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Article

Access_open Can Non-discrimination Law Change Hearts and Minds?

Journal Erasmus Law Review, Issue 3 2020
Keywords law and society, social change, discrimination, non-discrimination law, positive action
Authors Anita Böcker
AbstractAuthor's information

    A question that has preoccupied sociolegal scholars for ages is whether law can change ‘hearts and minds’. This article explores whether non-discrimination law can create social change, and, more particularly, whether it can change attitudes and beliefs as well as external behaviour. The first part examines how sociolegal scholars have theorised about the possibility and desirability of using law as an instrument of social change. The second part discusses the findings of empirical research on the social working of various types of non-discrimination law. What conclusions can be drawn about the ability of non-discrimination law to create social change? What factors influence this ability? And can non-discrimination law change people’s hearts and minds as well as their behaviour? The research literature does not provide an unequivocal answer to the latter question. However, the overall picture emerging from the sociolegal literature is that law is generally more likely to bring about changes in external behaviour and that it can influence attitudes and beliefs only indirectly, by altering the situations in which attitudes and opinions are formed.


Anita Böcker
Anita Böcker is associate professor of Sociology of Law at Radboud University, Nijmegen.
Article

Access_open How Far Should the State Go to Counter Prejudice?

A Positive State Obligation to Counter Dehumanisation

Journal Erasmus Law Review, Issue 3 2020
Keywords prejudice, soft paternalism, empathy, liberalism, employment discrimination, access to goods and services
Authors Ioanna Tourkochoriti
AbstractAuthor's information

    This article argues that it is legitimate for the state to practice soft paternalism towards changing hearts and minds in order to prevent behaviour that is discriminatory. Liberals accept that it is not legitimate for the state to intervene in order to change how people think because ideas and beliefs are wrong in themselves. It is legitimate for the state to intervene with the actions of a person only when there is a risk of harm to others and when there is a threat to social coexistence. Preventive action of the state is legitimate if we consider the immaterial and material harm that discrimination causes. It causes harm to the social standing of the person, psychological harm, economic and existential harm. All these harms threaten peaceful social coexistence. This article traces a theory of permissible government action. Research in the areas of behavioural psychology, neuroscience and social psychology indicates that it is possible to bring about a change in hearts and minds. Encouraging a person to adopt the perspective of the person who has experienced discrimination can lead to empathetic understanding. This, can lead a person to critically evaluate her prejudice. The paper argues that soft paternalism towards changing hearts and minds is legitimate in order to prevent harm to others. It attempts to legitimise state coercion in order to eliminate prejudice and broader social patterns of inequality and marginalisation. And it distinguishes between appropriate and non-appropriate avenues the state could pursue in order to eliminate prejudice. Policies towards eliminating prejudice should address the rational and the emotional faculties of a person. They should aim at using methods and techniques that focus on persuasion and reduce coercion. They should raise awareness of what prejudice is and how it works in order to facilitate well-informed voluntary decisions. The version of soft paternalism towards changing minds and attitudes defended in this article makes it consistent with liberalism.


Ioanna Tourkochoriti
Ioanna Tourkochoriti is Lecturer Above the Bar, NUI Galway School of Law.

    The entry into force of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) pushed state obligations to counter prejudice and stereotypes concerning people with disabilities to the forefront of international human rights law. The CRPD is underpinned by a model of inclusive equality, which views disability as a social construct that results from the interaction between persons with impairments and barriers, including attitudinal barriers, that hinder their participation in society. The recognition dimension of inclusive equality, together with the CRPD’s provisions on awareness raising, mandates that states parties target prejudice and stereotypes about the capabilities and contributions of persons with disabilities to society. Certain human rights treaty bodies, including the Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and, to a much lesser extent, the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women, require states to eradicate harmful stereotypes and prejudice about people with disabilities in various forms of interpersonal relationships. This trend is also reflected, to a certain extent, in the jurisprudence of the European Court of Human Rights. This article assesses the extent to which the aforementioned human rights bodies have elaborated positive obligations requiring states to endeavour to change ‘hearts and minds’ about the inherent capabilities and contributions of people with disabilities. It analyses whether these bodies have struck the right balance in elaborating positive obligations to eliminate prejudice and stereotypes in interpersonal relationships. Furthermore, it highlights the convergences or divergences that are evident in the bodies’ approaches to those obligations.


Andrea Broderick
Andrea Broderick is Assistant Professor at the Universiteit Maastricht, the Netherlands.
Article

Access_open The Promotion of Equality and Prevention of Unfair Discrimination Act 4 of 2000: Proposals for Legislative Reform to Promote Equality through Schools and the Education System

Journal Erasmus Law Review, Issue 3 2020
Keywords Transformative pedagogy, equality legislation, promotion of equality, law reform, using law to change hearts and minds
Authors Anton Kok, Lwando Xaso, Annelize Steenekamp e.a.
AbstractAuthor's information

    In this article, we focus on how the education system can be used to promote equality in the context of changing people’s hearts and minds – values, morals and mindsets. The duties contained in the Promotion of Equality and Prevention of Unfair Discrimination Act 4 of 2000 (‘Equality Act’) bind private and public schools, educators, learners, governing bodies and the state. The Equality Act calls on the state and all persons to promote substantive equality, but the relevant sections in the Equality Act have not been given effect yet, and are therefore currently not enforceable. We set out how the duty to promote equality should be concretised in the Equality Act to inter alia use the education system to promote equality in schools; in other words, how should an enforceable duty to promote equality in schools be fashioned in terms of the Equality Act. Should the relevant sections relating to the promotion of equality come into effect in their current form, enforcement of the promotion of equality will take the form of obliging schools to draft action plans and submit these to the South African Human Rights Commission. We deem this approach inadequate and therefore propose certain amendments to the Equality Act to allow for a more sensible monitoring of schools’ duty to promote equality. We explain how the duty to promote equality should then play out practically in the classroom to facilitate a change in learners’ hearts and minds.


Anton Kok
Anton Kok is Professor of Jurisprudence at the Faculty of Law of the University of Pretoria.

Lwando Xaso
Lwando Xaso is an independent lawyer, writer and historian.

Annelize Steenekamp
Annelize Steenekamp is an independent lawyer.

Michelle Oelofse
Michelle Oelofse is an Academic associate and LLM candidate at the University of Pretoria.
Article

Regional Differentiation in Europe, between EU Proposals and National Reforms

Journal European Journal of Law Reform, Issue 3 2020
Keywords regional differentiation, regional disparities, autonomy, regionalism, subsidiarity, European Union, multilevel governance
Authors Gabriella Saputelli
AbstractAuthor's information

    Regions and local governments play a very important role in the application of European law and in the implementation of European policies. The economic crisis of 2008 has accentuated territorial and social differentiation and highlighted the negative effects of globalization. This circumstance has created resentment among peripheral and marginal communities in the electoral results, but also a strong request for involvement, participation and sometimes independence from territories. These developments raise new questions about the relationship between the EU and the Regions and, more widely, about the role of subnational entities in the EU integration process, as they are the institutions nearest to citizens.
    The aim of this article is to contribute to that debate by exploring the following research question: ‘is subnational differentiation positive or negative for European integration?’ Towards a possible answer, two perspectives are examined from a constitutional law approach. From the top down, it examines the attitude of the EU towards regional differentiation, from the origins of the EU integration process and its development until recent initiatives and proposals. From the bottom up, it analyses the role of subnational entities by presenting the Italian experience, through the reforms that have been approved over the years until the recent proposal for asymmetric regionalism. The aim is to understand whether regional differentiation still represents a positive element for the European integration process, considering the role that subnational entities play in many policies and the challenges described earlier.


Gabriella Saputelli
Researcher of Public Law at the Institute for the Study of Regionalism, Federalism and Self Government (ISSiRFA) of the National Research Council (CNR).
Article

Political Sophistication and Populist Party Support

The Case of PTB-PVDA and VB in the 2019 Belgian Elections

Journal Politics of the Low Countries, Issue 3 2020
Keywords populist voters, political sophistication, voting motivations, Belgium, elections
Authors Marta Gallina, Pierre Baudewyns and Jonas Lefevere
AbstractAuthor's information

    In this article, we investigate the moderating role of political sophistication on the vote for populist parties in Belgium. Building on the literature about the diverse determinants of populist party support, we investigate whether issue considerations and populism-related motivations play a bigger role in the electoral calculus of politically sophisticated voters.
    Using data from the 2019 general elections in Belgium, we focus on the cases of Vlaams Belang (VB) and Parti du Travail de Belgique- Partij van de Arbeid (PTB-PVDA). We find evidence suggesting that political sophistication enhances the impact of populism-related motivations on populist party support, although the effects are contingent on the party. Moreover, we show that, for issue considerations, the moderation effect only comes into play for VB voters: the impact of anti-immigrant considerations is greater at increasing levels of political sophistication.


Marta Gallina
Marta Gallina is a PhD Student at the Université catholique de Louvain, Belgium. She obtained her BA and MA in Social Sciences at the University of Milan. Her research interests regard the study of political behaviour, political sophistication, issue dimensionality, populism and Voting Advice Applications. Her work appeared in scientific journals such as Statistics, Politics and Policy, Environmental Politics and Italian Political Science.

Pierre Baudewyns
Pierre Baudewyns is Professor of political behaviour at UCLouvain. He is involved in different projects (voters, candidates) related to National Election Study. Results of his research have been published in Electoral Studies, European Political Science, Regional & Federal Studies, West European Politics and Comparative European Politics.

Jonas Lefevere
Jonas Lefevere is research professor of political communication at the Institute for European Studies and assistant professor of communication at Vesalius College. Since 2018, he is also vice-chair of the ECPR Standing Group on Political Communication. His research interests deal with the communication strategies of political parties, and the effects of election campaigns on voters’ electoral behaviour. He has published on these topics in, amongst others, Electoral Studies, Public Opinion Quarterly, Political Communication and International Journal of Public Opinion Research.
Article

Drivers of Support for the Populist Radical Left and Populist Radical Right in Belgium

An Analysis of the VB and the PVDA-PTB Vote at the 2019 Elections

Journal Politics of the Low Countries, Issue 3 2020
Keywords populism, voting, behaviour, Belgium, elections
Authors Ine Goovaerts, Anna Kern, Emilie van Haute e.a.
AbstractAuthor's information

    This study investigates how protest attitudes and ideological considerations affected the 2019 election results in Belgium, and particularly the vote for the radical right-wing populist party Vlaams Belang (VB) and for the radical left-wing populist party Partij van de Arbeid-Parti du Travail de Belgique (PVDA-PTB). Our results confirm that both protest attitudes and ideological considerations play a role to distinguish radical populist voters from mainstream party voters in general. However, when opposed to their second-best choice, we show that particularly protest attitudes matter. Moreover, in comparing radical right- and left-wing populist voters, the article disentangles the respective weight of these drivers on the two ends of the political spectrum. Being able to portray itself as an alternative to mainstream can give these parties an edge among a certain category of voters, albeit this position is also difficult to hold in the long run.


Ine Goovaerts
Ine Goovaerts is a Doctoral Candidate of the Democratic Innovations and Legitimacy Research Group at the University of Leuven. Her research focuses on the quality of political discourse, with a specific focus on incivility and argumentation quality.

Anna Kern
Anna Kern is an Assistant Professor at the Department of Political Science of Ghent University. Her research focuses on political participation, political equality and political legitimacy. Her work has been published in journals such as West European Politics, Local Government Studies, Social Science Research and Political Behavior.

Emilie van Haute
Emilie van Haute is Chair of the Department of Political Science at the Université libre de Bruxelles (ULB) and researcher at the Centre d’étude de la vie politique (Cevipol). Her research interests focus on party membership, intra-party dynamics, elections and voting behaviour. Her research has appeared in West European Politics, Party Politics, Electoral Studies, Political Studies, European Political Science and Acta Politica. She is co-editor of Acta Politica.

Sofie Marien
Sofie Marien is Associate Professor at the University of Leuven, where she is director of the Democratic Innovations and Legitimacy Research Group. Her research has appeared in journals such as Political Behavior, European Journal of Political Research, European Sociological Review and Political Research Quarterly.
Research Note

Campaigning Online and Offline: Different Ballgames?

Presidentialization, Issue Attention and Negativity in Parties’ Facebook and Newspaper Ads in the 2019 Belgian General Elections

Journal Politics of the Low Countries, Issue 3 2020
Keywords political advertising, Belgium, social media, newspapers, campaign
Authors Jonas Lefevere, Peter Van Aelst and Jeroen Peeters
AbstractAuthor's information

    This Research Note investigates party advertising in newspapers and on social media (Facebook) during the 2019 general elections in Flanders, the largest region of Belgium. The 2019 elections saw a marked increase in the use of social media advertising by parties, whereas newspaper advertising saw a decline. Prior research that compares multiple types of advertising, particularly advertising on social and legacy media remains limited. As such, based on a quantitative content analysis we investigate not just the prevalence of party advertising on both types of media, but also compare the level of negativity, presidentialisation, and issue emphasis. Our analysis reveals substantial differences: we find that not only the type of advertisements varies across the platforms, but also that social media ads tend to be more negative. Finally, parties’ issue emphasis varies substantially as well, with different issues being emphasized in newspaper and Facebook advertisements.


Jonas Lefevere
Jonas Lefevere is research professor of political communication at the institute for European Studies (VUB) and assistant professor at Vesalius College, Brussels.

Peter Van Aelst
Peter Van Aelst is a research professor at the department of political science at the University of Antwerp.

Jeroen Peeters
Jeroen Peeters is a PhD student at the department of political science at the University of Antwerp.
Article

Access_open Voters of Populist Parties and Support for Reforms of Representative Democracy in Belgium

Journal Politics of the Low Countries, Issue 3 2020
Keywords Belgian politics, democratic reforms, elections, populist voters, representative democracy
Authors Lisa van Dijk, Thomas Legein, Jean-Benoit Pilet e.a.
AbstractAuthor's information

    Recently, studies have burgeoned on the link between populism and demands for democratic reforms. In particular, scholars have been debating the link between populist citizens or voters and support for referendums. In this article, we examine voters of populist parties (Vlaams Belang (VB) and Parti du Travail de Belgique-Partij van de Arbeid (PTB-PVDA)) in Belgium in 2019 and we look at their attitudes towards various types of democratic reforms. We find that voters of populist parties differ from the non-populist electorate in their support for different kinds of reforms of representative democracy. Voters of VB and PTB-PVDA have in common stronger demands for limiting politicians’ prerogatives, for introducing binding referendums and for participatory budgeting. While Vlaams Belang voters are not significantly different from the non-populist electorate on advisory referendums, citizens’ forums or technocratic reform, PVDA-PTB voters seem more enthusiastic.


Lisa van Dijk
Lisa van Dijk (corresponding author), KU Leuven.

Thomas Legein
Thomas Legein, Université libre de Bruxelles (ULB).

Jean-Benoit Pilet
Jean-Benoit Pilet, Université libre de Bruxelles (ULB).

Sofie Marien
Sofie Marien, KU Leuven.
Article

Emotions and Vote Choice

An Analysis of the 2019 Belgian Elections

Journal Politics of the Low Countries, Issue 3 2020
Keywords Belgium, elections, emotions, voting behaviour
Authors Caroline Close and Emilie van Haute
AbstractAuthor's information

    This article digs into the relationship between voters’ political resentment and their electoral choice in 2019 by focusing on the respondents’ emotions towards politics. Using the RepResent 2019 voter survey, eight emotions are analysed in their relation to voting behaviour: four negative (anger, bitterness, worry and fear) and four positive (hope, relief, joy and satisfaction). We confirm that voters’ emotional register is at least two-dimensional, with one positive and one negative dimension, opening the possibility for different combinations of emotions towards politics. We also find different emotional patterns across party choices, and more crucially, we uncover a significant effect of emotions (especially negative ones) on vote choice, even when controlling for other determinants. Finally, we look at the effect of election results on emotions and we observe a potential winner vs. loser effect with distinctive dynamics in Flanders and in Wallonia.


Caroline Close
Caroline Close is Assistant Professor at the Université libre de Bruxelles (Charleroi campus). Her research and teaching interests include party politics, representation and political participation from a comparative perspective. She has published her work in Party Politics, Political Studies, Parliamentary Affairs, The Journal of Legislative Studies, Representation, Acta Politica and the Journal of European Integration. She regularly contributes to research and publications on Belgian politics.

Emilie van Haute
Emilie van Haute is Chair of the Department of Political Science at the Université libre de Bruxelles (ULB) and researcher at the Centre d’étude de la vie politique (Cevipol). Her research interests focus on party membership, intra-party dynamics, elections, and voting behaviour. Her research has appeared in West European Politics, Party Politics, Electoral Studies, Political Studies, European Political Science and Acta Politica. She is co-editor of Acta Politica.
Article

Urgenda to Be Followed

Will the Courts Be the Last Resort to Prevent Dangerous Climate Change?

Journal Hungarian Yearbook of International Law and European Law, Issue 1 2020
Keywords climate change, Urgenda, Paris Agreement, effort sharing, IPCC
Authors András Huszár
AbstractAuthor's information

    The fight against climate change has reached new battlegrounds. National courts have become the stage where individuals and communities are trying to force Governments or other public and private legal entities to do more. After more than four years of legal battle, the Dutch Supreme Court has settled perhaps one of the most well-known climate cases in literature so far: Urgenda Foundation v. the State of the Netherlands. The essence of the judgment is that the Dutch Government was ordered to comply with the greenhouse gas emission reduction target deemed necessary by the international community. The way in which the Court has arrived at this conclusion in terms of the concrete obligation is questionable. While the ruling is based on various legal bases, the present article examines solely the arguments derived from international climate law and science. To that end it elaborates on the challenges of establishing the substance of a legally binding obligation for individual states concerning mitigation, it analyzes the nature of joint mitigation efforts, it looks at reports of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change used as evidence in court procedures, and finally, it explores the possible future of climate litigation in light of the legally binding ‘ultimate’ goal of climate policy introduced by the Paris Agreement.


András Huszár
András Huszár: PhD student, National University of Public Service, Budapest; founder and director, Green Policy Center.
Literature Review

László Fodor, A falu füstje (Book Review)

Gondolat, Budapest, 2019, 480 p, ISBN 978-963-693-364-7

Journal Hungarian Yearbook of International Law and European Law, Issue 1 2020
Authors István Hoffman
Author's information

István Hoffman
István Hoffman: professor of law, ELTE Law School, Budapest; professor of university, Maria Curie-Skłodowska University, Lublin.
Article

The ECtHR’s Grand Chamber Judgment in Ilias and Ahmed Versus Hungary: A Practical and Realistic Approach

Can This Paradigm Shift Lead the Reform of the Common European Asylum System?

Journal Hungarian Yearbook of International Law and European Law, Issue 1 2020
Keywords ECHR, Hungarian transit zone, deprivation of liberty, concept of safe third country, Common European Asylum System
Authors Ágnes Töttős
AbstractAuthor's information

    The judgment of the Grand Chamber of the ECtHR in Ilias and Ahmed v. Hungary reflected a big turn of the ECtHR towards a practical and realistic approach. Although the Grand Chamber found that Hungary by choosing to use inadmissibility grounds and expel the applicants to Serbia failed to carry out a thorough assessment of the Serbian asylum system, including the risk of summary removal, contrary to the Chamber it found that a confinement of 23 days in 2015 did not constitute a de facto deprivation of liberty. This paradigm shift is already visible in further decisions of the Court, and it could even serve as a basis for a new direction when reforming the Common European Asylum System.


Ágnes Töttős
Ágnes Töttős: lecturer, Pázmány Péter Catholic University, Budapest; JHA counselor responsible for migration and asylum issues at the Permanent Representation of Hungary to the EU, Brussels.
Article

European Citizens’ Initiatives for the Protection and Promotion of Rights and Interests of National Minorities

Latest Developments

Journal Hungarian Yearbook of International Law and European Law, Issue 1 2020
Keywords European Citizens’ Initiative, national minorities, Minority SafePack, cohesion policy, participatory democracy
Authors Balázs Tárnok
AbstractAuthor's information

    This paper examines the latest developments in the two minority-related European Citizens’ Initiatives (ECI), the Minority SafePack Initiative and the Cohesion Policy Initiative (ECI on National Minority Regions). A key theoretical question of this paper is whether the ECI can be seen as an effective tool for the protection and promotion of the rights and interests of national minorities in the EU. The paper presents the most recent judgments of the General Court and the CJEU related to these ECIs. The Courts made important statements in terms of the admissibility criteria of ECIs, as well the possibility to propose EU legislation aiming to increase the protection of persons belonging to national and linguistic minorities. The paper also investigates the experiences of the signature collection campaign of the Cohesion Policy Initiative and the current status of the Minority SafePack Initiative in the examination phase. Finally, the paper aims to set up a prognosis on the future of these ECIs, taking into consideration the Commission’s latest proposal on the extension of the ECI deadlines.


Balázs Tárnok
Balázs Tárnok: junior research fellow, National University of Public Service, Europe Strategy Research Institute, Budapest; PhD candidate, Pázmány Péter Catholic University, Budapest.

Gábor Kecskés
Gábor Kecskés: research fellow, Eötvös Loránd Research Network, Centre for Social Sciences, Institute for Legal Studies, Budapest; associate professor of law, Széchenyi István University, Győr.
Article

An Australian Aboriginal in-prison restorative justice process: a worldview explanation

Journal The International Journal of Restorative Justice, Issue 3 2020
Keywords Australian Aboriginal, prison, recidivism, worldview, restorative justice
Authors Jane Anderson
AbstractAuthor's information

    As a response to the over-representation of Australian Aboriginal offenders in Western Australian prisons and high rates of reoffending, this article presents a sketch of Western and Australian Aboriginal worldviews and core symbols as a basis for understanding the rehabilitative-restorative needs of this prisoner cohort. The work first reviews and argues that the Western-informed Risk-Need-Responsivity model of programming for Australian Aboriginal prisoners has limited value for preventing reoffending. An introduction and description are then given to an Aboriginal in-prison restorative justice process (AIPRJP) which is delivered in a regional Western Australian prison. The process is largely undergirded by an Australian Aboriginal worldview and directed to delivering a culturally constructive and corrective intervention. The AIPRJP uses a range of symbolic forms (i.e. ritual, myth, play, art, information), which are adapted to the prison context to bring about the aims of restorative justice. The article contends that culturally informed restorative justice processes can produce intermediate outcomes that can directly or indirectly be associated with reductions in reoffending.


Jane Anderson
Jane Anderson is Honorary Research Fellow, Anthropology and Sociology, Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences, The University of Western Australia, Crawley, Australia. Contact author: jane.a@westnet.com.au; jane.anderson@uwa.edu.au.

Gerd Delattre
Gerd Delattre was head of the TOA-Servicebureau by DBH e. V. in Cologne/Germany for over 20 years. He is considered a pioneer of victim-offender mediation in Germany.

Christoph Willms
Christoph Willms is assistant to the head of the TOA-Servicebureau by DBH e. V. Contact authors: gerd@delattre.de, christophwillms@web.de.
Article

Artificial Intelligence in the Courtroom

Increasing or Decreasing Access to Justice?

Journal International Journal of Online Dispute Resolution, Issue 1 2020
Keywords artificial intelligence, robojudge, separation of powers, algorithm, due proces
Authors Analisa Morrison
AbstractAuthor's information

    Jurisdictions around the world are experimenting with the use of artificially intelligent systems to help them adjudicate cases. With heavily overloaded dockets and cases that go on for years, many courts in the U.S. are eager to follow suit. However, American authorities should be slow to substitute human judges with automated entities. The uniqueness of the U.S. Constitution has demands that artificially intelligent “judges” may not be able to meet, starting with a machine’s lack of what may be called “true intelligence”. Philosopher John Searle wrote about the distinction between true intelligence and artificial intelligence in his famous “Chinese Room” analogy, which is applicable to the discussion of artificial intelligence in the courtroom. Former Navy Reserves officer, robotics engineer, and current patent lawyer Bob Lambrechts analyzed the idea of robots in court in his article, May It Please the Algorithm. Other scholars have started to explore it, too, but the idea of robots as judges remains a vast legal frontier that ought to be excavated thoroughly before it is inhabited by the American legal system.


Analisa Morrison
Juris Doctor Candidate, 2021, University of the Pacific, McGeorge School of Law
Article

‘Firewalls’ to Justice

Can Barriers in Censorship Practices Lead to Advancements in Online Dispute Resolution?

Journal International Journal of Online Dispute Resolution, Issue 1 2020
Keywords online dispute resolution, system design, access to justice, artificial intelligence, intellectual property, blockchain, information communication technology, COVID-19
Authors Shirin Ghafary
AbstractAuthor's information

    This article will discuss how we can learn from barriers of internet censorship to create opportunities for better access to the justice system through newer and more reliable Online Dispute Resolution technology. These advancements in technology can help in the application of security measures for materials disclosed in the use of online dispute resolution (ODR) platforms and reduce people’s fears of privacy concerns. This in turn will promote the use of ODR and provide greater access to the justice system, especially for those people who cannot afford more traditional forms of legal services by making more convenient platforms that are less costly, less time consuming, and more readily available to people via their laptops. Technology is advancing and it is advancing fast, we choose whether we advance with it or stay behind. The COVID-19 pandemic has shown us the vulnerabilities of our society and how technologically far behind we are, perhaps it was just the push that we needed.


Shirin Ghafary
Juris Doctor, McGeorge School of Law, University of the Pacific, Bachelor of Science, York University.
Research Note

Caretaker Cabinets in Belgium: A New Measurement and Typology

Journal Politics of the Low Countries, Issue Online First 2020
Keywords caretaker government, Belgium, cabinets, political crisis
Authors Régis Dandoy and Lorenzo Terrière
AbstractAuthor's information

    Belgium is probably the world’s best known case of where caretaker governments reside. Yet a clear scholarly definition and measurement of this concept is missing. Based on a detailed analysis of the Belgian federal cabinets, this research note explores the main characteristics and measures the length of the various caretaker periods. We find that Belgium was governed for no less than 1,485 days by a caretaker government between 2007 and 2020, which equals more than four full calendar years. This research note also presents a novel typology of caretaker periods based on the institutional and political practice within the Belgian legislative and executive branches. This typology can be used to assess caretaker periods at other levels of government as well as in other countries in order to improve our understanding of the many ‘faces’ that a caretaker government can take on.


Régis Dandoy
Université Libre de Bruxelles

Lorenzo Terrière
Universiteit Gent
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