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Article

Access_open COVID-19-Related Sanitary Crisis and Derogations under Article 15 of the Convention

Considerations in Estonia

Journal East European Yearbook on Human Rights, Issue 1 2020
Keywords human rights, emergency situation, COVID-19 and sanitary crisis, Article 15 of the European Convention on Human Rights, European Court of Human Rights (the ECtHR), Estonia
Authors Maris Kuurberg
AbstractAuthor's information

    During the COVID-19 pandemic, Estonia was one of the states that decided to inform the Secretary General of the Council of Europe of the health-related emergency situation in Estonia and noted, with reference to Article 15 of the European Convention on Human Rights, that some emergency measures may involve a derogation from certain obligations under the Convention. The Government’s considerations proceeded from the unprecedented scale of the sanitary crisis and the scope of extraordinary measures taken to tackle it. Importance was attached to the fact that the Court has never before assessed health-related exceptions allowed in some of the articles of the Convention in a situation which affects the whole nation – not to mention the articles of the Convention which do not set out any exceptions at all. Article 15 of the Convention, on the other hand, is designed to be applicable in public emergency situations threatening the life of the nation.


Maris Kuurberg
Maris Kuurberg (mag.iur.) has been the Estonian Government Agent before the European Court of Human Rights since 2008 (the views expressed are solely those of the author). She works in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. She is also a member of the Bureau of the Council of Europe’s Steering Committee for Human Rights, as well as a member of the same steering committee and a member of the Committee of Experts on the System of the European Convention on Human Rights. Since 1999, she has been a member of the Estonian Bar Association but her activity as an Attorney at Law is suspended since she joined the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Article

Digital Equals Public

Assembly Meetings Under a Lockdown Regime

Journal European Journal of Law Reform, Issue 4 2020
Keywords COVID-19 regulation, temporary legislation, sunset clauses, digitalization, digital democracy, local democracy, experimental legislation
Authors Lianne van Kalken and Evert Stamhuis
AbstractAuthor's information

    In this article we examine the Dutch emergency legislation for local democracy. In response to the COVID-19 pandemic in the Netherlands, the Temporary Act for digital meetings for local/regional government tiers was enacted. The legislature introduced a system of digital debate and decision-making for municipal and provincial councils, the democratically elected assemblies at the local and regional levels. At the same time the Ministry of the Interior and Kingdom Relations set up an evaluation committee to monitor and evaluate the working of the local and provincial governments with this temporary legislation.
    This article discusses the content and application of the temporary provisions for deliberation and decision-making on a digital platform. The purpose of the legislation is to create possibilities for the elected representatives to continue their work during the lockdown. We examine the design and structure of the legislation and disclose the evaluation results so far. The arrangements aim for secure, transparent and reliable democratic practices. Early evidence pertaining to the effects of the Act show that it works effectively only up to a certain level. We critically discuss the sunset clause in the Act and plead against function creep. Moreover, the expectations now and in the future from continuous digitalization of this part of the democratic process should be modest. On the basis of our analysis of the characteristics of the legislation and the effects on the political work of the representatives, we conclude that the current form of digitalization does not provide for the interaction between representatives and their constituencies and the communities at large.


Lianne van Kalken
Lianne van Kalken is lecturer and researcher constitutional law in Erasmus School of Law. She was a member of the evaluation committee, but contributes to this article in a personal capacity. For further affiliations see http://www.linkedin.com/in/liannevankalken/.

Evert Stamhuis
Evert F. Stamhuis is chair Law & Innovation at Erasmus School of Law and senior fellow of the Jean Monnet Centre of Excellence on Digital Governance. See for other affiliations https://www.linkedin.com/in/evertstamhuis/
Article

Access_open States of Emergency

Analysing Global Use of Emergency Powers in Response to COVID-19

Journal European Journal of Law Reform, Issue 4 2020
Keywords coronavirus, emergency law, emergency powers, autocratization, democratic deconsolidation, state of emergency, rule of law, transparency, accountability, legislative scrutiny
Authors Joelle Grogan
AbstractAuthor's information

    The measures taken in response to the coronavirus pandemic have been among the most restrictive in contemporary history, and have raised concerns from the perspective of democracy, human rights, and the rule of law. Building on a study of the legal measures taken in response to pandemic in 74 countries, this article considers the central question of the use of power during an emergency: is it better or worse for democracy and the rule of law to declare an emergency or, instead, to rely on ordinary powers and legislative frameworks? The article then considers whether the use of powers (ordinary or emergency) in response to the pandemic emergency has ultimately been a cause, or catalyst of, further democratic deconsolidation. It concludes on a note of optimism: an emerging best practice of governmental response reliant on public trust bolstered by rationalized and transparent decision-making and the capacity to adapt, change and reform measures and policies.


Joelle Grogan
Dr. Joelle Grogan is Senior Lecturer in Law, Middlesex University London.
Article

Increased Uptake of Surveillance Technologies During COVID-19

Implications for Democracies in the Global South

Journal European Journal of Law Reform, Issue 4 2020
Keywords surveillance technology, platform economy, COVID-19, democracy, global south, belt and road initiative
Authors Alex Read
AbstractAuthor's information

    Social change and introduction of new technologies have historically followed crises such as pandemics, and COVID-19 has seen increasing public tracking through the use of digital surveillance technology. While surveillance technology is a key tool for enhancing virus preparedness and reducing societal risks, the speed of uptake is likely to raise ethical questions where citizens are monitored and personal data is collected. COVID-19 has occurred during a period of democratic decline, and the predominant surveillance-based business model of the ‘platform economy’, together with the development and export of artificial intelligence (AI)-powered surveillance tools, carries particular risks for democratic development in the countries of the Global South. Increased use of surveillance technology has implications for human rights and can undermine the individual privacy required for democracies to flourish. Responses to these threats must come from new regulatory regimes and innovations within democracies and a renewed international approach to the threats across democracies of the Global North and South.


Alex Read
Alex Read, democratic governance consultant for organisations including UNDP, Inter-Parliamentary Union, Westminster Foundation for Democracy.
Article

Does the Fight Against the Pandemic Risk Centralizing Power in Pakistan?

Journal European Journal of Law Reform, Issue 4 2020
Keywords PTI government, 18th amendment, 1973 Constitution, lockdown, economic impact
Authors David A. Thirlby
AbstractAuthor's information

    When the pandemic struck Pakistan, there was a high-profile divergence between how the federal government and the provincial government of Sindh responded. This points to a tension between the need for a national approach to tackle the pandemic and the prerogative of the provinces to deal with health issues under its devolved powers. These powers were the result of the 18th amendment, which restored a parliamentary federal democracy. Power has also been decentralized from executive presidents to parliamentary forms of government. However, parliamentary systems centralize power within the executive: a trend which the pandemic has reinforced. The article will explore the various interplays although it is the economic landscape which will prove most challenging. Although the emergence of a national centralized approach to combat the pandemic points to a weakening of the devolution process and therefore the reasoning behind the 18th amendment, the situation is more complex which this article seeks to explore.


David A. Thirlby
David A. Thirlby is Senior Programme Manager Asia, Westminster Foundation for Democracy
Article

Patience, Ladies

Gender-Sensitive Parliamentary Responses in a Time of Crisis

Journal European Journal of Law Reform, Issue 4 2020
Keywords gender sensitivity, parliament, responsiveness, COVID-19, democracy, women
Authors Sonia Palmieri and Sarah Childs
AbstractAuthor's information

    In early 2020, in the face of the Covid-19 pandemic, numerous parliaments played their rightful democratic role by following the advice of health and economic experts and swiftly passing emergency legislation and relief packages. This was, in many countries, an attempt to reach an equilibrium between saving lives and saving economic livelihoods, on the understanding that both were in serious jeopardy. In the face of public health measures many parliaments also found themselves having to reform their own rules, procedures and practices. In both cases – policy interventions and institutional redesign – it appears that parliamentary responses to the Covid-19 situation were less commonly based on the advice of gender experts or informed by considerations of gender inequalities. Few, if any, emergency packages were designed following a systematic consideration of existing, deeply entrenched gender inequalities, despite continuous public analysis and commentary about the disproportionate gender impacts of the pandemic and the resulting lockdowns; and no parliaments instituted (temporary) rule changes that prioritized the voices of women parliamentarians or constituents. In this article, which draws on our work drafting the UN Women Covid-19 Parliamentary Primer & Checklist, we revisit the democratic case for gender-sensitive parliaments, highlighting their particular relevance to the 2020 pandemic. We introduce our model for gender-sensitive crisis responses across four key stages of the parliamentary process presented in the Primer – representation, deliberation, legislation and scrutiny – and offer an initial assessment of what transpired in the world’s parliaments based on an IPU survey. We suggest that if parliaments are to be gender-sensitive institutions in times of crisis, they must not only change how they do politics but also develop and sustain a robust political culture that values gender equality and an ethic of caring that supports new rules, procedures and practices that better redress institutional gender deficiencies.


Sonia Palmieri
Sonia Palmieri, Australian National University.

Sarah Childs
Sarah Childs, Royal Holloway, University of London.
Article

Access_open Basel IV Postponed: A Chance to Regulate Shadow Banking?

Journal Erasmus Law Review, Issue 2 2020
Keywords Basel Accords, EU Law, shadow banking, financial stability, prudential regulation
Authors Katarzyna Parchimowicz and Ross Spence
AbstractAuthor's information

    In the aftermath of the 2007 global financial crisis, regulators have agreed a substantial tightening of prudential regulation for banks operating in the traditional banking sector (TBS). The TBS is stringently regulated under the Basel Accords to moderate financial stability and to minimise risk to government and taxpayers. While prudential regulation is important from a financial stability perspective, the flipside is that the Basel Accords only apply to the TBS, they do not regulate the shadow banking sector (SBS). While it is not disputed that the SBS provides numerous benefits given the net credit growth of the economy since the global financial crisis has come from the SBS rather than traditional banking channels, the SBS also poses many risks. Therefore, the fact that the SBS is not subject to prudential regulation is a cause of serious systemic concern. The introduction of Basel IV, which compliments Basel III, seeks to complete the Basel framework on prudential banking regulation. On the example of this set of standards and its potential negative consequences for the TBS, this paper aims to visualise the incentives for TBS institutions to move some of their activities into the SBS, and thus stress the need for more comprehensive regulation of the SBS. Current coronavirus crisis forced Basel Committee to postpone implementation of the Basel IV rules – this could be perceived as a chance to complete the financial regulatory framework and address the SBS as well.


Katarzyna Parchimowicz
Katarzyna Parchimowicz, LLM. Finance (Frankfurt), is PhD candidate at the University of Wrocław, Poland, and Young Researcher at the European Banking Institute, Frankfurt, Germany.

Ross Spence
Ross Spence, EURO-CEFG, is PhD Fellow at Leiden University Law School, and Young Researcher at the European Banking Institute and Research Associate at the Amsterdam Centre for Law and Economics.
Article

Access_open Recourse to Mediation in Times of Crisis

Is Business Ripe for a New Approach That Saves Time and Preserves Relationships, Also in the Field of Competition Law?

Journal Corporate Mediation Journal, Issue 1 2020
Keywords cross-border mediation, crises, Covid-19
Authors Pierre Kirch
AbstractAuthor's information

    The purpose of this article is to share some practical reflections on cross-border mediation and its application to Private Competition Disputes in Europe, at this time of crisis. The outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic has led to a rethinking of methods of dispute resolution, everywhere. In Europe, whether before the European Union courts in Luxembourg or the civil and commercial courts in the Member States, judicial procedures are at a standstill at the time of writing (mid-2020). Once the courts get going again, it will probably take years to get the judicial system back in good working order. It may be necessary to take shortcuts to get the system back in shape, such as cancellation of hearings, recourse to summary forms of justice, etc. That is not what the parties bargained for at the outset of their judicial procedure.


Pierre Kirch
Avocat à la Cour (Paris & Brussels Bars), Partner, Paul Hastings (Europe) LLP, mediator certified by the Centre de Médiation et d’Arbitrage de Paris (CMAP, Paris) and the Center for Effective Dispute Resolution (CEDR, London).
Discussion

Access_open Biopolitics and the Coronavirus

Foucault, Agamben, Žižek

Journal Netherlands Journal of Legal Philosophy, Issue 1 2020
Keywords Biopolitics, Coronavirus, Rule of law, Foucault, Agamben
Authors Lukas van den Berge
Author's information

Lukas van den Berge
Lukas van den Berge is assistant professor of legal theory at Utrecht University.
Case Law

2020/1 EELC’s review of the year 2019

Journal European Employment Law Cases, Issue 1 2020
Authors Ruben Houweling, Daiva Petrylaitė, Peter Schöffmann e.a.
Abstract

    Various of our academic board analysed employment law cases from last year. However, first, we start with some general remarks.


Ruben Houweling

Daiva Petrylaitė

Peter Schöffmann

Attila Kun

Francesca Maffei

Jean-Philippe Lhernould

Niklas Bruun

Jan-Pieter Vos

Luca Ratti

Anthony Kerr

Petr Hůrka

Michal Vrajík
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