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Article

Access_open The Questionable Legitimacy of the OECD/G20 BEPS Project

Journal Erasmus Law Review, Issue 2 2017
Keywords base erosion and profit shifting, OECD, G20, legitimacy, international tax reform
Authors Sissie Fung
AbstractAuthor's information

    The global financial crisis of 2008 and the following public uproar over offshore tax evasion and corporate aggressive tax planning scandals gave rise to unprecedented international cooperation on tax information exchange and coordination on corporate tax reforms. At the behest of the G20, the OECD developed a comprehensive package of ‘consensus-based’ policy reform measures aimed to curb base erosion and profit shifting (BEPS) by multinationals and to restore fairness and coherence to the international tax system. The legitimacy of the OECD/G20 BEPS Project, however, has been widely challenged. This paper explores the validity of the legitimacy concerns raised by the various stakeholders regarding the OECD/G20 BEPS Project.


Sissie Fung
Ph.D. Candidate at the Erasmus University Rotterdam and independent tax policy consultant to international organisations, including the Asian Development Bank.
Article

Non-Legal Considerations in the Reasoning of the European Court of Human Rights

Journal European Journal of Law Reform, Issue 3 2017
Keywords ECHR, Convention, human rights, subsidiarity, pretence
Authors Kacper Zajac
AbstractAuthor's information

    This article discusses the role of non-legal considerations in the judgments of the European Court of Human Rights. First, it considers what legal instruments are available to the Court in interpreting the Convention Rights and why such instruments came to being in the first place. Second, the article identifies what types of non-legal considerations are taken into account by the Court and what impact they have on the Court’s decision-making process. The article argues that the Court pays considerable attention to such considerations and, in certain circumstances, it deploys available legal instruments, such as the margin of appreciation doctrine or fair balance test, to give those non-legal considerations a legal pretence. The article concludes that the importance of the non-legal factors in the decision-making process can be attributed to the vulnerable position of the European Court of Human Rights vis-à-vis the contracting states.


Kacper Zajac
Kacper Zajac is a LLM student at the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) specializing in European Human Rights. He graduated from Aberystwyth University with First Class Honours in 2015. Kacper has published in the area of international law and British constitutional law. He has also worked as a Researcher for the Society of Conservative Lawyers on the pamphlet ‘A Conservative Narrative on International Law: Past, Present and Future’.

    The article considers the role of the liberal public-private divide in protecting religious minorities against national-majoritarian assault. It links the defence of the public-private divide to liberal neutrality and argues that it rests on two distinct propositions: that the distinction between the ’public sphere’ and the ’private sphere’ is a meaningful way to cognize and structure modern pluralistic societies; and that there is a meaningful way to distinguish what is or ought to be ‘public’ from what is or ought to be ‘private.’ While the latter proposition cannot be defended on grounds of liberal neutrality, the former proposition provides the institutional framework for conducting liberal politics by enabling the negotiation of the public and the private between national majorities and religious minorities as members of the same political community.


Daniel Augenstein
Daniel Augenstein is Associate Professor at the Department of European and International Public Law at Tilburg University.

    The Versailles Treaty (Art. 227) called for the prosecution of Wilhelm II, the German ex-Kaiser. Because of the refusal of the Dutch Government to surrender Wilhelm, a trial never took place. This paper tries to elaborate some questions concerning this possible trial. What was the background of the said Treaty paragraph? What would have happened when Wilhelm had been surrendered? Based on a report of a special committee to the peace conference, the possible indictment is discussed. The authors try to elaborate some thoughts for answering the question about Wilhelm’s criminal responsibility, especially as author of the war (‘ius ad bellum’) by starting an aggressive war and/or by violating the neutrality of Belgium and Luxemburg. Wilhelm’s possible responsibility for violations of the ‘ius in bello’ (laws and customs of war) in Belgium, France, and Poland and/or by ordering an unlimited submarine war is discussed as well. It is concluded that it would have been very difficult for the tribunal to have Wilhelm find criminal responsible for the indictment, except for the violation of the neutrality of Belgium and Luxemburg. But then, the tribunal would have been obliged to answer fundamental questions about the command responsibility of Wilhelm. From a point of view of international criminal law, it is rather unfortunate that the unique opportunity for a ‘Prologue to Nuremberg’ was not realised, although a trial would not have made history take a different turn than it did in the twentieth century after the ‘Great War’.


Paul Mevis
P.A.M. Mevis is professor of criminal law at the Erasmus University Rotterdam. Prof. Mevis wrote before ‘De berechting van Wilhelm II’, in J. Dohmen, T. Draaisma & E. Stamhuis (ed.), Een kwestie van grensoverschrijding. Liber amicorum P.E.L. Janssen (2009), at 197-231.

Jan M. Reijntjes
J.M. Reijntjes is professor of (international) criminal law at the University of Curaçao.
Article

Access_open The Public Conscience of the Law

Journal Netherlands Journal of Legal Philosophy, Issue 2 2014
Keywords Hobbes, reciprocity, rule of Law, conscience, legality, liberty
Authors David Dyzenhaus PhD
AbstractAuthor's information

    I focus on Hobbes’s claim that the law is ’the publique Conscience, by which [the individual] (…) hath already undertaken to be guided.’ This claim is not authoritarian once it is set in the context of his complex account, which involves three different relationships of reciprocity: the contractarian idea that individuals in the state of nature agree with one another to institute a sovereign whose prescriptions they shall regard as binding; the vertical, reciprocal relationship between ruler and ruled; and the horizontal relationship between individuals in the civil condition, made possible by the existence of the sovereign who through enacting laws dictates the terms of interaction between his subjects. The interaction of these three relationships has the result that subjects relate to each other on terms that reflect their status as free and equal individuals who find that the law enables them to pursue their own conceptions of the good.


David Dyzenhaus PhD
David Dyzenhaus is a Professor of Law and Philosophy at the University of Toronto, and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada. His books include Hard Cases in Wicked Legal Systems: South African Law in the Perspective of Legal Philosophy (now in its second edition) and Legality and Legitimacy: Carl Schmitt, Hans Kelsen, and Hermann Heller in Weimar.
Article

Democracy, Constitutionalism and Shariah

The Compatibility Question

Journal European Journal of Law Reform, Issue 2 2014
Authors A.T. Shehu
Abstract

    This article is a contribution and a response to the debate on the compatibility, or rather the incompatibility, of Islam and Shariah with democracy and constitutionalism. The debate has been both inter and intra; Muslims as well as non-Muslims are divided among themselves on the issue. A careful synthesis of the arguments on both sides shows fundamental problems of semantics and lack of proper appreciation of the issues involved because of divergent construction of the basic rules and normative concepts. This article identifies as a problem the tendency for cultural prejudice and intolerance to largely determine the direction of the debate and endure not only a ‘clash of civilizations’, but also, in reality, a clash of normative concepts. This article contends that Islam is more democratic in nature and that Shariah itself is a system of constitutionalism; needless to say, the objectionists have long forgotten that, in essential formulations, Shariah is the foundation of thoughts on human rights.


A.T. Shehu

    Under the Kafala system, which applies in all Arab countries, migrant workers must attain a work entry visa and residential permit, which is possible only if they are working for a domestic institution or corporation or a citizen of the respective country. Each and every employer is required, based on the Kafala system, to adopt all legal and economic responsibilities for all of the employer's workers during their contractual period. By giving wide-ranging powers and responsibilities unilaterally to employers, the Kafala system subjects workers to abysmal and exploitative working conditions, violence, and human rights abuses. Some of these problems have recently made headlines in the United States and in Europe in connection with the campus being built by New York University in Abu Dhabi. While NYU imposed a code of labor standards on its direct contractual partners, it claimed to have no means of controlling subcontractors. Nor did NYU try very hard, it seems, to verify compliance even by its direct contractual partners.
    Migrant workers make up at least 30 percent of the population of Saudi Arabia and 49 percent of Saudi Arabia's entire workforce. Employers control Saudi Arabia's Kafala system, in which migrant workers are the weakest link. Studies and international organizations report that foreigners employed in Saudi Arabia have returned home with many complaints. In 2006, Saudi Arabia re-examined all laws including its labor law. This re-examination resulted in abolishing some terms used in labor law, such as the kafala system, but the system remains as is. The new labor law includes many positive changes, but not enough according to the assessment of local and international scholars and observers. In this paper, I will reveal laws, practices and patterns that essentially cause the vulnerability of migrant workers, and I will suggest effective alternative strategies. This paper should contribute to our growing understanding of issues of concern for migrant workers in Saudi Arabia and other Arab countries and help to develop specific and necessary legal and institutional responses.


Majed M. Alzahrani
LL.M, Indiana University, Robert H. McKinney School of Law. The author would like to thank Professor Frank Emmert for advice and guidance in the production of this article.

    This paper explores the roles that the presumption of innocence (PoI) can play beyond the criminal trial, in other dealings that citizens may have with the criminal law and its officials. It grounds the PoI in a wider notion of the civic trust that citizens owe each other, and that the state owes its citizens: by attending to the roles that citizens may find themselves playing in relation to the criminal law (such roles as suspect, defendant, convicted offender and ‘ex-offender’), we can see both how a PoI protects us, beyond the confines of the trial, against various kinds of coercion, and how that PoI is modified or qualified as we acquire certain roles. To develop and illustrate this argument, I pay particular attention to the roles of defendant (both during the trial and while awaiting trial) and of ‘ex-offender,’ and to the duties that such roles bring with them.


Antony Duff
Antony Duff holds the Russell M and Elizabeth M Bennett Chair in the University of Minnesota Law School, and is a Professor Emeritus of the Department of Philosophy, University of Stirling.
Article

Access_open Between a Rock and a Hard Place: Treaty-Based Settlement of Terrorism-Related Disputes in the Era of Active United Nations Security Council Involvement

Journal Erasmus Law Review, Issue 2 2013
Keywords Terrorism, inter-state dispute, international treaties, the United Nations Security Council, the International Court of Justice
Authors Nathanael Tilahun Ali LL.M.
AbstractAuthor's information

    The United Nations Security Council has become a crucial actor in international counterterrorism by not only spurring the taking of preventive and suppressive measures against terrorist individuals and groups, but also by taking actions against states that are said to stand in the way. The Security Council's actions against such states invariably arise from accusations by other states, such as accusations of refusal to extradite suspects of terrorism or responsibility for supporting terrorists. Meanwhile, most such issues of dispute are covered under international treaties relating to terrorism, which provide for political (negotiation) and judicial (arbitration and adjudication) mechanisms of dispute settlement. The Security Council's actions against states in connection with terrorism, therefore, involve (explicit or implicit) factual and legal determinations that affect the legal positions of the disputing states under the applicable international treaties relating to terrorism. The point of departure of this paper is that, in this respect, the Security Council effectively becomes an alternative to the treaty-based dispute-settlement mechanisms. The article centrally contends that the Security Council effectively acts as a more attractive alternative to treaty-based dispute-settlement mechanisms for pursuing terrorism-related (legal) disputes between states, without providing a meaningful platform of disputation that is based on equality of the parties. And the Security Council's relative attractiveness, arising from the discursive and legal superiority its decisions enjoy and the relative convenience and expediency with which those decisions are delivered, entails the rendering of resort to treaty-based dispute-settlement mechanisms of little legal consequence. The point of concern the article aims to highlight is the lack of platform of disputation some states are faced with, trapped between a hostile Security Council that makes determinations and decisions of legal consequence and an unhelpful treaty-based dispute-settlement mechanism.


Nathanael Tilahun Ali LL.M.
PhD Candidate in public international law, Erasmus School of Law. E: ali@law.eur.nl. I would like to thank Prof. Xandra Kramer and Prof. Ellen Hey for their valuable comments on an earlier draft of this article. The usual disclaimer applies.
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