors Geoffrey Grandjean and Valentine Meens
AbstractAuthor's information

    Following the municipal elections in the Walloon Region (Belgium) on 14 October 2018, 189 political groups won an absolute majority. Twenty-two of these decided not to exercise power alone, but favoured the formation of an oversized coalition by integrating a minority partner. The aim of this article is to identify the motivations behind the formation of a local coalition when one of the partners has an absolute majority. Semi-structured interviews with mayors and leaders of political groups in these municipalities make it possible to identify the motivations for, first, the choice to open and, second, the choice of a minority partner. By distinguishing between necessary and supporting motivations, this article shows that the search for greater representation is a necessary motivation for the choice to open, whereas personal affinities and memories of the past are necessary motivations for choosing minority partners. By prioritising motivations, this article shows that.


Geoffrey Grandjean
Geoffrey Grandjean is Professor of Political Science at the Faculty of Law, Political Science and Criminology of the University of Liege and Director of the Institut de la decision publique.

Valentine Meens
Valentine Meens is Assistant of Political Science at the Faculty of Law, Political Science and Criminology of the University of Liege.
Article

Restorative justice training for judges and public prosecutors in the European Union: what is on offer and where are the gaps?

Journal The International Journal of Restorative Justice, Issue Online First 2022
Keywords restorative justice, judicial training, judges, public prosecutors
Authors Ana Catarina Pereira, Britt De Craen and Ivo Aertsen
AbstractAuthor's information

    Judges and public prosecutors across Europe continue to be the main source of referral of cases to restorative justice programmes organised in the context of the criminal justice system. As a result, the training of these two groups of legal professionals regarding what restorative justice is and what it can offer to victims, offenders and the community has for many years been identified as a priority for the development of restorative justice in the European Union (EU). However, little information is available about what actually exists in terms of judicial training on restorative justice within the national judicial training institutions responsible for the initial and/or continuous training of judges and/or public prosecutors. Therefore, we developed an online survey on judicial training on restorative justice and invited 38 judicial training institutions operating in the (then) 28 EU Member States to participate in our study. We were able to make relevant observations regarding the reasons for the non-existence of restorative justice training in most of the judicial training institutions studied and identify important elements of the architecture of the restorative justice training offered by the judicial training institution of Czech Republic.


Ana Catarina Pereira
Ana Pereira is a PhD researcher in Criminology at the Leuven Institute of Criminology at KU Leuven, Belgium. She received a PhD grant from the Portuguese Foundation for Science and Technology (Fundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia, FCT).

Britt De Craen
Britt De Craen is a master’s student in Criminology at the Leuven Institute of Criminology at KU Leuven, Belgium.

Ivo Aertsen
Ivo Aertsen is Professor Emeritus of the Leuven Institute of Criminology at KU Leuven, Belgium. Corresponding author: Ana Pereira, anacatarina.alvespereira@kuleuven.be.
Article

Diversion and restorative justice in the context of juvenile justice reforms in Indonesia, Thailand, the Philippines and Vietnam

Journal The International Journal of Restorative Justice, Issue Online First 2022
Keywords children’s rights, juvenile justice, restorative justice, diversion, implementation challenges, Thailand, Vietnam, Indonesia, the Philippines
Authors Le Thu Dao, Le Huynh Tan Duy, Ukrit Sornprohm e.a.
AbstractAuthor's information

    Diversion is an important vehicle for delivering an alternative model of youth justice, one that is, hopefully, grounded in principles of children’s rights and restorative justice. Several Asia-Pacific countries, often with international assistance, have sought to develop alternative processes and programmes to which children in conflict with the law can be diverted to. In some instances, these have included restorative justice programmes. This article provides an overview of the implementation of a restorative justice approach, as a youth justice diversion measure, in four South-East Asian countries: Indonesia, Thailand, the Philippines and Vietnam. It describes juvenile justice reforms in these countries, particularly as they relate to the implementation of diversion and restorative justice and reflects on the factors that may have affected the success of these reforms. Every one of these countries has achieved a measure of success in implementing diversion and restorative justice, although restorative justice has occupied a different place in these reforms. The article offers a general overview of key challenges and notable successes encountered during that process, as well as an opportunity to consider the role of tradition, culture and public expectations in the implementation of restorative justice principles in the context of juvenile justice.


Le Thu Dao
Le Thu Dao, PhD, is professor at the Comparative Law Institute, Hanoi Law University, Hanoi, Vietnam.

Le Huynh Tan Duy
Le Huynh Tan Duy, LLB, LLM, PhD, is Head of Criminal Procedure Law Division of the Ho Chi Minh City University of Law, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam.

Ukrit Sornprohm
Ukrit Sornprohm, LLB, LLM, LLD (Candidate), Project Manager (Rule of Law and Criminal Justice), Thailand Institute of Justice, Bangkok, Thailand.

Yvon Dandurand
Yvon Dandurand, Professor Emeritus, Criminology, University of the Fraser Valley, Abbotsford, Canada. Fellow, International Centre for Criminal Law Reform. Corresponding author: Yvon Dandurand, Yvon.Dandurand@ufv.ca.
Article

Online Mediation and e-commerce (B2B and B2C) Disputes

Journal International Journal of Online Dispute Resolution, Issue 2 2021
Keywords ODR, online Mediation, e-commerce, business-to business (B2B), business-to consumer (B2C)
Authors Mariam Skhulukhia
AbstractAuthor's information

    Nowadays, electronic commerce plays a significant role in our society as internet transactions continue to grow in the business industry. Electronic commerce mainly refers to commercial transactions, such as business-to-business and business-to-consumer. Disputes are inevitable, part of our lives. Simultaneously by developing technology the need for an effective dispute resolution was obvious. Information communication technology and alternative dispute resolution together created online dispute resolution. Businesses and consumers are actively engaged in online dispute resolution. Therefore, the use of the internet makes business or consumer transactions easier. The online environment is much flexible when it comes to electronic commerce. This article focuses on online mediation, one of the most popular forms of online dispute resolution.


Mariam Skhulukhia
Mariam Skhulukhia has a Bachelor’s degree in law and a Master’s degree in International Business law from the University of Georgia. She participated in the Consensual Dispute Resolution Competition (CDRC VIENNA) in 2018 and the John H. Jackson Moot Court Competition in 2019. Mariam was an intern at Tbilisi City Court in Civil Affairs Board. Also, she worked as a lawyer for residency and citizenship matters at a foreign company. She has successfully passed a Bar Exam (Civil Law Specialization) in 2021. Mariam wrote her Master’s thesis: “Why do we need Online Mediation? Possible Challenges and Perspectives for Online Commercial Mediation in Georgia.” She also submitted her Research Paper titled “Mediating Online: Among the Praises and Diatribes in MediateGuru’s edited book titled “A Pathway to the Future of ADR: Comparative Perspectives around the World.”

    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 Artificial Intelligence and Customer Relationship Management

The Case of Chatbots and Their Legality Framework

Journal East European Yearbook on Human Rights, Issue 1 2021
Keywords artificial intelligence, chatbots, CRM, data protection, privacy
Authors Konstantinos Kouroupis, Dimitrios Vagianos and Aikaterini Totka
AbstractAuthor's information

    In the new digital era as it is formed by the European digital strategy, the explosion of e-commerce and related technologies has led to the formation of tremendous volumes of customer data that could be exploited in a variety of ways. Customer relationship management (CRM) systems can now exploit these data sets to map consumers’ behaviour more effectively. As social media and artificial intelligence widened their penetration, firms’ interest shifted to chatbots in order to serve their customers’ needs. Nowadays, CRM and bots are developed in a parallel way. With the help of these virtual personal assistants, CRM establishes a virtual relationship with consumers. However, the extended collection and use of personal data under this scope may give rise to ethical and legal issues. In this article, the term CRM is defined, followed by an analysis of the way chatbots support CRM systems. In the second part, the legal context of chatbot use will be highlighted in an attempt to investigate whether there are personal data protection issues and whether certain rights or ethical rules are somehow violated. The draft AI Regulation, in combination with the provisions of GDPR and e-Privacy Directive, offers a significant background for our study. The article concludes by demonstrating the use of chatbots as an inherent part of the new digital era and lays special emphasis on the term ‘transparency’, which seems to penetrate the lawfulness of their use and guarantee our privacy.


Konstantinos Kouroupis
Konstantinos Kouroupis: Assistant Professor of European and Data Rights Law, Department of Law, Frederick University, Cyprus.

Dimitrios Vagianos
Dimitrios Vagianos: Electrical & Computer Engineer, Laboratory Teaching staff, Department of International and European Studies, University of Macedonia, Greece.

Aikaterini Totka
Aikaterini Totka: Graduate Student, Department of International and European Studies, University of Macedonia, Greece.
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.
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.
Article

Legislative Effectiveness From a Legislative Drafter’s Perspective

Analysing the Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Act, 2019

Journal European Journal of Law Reform, Issue 3 2021
Keywords Effectiveness Test, legislative quality, drafting process, Transgender persons (Protection of Rights) Act, 2019
Authors Devika Gulati
AbstractAuthor's information

    This article discusses the effectiveness of Transgender persons (Protection of Rights) Act, 2019 and tests the legislation against Dr. Maria Mousmouti’s Effectiveness Test. The author first attempts to trace the real purpose of the Act in terms of specific and broad purposes, and the micro, meso and macro goals. Secondly, the author examines the content of the Act in terms of the legislative techniques used, compliance and enforcement mechanism, and legislative communication. Thirdly, the author studies the context of the Act in terms of its coherence, accessibility and the choice of superstructure.
    Finally, the author checks the Act against the element of result where she examines the monitoring, review and evaluation clauses of the legislation, and the mechanism to collect and assess the legislative results.


Devika Gulati
Devika Gulati is a former Legal Research Associate at the Legislative Department, Ministry of Law and Justice, Government of India. She holds an LLM in Drafting Legislation, Regulation, and Policy from University of London (IALS) The views expressed in this article are her own and do not reflect those of any organization.
Hungarian State Practice

An Institution for a Sustainable Future

The Hungarian Ombudsman for Future Generations

Journal Hungarian Yearbook of International Law and European Law, Issue 1 2021
Keywords intergenerational equity, rights of future generations, ombudsman for future generations, Hungary, right to environment
Authors Kinga Debisso and Marcel Szabó
AbstractAuthor's information

    The purpose of this article is to give an insight into the process leading up to the establishment of the Hungarian Ombudsman for Future Generations and its tasks: an almost 15-year-old, unique legal institution aiming to protect the interests of future generations. The Ombudsman for Future Generations is an example for the institutionalization of the principle of intergenerational justice. The article aims to introduce the characteristics and strengths of the current institutional design and the structural features that allow for the successful operation of the Ombudsman for Future Generations in Hungary. Following an introduction to the political and historical context in which the institution was established, the article describes in detail the Ombudsman’s work, responsibilities, most important functions, elaborating on some examples of its best practices and achievements. Finally, the article touches upon how the example and experiences of the Hungarian institution may be valuable for other countries in Europe and beyond.


Kinga Debisso
Kinga Debisso: political advisor, Ministry of Justice, Budapest.

Marcel Szabó
Marcel Szabó: professor of law, Pázmány Péter Catholic University, Budapest; justice, Constitutional Court of Hungary, Budapest.
Hungarian State Practice

The Public Trust Doctrine, the Non-Derogation Principle and the Protection of Future Generations

The Hungarian Constitutional Court’s Review of the Forest Act

Journal Hungarian Yearbook of International Law and European Law, Issue 1 2021
Keywords public trust, non-derogation, Article P, Constitutional Court of Hungary, future generations
Authors Katalin Sulyok
AbstractAuthor's information

    This article analyzes the doctrinal findings of the Hungarian Constitutional Court with respect to the constitutional protection afforded to future generations in the Fundamental Law. It focuses on Decision No. 14/2020. (VII. 6.) AB in which the Constitutional Court abolished an amendment to the Forest Act for infringing the right to a healthy environment and the environmental interests of future generations as enshrined in Article P of the Fundamental Law. On this occasion, the Constitutional Court for the first time explicitly recognized that Article P embodies the public trust doctrine; and stressed that it confers fiduciary duties on the State to act as a trustee over the natural heritage of the nation for the benefit of future generations, which limits the executive’s discretion to exploit and regulate such resources. This article puts the Hungarian constitutional public trust in a comparative perspective by exploring the origins, role and functioning of similar constitutional public trust provisions in other jurisdictions. This is followed by setting out the normative principles derived by the Hungarian Constitutional Court in its previous practice from Article P, such as the non-derogation principle, the principle of inter-generational equity, the imperative of long-term planning, economical use of resources and the precautionary principle. The article then sets out the legal bases featured in the ex post constitutional challenge brought against the amendment of the Forest Act by the Ombudsman, and the Constitutional Court’s reasoning. It concludes with offering some wider lessons for the judicial enforcement of long-term environmental goals vis-á-vis short-term economic private interests.


Katalin Sulyok
Katalin Sulyok: senior lecturer, ELTE Law School, Budapest; chief legal advisor, Office of the Hungarian Ombudsman for Future Generations, Budapest.
Case Notes

Can a Two-Tailed Dog Be Allowed Into the Polling Booth?

The Case of Magyar Kétfarkú Kutya Párt Versus Hungary Before the ECtHR

Journal Hungarian Yearbook of International Law and European Law, Issue 1 2021
Keywords freedom of speech, elections, ECtHR, democracy, secrecy of votes
Authors János Tamás Papp
AbstractAuthor's information

    The Hungarian satirical Two-Tailed Dog Party (Magyar Kétfarkú Kutya Párt – MKKP) applied to the ECtHR as a result of the decisions rendered by the Hungarian National Electoral Commission, the Curia of Hungary and the Constitutional Court, who ruled that a mobile application developed by the party allowing anonymous users to share their invalid votes violated Hungarian election law. By 16 votes to 1, the Grand Chamber of the ECtHR ruled that the Hungarian authorities had violated the Article of the ECHR on freedom of expression. According to the ECtHR’s reasoning, the severe uncertainties about the possible consequences of the legal provisions applied by the domestic authorities went beyond what is permissible under Article 10(2) ECHR. The ECtHR has ruled that a judicial interpretation of a law’s rules does not inherently violate the requirement that laws be written in such a way that the legal implications are predictable. However, since the national law in this case provided for a case-by-case limitation on the expression of an opinion on voting, electoral bodies and national courts that interpreted and enforced these rules enjoyed an excessive amount of discretion. In conclusion, the ECtHR found that legislation restricting freedom of expression must be treated more strictly in connection with electoral procedures: it must not be in any way misleading or inconsistent.


János Tamás Papp
János Tamás Papp: PhD candidate, research fellow, Pázmány Péter Catholic University, Budapest; media specialist, Institute for Media Studies of the Media Council of the National Media and Infocommunications Authority, Budapest.

Meredith Rossner
Meredith Rossner is Professor of Criminology, Centre for Social Research and Methods, Australian National University, Canberra, Australia.

Miranda Forsyth
Miranda Forsyth is Associate Professor in the School of Regulation and Global Governance, Australian National University, Canberra, Australia. Contact author: Meredith.rossner@anu.edu.au
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 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

‘Think Like Me, and I Will Trust You’

The Effects of Policy Opinion Congruence on Citizens’ Trust in the Parliament

Journal Politics of the Low Countries, Issue 3 2021
Keywords political representation, parliaments, opinion congruence, political trust, public opinion
Authors Awenig Marié and David Talukder
AbstractAuthor's information

    Do citizens with a lower level of political representation evaluate political actors more negatively? While the literature has documented inequalities in political representation, less attention has been given to the extent to which different levels of representation affect citizens’ levels of political trust. We aimed to fill this gap by analysing whether Belgian citizens with a lower level of policy opinion congruence with their party’s legislators have lower levels of trust in the parliament. Our results show that policy opinion congruence has a positive impact on citizens’ political attitudes. Indeed, citizens with policy preferences closer to those of their political representatives tend to have higher levels of trust in the parliament. This rela‍tionship depends on political sophistication: policy opinion congruence affects political trust for most citizens except those who consider themselves to be ‘very interested’ in politics. Citizens with a very high level of interest in politics trust the parliament regardless of policy opinion congruence with their party’s legislators.


Awenig Marié
Awenig Marié is a FNRS research fellow and a PhD candidate at the Université libre de Bruxelles. His main research interests include political inequalities, political representation, parliaments and EU politics.

David Talukder
David Talukder is a PhD candidate at the Université libre de Bruxelles. His main research interests are democratic innovations, political representation, disadvantaged groups and democratic reforms.
Research Note

Peer Assessment in Parliament

Promises and Pitfalls of a Marginalised Method in Parliamentary Research

Journal Politics of the Low Countries, Issue 3 2021
Authors Richard Schobess
AbstractAuthor's information

    Peer assessment is a rather marginalised method in political research. This research note argues that the collective expertise of MPs can complement other data to contribute to more comprehensive evaluations of MPs’ parliamentary work. Yet, this method is potentially flawed by low survey participation and rater bias among MPs. The experience with a peer assessment survey among members of three Belgian parliaments shows that participation does not necessarily need to be problematic. However, the empirical analysis suggests that scholars should control for various forms of rater bias.


Richard Schobess
Richard Schobess is a PhD candidate at the Department of Political Science of Ghent University. His research focuses on parliaments and elections.
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