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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
Pending Cases

Case C-731/21, Miscellaneous, Fundamental Rights

DM – v – Azienda Ospedale-Università di Padova, reference lodged by the Tribunale ordinario di Padova (Italy) on 13 December 2021

Journal European Employment Law Cases, Issue 1 2022
Keywords Miscellaneous, Fundamental Rights

    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.

    The Danish Ministry of Employment has been held liable for a protracted legislative process following the ECJ’s ruling in the Ole Andersen case (C-499/08), which concluded that the Salaried Employees Act was not compliant with Directive 2000/78/EC concerning equal treatment in employment and occupation (prohibition of discrimination on grounds of age).


Christian K. Clasen
Christian K. Clasen is a partner at Norrbom Vinding, Copenhagen.

    The German Federal Labour Court has held that where a job-filling procedure disregards mandatory procedural and/or promotional obligations in favour of severely disabled persons, this results in the presumption that an unsuccessful severely disabled applicant had not been considered in the procedure and hence had been disadvantaged on account of their severe disability. In the case at hand the severely disabled job applicant was entitled to compensation for non-pecuniary damage.


Susanne Burkert-Vavilova
Susanne Burkert-Vavilova is an attorney-at-law at Luther Rechtsanwaltsgesellschaft mbH.

    Working as a rider for the Deliveroo platform is a professional activity that can be performed as a self-employed worker, the Labour Tribunal of Brussels has decided, which also ruled out the possibility of Deliveroo riders enjoying the fiscally beneficial status available for workers active on electronic platforms of the collaborative economy (or ‘sharing economy’).


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

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

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.”
Article

Access_open Dividing the Beds: A Risk Community under ‘Code Black’?

Journal Netherlands Journal of Legal Philosophy, Issue 2 2021
Keywords Cosmopolitan solidarity, COVID-19, Health care regulation, Risk society, Argumentative discourse analysis
Authors Tobias Arnoldussen
AbstractAuthor's information

    During the COVID-19 crisis a risk of ‘code black’ emerged in the Netherlands. Doctors mentioned that in case of code black, very senior citizens might not receive intensive care treatment for COVID-19 due to shortages. Sociologist Ulrich Beck argued that palpable risks lead to the creation of new networks of solidarity. In this article this assumption is investigated by analyzing the different storylines prevalent in the public discussion about ‘code black’. Initially, storylines showing sympathy with the plight of the elderly came to the fore. However, storylines brought forward by medical organizations eventually dominated, giving them the opportunity to determine health care policy to a large extent. Their sway over policymaking led to a distribution scheme of vaccines that was favourable for medical personnel, but unfavourable for the elderly. The discursive process on code black taken as a whole displayed a struggle over favourable risk positions, instead of the formation of risk solidarity.


Tobias Arnoldussen
Tobias Arnoldussen is Assistant Professor of Jurisprudence at Tilburg Law School.
Article

Access_open Suffering from Vulnerability

On the Relation Between Law, Contingency and Solidarity

Journal Netherlands Journal of Legal Philosophy, Issue 2 2021
Keywords Vulnerability, Contingency, Freedom and Anxiety, Solidarity, Legal concept of inclusion
Authors Benno Zabel
AbstractAuthor's information

    The COVID-19 crisis has produced or amplified disruptive processes in societies. This article wants to argue for the fact that we understand the meaning of the COVID-19 crisis only if we relate it to the fundamental vulnerability of modern life and the awareness of vulnerability of whole societies. Vulnerability in modernity are expressions of a reality of freedom that is to some extent considered contingent and therefore unsecured. It is true that law is understood today as the protective power of freedom. The thesis of the article, however, boils down to the fact that the COVID-19 crisis has resulted in a new way of thinking about the protection of freedom. This also means that the principle of solidarity must be assigned a new social role. Individual and societal vulnerability refer thereafter to an interconnectedness, dependency, and a future perspective of freedom margins that, in addition to the moral one, can also indicate a need for legal protection. In this respect, law has not only a function of delimitation, but also one of inclusion.


Benno Zabel
Benno Zabel is Professor of Criminal Law and Philosophy of Law at the University of Bonn.

    This comparative study looks into the proposed “vaccine passport” initiative from various human rights aspects. It was undertaken by the Global Digital Human Rights Network, an action started under the EU’s Cooperation in Science and Technology programme. The network currently unites more than 80 scholars and practitioners from 40 countries. The findings are based on responses to questions put to the network members by the authors of this study in February 2021.


Mart Susi
Mart Susi is Professor of Human Rights Law at Tallinn University, Editor-in-Chief, Action Chair of Global Digital Human Rights Network.

Tiina Pajuste
Tiina Pajuste is Professor of International Law and Security at Tallinn University.

    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.

    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.
Pending Cases

Case C-681/21, Age Discrimination, Pension

Versicherungsanstalt öffentlich Bediensteter, Eisenbahnen und Bergbau, B, reference lodged by the Verwaltungsgerichtshof (Austria) on 11 November 2021

Journal European Employment Law Cases, Issue 4 2021
Keywords Age Discrimination, Pension

    The Irish High Court has determined that, pursuant to the definitions of ‘employment contract’ and ‘fixed-term employee’ in the Protection of Employees (Fixed-Term Work) Act 2003 (the ‘2003 Act’), a permanent employee temporarily upgrading to a more senior role on a fixed-term basis, was entitled to protection under the 2003 Act as a fixed-term employee despite the fact that he had the right to revert to his substantive terms and conditions as a permanent employee. The Court held that Council Directive 1999/70/EC on fixed-term work (the ‘Directive’) was not only concerned with an employee’s entitlement to continued employment, but also the nature, quality and terms and conditions of that employment. While Member States have the discretion to provide more favourable treatment to a broader category of employees than the Directive required, they could not define terms left undefined in the Directive or framework agreement on fixed-term contracts so as to arbitrarily exclude certain categories of workers from protection as ‘fixed-term workers’.


Sarah O’Mahoney
Sarah O’Mahoney is a General Knowledge Lawyer at Mason Hayes & Curran.
Article

Access_open A Comparative Perspective on the Protection of Hate Crime Victims in the European Union

New Developments in Criminal Procedures in the EU Member States

Journal Erasmus Law Review, Issue 3 2021
Keywords hate crime, victims, victim rights, procedural justice, EU Member States, criminal procedure
Authors Suzan van der Aa, Robin Hofmann and Jacques Claessen
AbstractAuthor's information

    Hate crime victims involved in a criminal procedure experience difficulties that are different from problems encountered by other victims. In trying to meet the specific procedural needs of hate crime victims many EU Member States have introduced protective measures and services in criminal proceedings, but the adopted approaches are widely disparate. By reporting the results of an EU-wide comparative survey into hate crime victims within national criminal procedures the authors aim to: (1) make an inventory of the national (legal) definitions of hate crime and the protection measures available (on paper) for hate crime victims; and (2) critically discuss certain national choices, inter alia by juxtaposing the procedural measures to the procedural needs of hate crime victims to see if there are any lacunae from a victimological perspective. The authors conclude that the Member States should consider expanding their current corpus of protection measures in order to address some of the victims’ most urgent needs.


Suzan van der Aa
Suzan van der Aa, PhD, is Professor of Criminal Law at Maastricht University, the Netherlands.

Robin Hofmann
Robin Hofmann is Assistant Professor at Maastricht University, the Netherlands.

Jacques Claessen
Jacques Claessen is Professor at Maastricht University, the Netherands.
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.
Article

Legal Tradition and Human Rights

A Quantitative Comparative Analysis of Developing Countries

Journal European Journal of Law Reform, Issue 3 2021
Keywords comparative law, comparative constitutional analysis, human rights, legal traditions, quantitative constitutional analysis, economic rights, social and family rights, civil and political rights
Authors Dhanraj R. Singh
AbstractAuthor's information

    This analysis examines the relationship between legal tradition and constitutional human rights. It experiments with a quantitative comparative methodology to compare economic rights, social and family rights, and civil and political rights between countries with common law, civil law and mixed law legal traditions. The results show that developing countries with a civil law legal tradition provide more constitutional human rights than their counterparts with a common law legal tradition. Although preliminary and imperfect, the results challenge the notion of superiority of the common law legal tradition and human rights. The quantitative comparative framework used offers a new methodological frontier for comparative constitutional law researchers to examine relationships between legal traditions.


Dhanraj R. Singh
Dhanraj R. Singh is a graduate student at the Institute of Advanced Legal Studies, University of London.
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