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Developments in International Law

Is the World Ready to Overcome the Thesis of the Clash of Civilizations?

Journal Hungarian Yearbook of International Law and European Law, Issue 1 2021
Keywords clash of civilizations, end of history, tragedy of great power politics, dignity of difference, clash of ignorance
Authors István Lakatos
AbstractAuthor's information

    The article provides a critical overview of the Clash of Civilizations theory by Samuel Huntington, but in this context it also addresses two other important books also aimed at finding the correct answers to the new challenges of the post-Cold War era; Huntington’s work was also an answer to their thesis. They are Francis Fukuyama’s The End of History and the Last Man, and John Mearsheimer’s The Tragedy of Great Power Politics. I argue that neither the Clash of Civilizations nor the End of History theses correctly captures the complexity of our contemporary social and political life, as they are both based on the assumption of the superiority of the West and the inferiority of the Rest.


István Lakatos
István Lakatos: career diplomat, former human rights ambassador of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (MFAT) of Hungary, currently senior adviser at the Ministry of Justice, Human and Minority Rights of Montenegro.
Developments in International Law

The Sudita Keita Versus Hungary Ruling of the ECtHR and the Right to Private Life of Stateless Persons

A Long Saga Comes to an End

Journal Hungarian Yearbook of International Law and European Law, Issue 1 2021
Keywords EctHR, stateless persons, right to private and family life, positive obligations of States, 1954 Convention relating to the Status of Stateless Persons
Authors Tamás Molnár
AbstractAuthor's information

    In the case of Sudita Keita v Hungary, the ECtHR handed down a key judgment relating to statelessness. In the ruling of 12 May 2020, the ECtHR unanimously found that Hungary’s failure to ensure stability of residence for the stateless applicant for roughly 15 years amounted to a violation of his right to respect for private and family life (Article 8 ECHR). This ruling follows in the footsteps of an earlier and similar Strasbourg judgment (Hoti v Croatia), and substantiates the jurisprudential line which provides protection to stateless individuals with unsettled status using the forcefield of Article 8 ECHR. The Sudita Keita case before the ECtHR was the final chapter in a long-lasting saga that had commenced before domestic authorities and courts in Hungary, at various instances, also with the involvement of the Constitutional Court.


Tamás Molnár
Tamás Molnár: legal research officer, EU Agency for Fundamental Rights, Vienna; visiting lecturer of international (migration) law, Corvinus University of Budapest.
Case Notes

The Hungarian Constitutional Court’s Decision on the Protection of Forests

Decision No. 14/2020. (VII. 6.) AB of the Constitutional Court of Hungary

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

    In its decision delivered on 15 June 2020, the Hungarian Constitutional Court stated that several provisions of the 2017 amendment of the Act XXXVII of 2009 on Forest, Forest Protection and Forest Management are unconstitutional. The case was also an opportunity for the Constitutional Court to adopt another milestone decision on the interpretation and application of the environment-related provisions of the Fundamental Law and the “non-derogation principle”. The progressive decision of the Constitutional Court entrusts the Hungarian State with trustee duties. The present Case Note is an analysis of Decision No. 14/2020. (VII. 6.) AB of the Constitutional Court.


Attila Pánovics
Attila Pánovics: senior lecturer, University of Pécs.
Article

Access_open The Role of the Vienna Rules in the Interpretation of the ECHR

A Normative Basis or a Source of Inspiration?

Journal Erasmus Law Review, Issue 2 2021
Keywords European Convention on Human Rights, European Court of Human Rights, techniques of interpretation, the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties
Authors Eszter Polgári
AbstractAuthor's information

    The interpretive techniques applied by the European Court of Human Rights are instrumental in filling the vaguely formulated rights-provisions with progressive content, and their use provoked widespread criticism. The article argues that despite the scarcity of explicit references to the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties, all the ECtHR’s methods and doctrines of interpretation have basis in the VCLT, and the ECtHR has not developed a competing framework. The Vienna rules are flexible enough to accommodate the interpretive rules developed in the ECHR jurisprudence, although effectiveness and evolutive interpretation is favoured – due to the unique nature of Convention – over the more traditional means of interpretation, such as textualism. Applying the VCLT as a normative framework offers unique ways of reconceptualising some of the much-contested means of interpretation in order to increase the legitimacy of the ECtHR.


Eszter Polgári
Eszter Polgári, PhD, is assistant professor at the Department of Legal Studies of the Central European University in Austria.
Article

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

Journal Politics of the Low Countries, Issue Online First 2021
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 holds a master's degree in political science from the University of Liege.
Article

Access_open Using restorative justice to rethink the temporality of transition in Chile

Journal The International Journal of Restorative Justice, Issue 2 2021
Keywords temporality, transitional justice, restorative justice, Chile, ongoingness, multilayeredness & multidirectionality
Authors Marit de Haan and Tine Destrooper
AbstractAuthor's information

    Assumptions of linear progress and a clean break with the past have long characterised transitional justice interventions. This notion of temporality has increasingly been problematised in transitional justice scholarship and practice. Scholars have argued that a more complex understanding of temporalities is needed that better accommodates the temporal messiness and complexity of transitions, including their ongoingness, multilayeredness and multidirectionality. Existing critiques, however, have not yet resulted in a new conceptual framework for thinking about transitional temporalities. This article builds on insights from the field of restorative justice to develop such a framework. This framework foregrounds longer timelines, multilayered temporalities and temporal ecologies to better reflect reality on the ground and victims’ lived experiences. We argue that restorative justice is a useful starting point to develop such a temporal framework because of its actor-oriented, flexible and interactive nature and proximity to the field of transitional justice. Throughout this article we use the case of Chile to illustrate some of the complex temporal dynamics of transition and to illustrate what a more context-sensitive temporal lens could mean for such cases of unfinished transition.


Marit de Haan
Marit de Haan is a PhD researcher at the Human Rights Centre of Ghent University, Belgium.

Tine Destrooper
Tine Destrooper is Associate Professor of Transitional Justice at the Human Rights Centre of Ghent University, Belgium. Contact author: marit.dehaan@ugent.be.
Article

The Praise for a ‘Caretaker’ Leader

Gendered Press Coverage of Prime Minister Sophie Wilmès in a COVID-19 Context

Journal Politics of the Low Countries, Issue 2 2021
Keywords political leadership, crisis, care, Belgium, gendered media coverage
Authors Clémence Deswert
AbstractAuthor's information

    Studies on media coverage of women politicians have underlined how the media contribute to the association of the figure of the political leader with masculinity. Yet, the social construction of leadership seems to evolve towards a more ‘femininity-inclusive’ definition. Research on the ‘glass cliff’ phenomenon suggests that stereotypical feminine attributes might be expected from political leaders in a time of crisis. We investigated the gendered construction of political leadership in the press in a COVID-19 context through the case of former Belgian Prime minister Sophie Wilmès. In line with the ‘think crisis-think female’ association, our discourse analysis shows an appreciation of traditionally feminine traits, and particularly care-related qualities, in the evaluation of what a ‘good’ leader should be in pandemic times, although some characteristics traditionally associated with masculinity are still considered valuable assets in the journalistic portrayal of Wilmès’ leadership.


Clémence Deswert
Clémence Deswert is a PhD candidate at the Political Science Department of the Université libre de Bruxelles (ULB). Her research interests include political communication and political representation of women. Declaration of interests: I confirm that this article was not submitted to or publicised in another journal. No conflict of interest exists.
Article

Reducing Ethnic Conflict in Guyana through Political Reform

Journal European Journal of Law Reform, Issue 1 2021
Keywords Guyana, race, ethnic conflict, political power, constitutional reform
Authors Nicola Pierre
AbstractAuthor's information

    This article discusses using constitutional reform to reduce ethnic conflict in Guyana. I start by exploring the determinants of ethnic conflict. I next examine Guyana’s ethnopolitical history to determine what factors led to political alignment on ethnic lines and then evaluate the effect of the existing political institutions on ethnic conflict. I close with a discussion on constitutional reform in which I consider a mix of consociationalist, integrative, and power-constraining mechanisms that may be effective in reducing ethnic conflict in Guyana’s ethnopolitical circumstances.


Nicola Pierre
Nicola Pierre is Commissioner of Title and Land Court Judge in Guyana.
Article

A Reflection on the Evolution of Corporate Culture and Conflict Resolution (Part I)

The Resonance of Individual Conflict Resolution on the Collective Organisational Psyche

Journal Corporate Mediation Journal, Issue 2 2020
Keywords mediation, evolution system, corporate culture, conflict resolution, power struggle
Authors Hilde Kroon and Marcel Baatsen
AbstractAuthor's information

    In this article, a roadmap is proposed for both individual growth and eventual maturation of an organisation as regards how conflict is dealt with. Much can be achieved within organisations when the individuals who work there succeed in discovering and deploying their potential in order to deal with conflict in a mature manner.
    An organisation is a compilation of individuals and the overall culture of the organisation is, ultimately, determined by the collective wisdom of the people that form it, when it comes to dealing with conflict and related difficulties. The authors of this article propose a shared view to unearth the potential of an individual working in an organisation to creatively and proactively manage conflict, thereby opening a corporate portal that empowers the adoption of beneficial solutions in response to disarming and preventing difficult organisational situations.
    In Part I, the authors will discuss the transformation of the fear-based ego to clear a pathway for development to maturation of individuals and the overall culture of an organisation, following a multidimensional three-step Evolution System.


Hilde Kroon
Mr. Hilde Kroon is an independent mediator and trainer.

Marcel Baatsen
Marcel Baatsen is a former engineer and a freelance trainer.
Article

Access_open The Potential of Positive Obligations Against Romaphobic Attitudes and in the Development of ‘Roma Pride’

Journal Erasmus Law Review, Issue 3 2020
Keywords Roma, Travellers, positive obligations, segregation, culturally adequate accommodation
Authors Lilla Farkas and Theodoros Alexandridis
AbstractAuthor's information

    The article analyses the jurisprudence of international tribunals on the education and housing of Roma and Travellers to understand whether positive obligations can change the hearts and minds of the majority and promote minority identities. Case law on education deals with integration rather than cultural specificities, while in the context of housing it accommodates minority needs. Positive obligations have achieved a higher level of compliance in the latter context by requiring majorities to tolerate the minority way of life in overwhelmingly segregated settings. Conversely, little seems to have changed in education, where legal and institutional reform, as well as a shift in both majority and minority attitudes, would be necessary to dismantle social distance and generate mutual trust. The interlocking factors of accessibility, judicial activism, European politics, expectations of political allegiance and community resources explain jurisprudential developments. The weak justiciability of minority rights, the lack of resources internal to the community and dual identities among the Eastern Roma impede legal claims for culture-specific accommodation in education. Conversely, the protection of minority identity and community ties is of paramount importance in the housing context, subsumed under the right to private and family life.


Lilla Farkas
Lilla Farkas is a practising lawyer in Hungary and recently earned a PhD from the European University Institute entitled ‘Mobilising for racial equality in Europe: Roma rights and transnational justice’. She is the race ground coordinator of the European Union’s Network of Legal Experts in Gender Equality and Non-discrimination.

Theodoros Alexandridis
Theodoros Alexandridis is a practicing lawyer in Greece.
Article

The Windrush Scandal

A Review of Citizenship, Belonging and Justice in the United Kingdom

Journal European Journal of Law Reform, Issue 3 2020
Keywords Windrush generation, statelessness, right to nationality, genocide, apologetic UK Human Rights Act Preamble
Authors Namitasha Goring, Beverley Beckford and Simone Bowman
AbstractAuthor's information

    This article points out that the UK Human Rights Act, 1998 does not have a clear provision guaranteeing a person’s right to a nationality. Instead, this right is buried in the European Court of Human Rights decisions of Smirnova v Russia, 2003 and Alpeyeva and Dzhalagoniya v. Russia, 2018. In these cases, the Court stretched the scope of Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights, 1953 on non-interference with private life by public authorities to extend to nationality. The humanitarian crisis arising from the Windrush Scandal was caused by the UK Government’s decision to destroy the Windrush Generation’s landing cards in the full knowledge that for many these slips of paper were the only evidence of their legitimate arrival in Britain between 1948 and 1971.
    The kindling for this debacle was the ‘hostile environment policy’, later the ‘compliant environment policy’ that operated to formally strip British citizens of their right to a nationality in flagrant violation of international and domestic law. This article argues that the Human Rights Act, 1998 must be amended to include a very clear provision that guarantees in the UK a person’s right to a nationality as a portal to a person’s inalienable right to life. This balances the wide discretion of the Secretary of State under Section 4 of the Nationality, Immigration and Asylum Act, 2002 to deprive a person of their right to a nationality if they are deemed to have done something seriously prejudicial to the interests of the UK.
    This article also strongly recommends that the Preamble to the UK Human Rights Act, 1998 as a de facto bill of rights, be amended to put into statutory language Independent Advisor Wendy Williams’ ‘unqualified apology’ recommendation in the Windrush Lessons Learned Report for the deaths, serious bodily and mental harm inflicted on the Windrush Generation. This type of statutory contrition is in line with those of countries that have carried out similar grievous institutional abuses and their pledge to prevent similar atrocities in the future. This article’s contribution to the scholarship on the Human Rights Act, 1998 is that the Windrush Generation Scandal, like African slavery and British colonization, has long-term intergenerational effects. As such, it is fundamentally important that there is a sharp, comprehensive and enforceable legal mechanism for safeguarding the rights and interests of citizens as well as settled migrants of ethnically non-British ancestry who are clearly vulnerable to bureaucratic impulses.


Namitasha Goring
Namitasha Goring, Law and Criminology Lecturer Haringey Sixth Form College, LLM, PhD.

Beverley Beckford
Beverly Beckford, Barrister (Unregistered) (LLM).

Simone Bowman
Simone Bowman, Barrister (LLM Candidate DeMontford University).
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

The ECB’s Independence and the Principle of Separation

Journal European Journal of Law Reform, Issue 3 2020
Keywords ECB, Banking Supervision, Banking Supervision Centralization, Prudential Supervision, European Union, EU Law, Banking Union, Central Banking Independence, SSMR, SSMR
Authors Pamela Nika
AbstractAuthor's information

    This article addresses the question of whether the European Central Bank’s (ECB’s) involvement in banking supervision is compatible with its independent status as provided by the European Union’s (EU’s) primary law, specifically with reference to the principle of separation between the ECB’s monetary policy and supervisory powers. It is found that the Single Supervisory Mechanism (SSM) Regulation provides the ECB with a set of prerequisites in pursuit of its supervisory objectives under a high level of independence. However, the article argues that the current EU regulatory framework poses risks to the overall independence of the ECB. In particular, the principle of separation, as one of the mechanisms aimed at safeguarding the ECB’s independence, is not fully achieved. In addition, the boundaries and application of macro-prudential operation of the ECB in both the SSM and European Systemic Risk Board (ESRB) remain blurry and uncertain. The article concludes by suggesting that the only way to safeguard the independence of the ECB is by carefully revising the ECB’s competencies, which may require treaty amendment.


Pamela Nika
Dr Pamela Nika is a lecturer in Corporate and Finance Law at Brunel University London.
Article

The International Law Commission’s Draft Articles on the Prevention and Punishment of Crimes Against Humanity

Incitement/Conspiracy as Missing Modes of Liability

Journal African Journal of International Criminal Justice, Issue 2 2020
Keywords modes of liability, International Law Commission, crimes against humanity, incitement, conspiracy
Authors Joseph Rikhof
AbstractAuthor's information

    The International Law Commission’s Draft Articles on the Prevention and Punishment of Crimes Against Humanity does not include the inchoate crimes of conspiracy or incitement. However, this choice has generated a great deal of academic commentary. This article critically assesses the choice of the drafters to exclude conspiracy and incitement liability, arguing that their decision was flawed. It examines the comments made by academics, as well as participants in the work of the Commission on this draft convention. Additionally, it scrutinizes the methodology employed by the Commission in reaching this conclusion. Finally, it presents a conceptual analysis of the desirability for the inclusion of these two inchoate crimes, arguing that their inclusion would assist in meeting the policy of preventing crimes against humanity.


Joseph Rikhof
Adjunct Professor, University of Ottawa.
Article

The ILC Draft Articles on Crimes Against Humanity

An African Perspective

Journal African Journal of International Criminal Justice, Issue 2 2020
Keywords Africa, norm creation, crimes against humanity, colonial crimes, official immunity
Authors Alhagi B.M. Marong
AbstractAuthor's information

    Africa’s contribution towards the development of the International Law Commission (ILC) Draft Articles should not be assessed exclusively on the basis of the limited engagement of African States or individuals in the discursive processes within the ILC, but from a historical perspective. When analysed from that perspective, it becomes clear that Africa has had a long connection to atrocity crimes due to the mass victimization of its civilian populations during the colonial and postcolonial periods and apartheid in South Africa. Following independence in the 1960s, African States played a leading role in the elaboration of legal regimes to deal with international crimes such as apartheid, or in the development of accountability mechanisms to respond to such crimes. Although some of these efforts proved unsuccessful in the end, the normative consensus that was generated went a long way in laying the foundations for the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court, which, in turn, influenced the conceptual framework of the ILC Draft Articles. This article proposes that given this historical nexus, the substantive provisions and international cooperation framework provided for in the future crimes against humanity convention, Africa has more reasons to support than to oppose it when negotiations begin at the United Nations General Assembly or an international diplomatic conference.


Alhagi B.M. Marong
Senior Legal Officer, United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA).
Article

Defining Crimes Against Humanity

Practicality and Value Balancing

Journal African Journal of International Criminal Justice, Issue 2 2020
Keywords crimes against humanity, Rome Statute, Draft Articles, state sovereignty
Authors Margaret M. deGuzman
AbstractAuthor's information

    Since crimes against humanity were first defined in the Charters of the International Military Tribunals at Nuremberg and for the Far East, various international, hybrid and national institutions have adopted definitions that differ in important respects. The International Law Commission’s draft articles are the latest definition, using language that is almost identical to the definition in the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court. This article explains that decision, as well as the few divergences between the draft articles and the Statute. Defining crimes against humanity involves balancing the value of respecting state sovereignty against that of protecting human rights, and the values of consistency and clarity against those of breadth and flexibility. It argues that in adopting the draft articles, states will affirm the balance among these values that was struck in Rome, but that both definitions contain sufficient flexibility to permit new balances to be found as global values evolve.


Margaret M. deGuzman
Professor Margaret M. deGuzman is James E. Beasley Professor of Law and Co-Director of the Institute for International Law and Public Policy at Temple University’s Beasley School of Law.
Article

Unlocking the Sixth Committee’s Potential to Act for Crimes Against Humanity as It Did for Genocide

Journal African Journal of International Criminal Justice, Issue 2 2020
Keywords crimes against humanity, General Assembly, International Law Commission, Sixth Committee, United Nations
Authors Michael Imran Kanu
AbstractAuthor's information

    The International Law Commission, on completion of its work on the draft articles on prevention and punishment of crimes against humanity, recommended to the General Assembly the elaboration of a convention by the said Assembly or by an international conference of plenipotentiaries based on the said draft articles. The Sixth Committee of the United Nations General Assembly at the first opportunity only took note of the draft articles and postponed consideration of the recommendation to its next session. The resolution of the General Assembly, as recommended by the Sixth Committee, does not readily disclose the full extent of the debate, proposals and concerns expressed in the Sixth Committee that prevented the General Assembly from acting on the Commission’s recommendation. This article, in considering the cornucopia of views expressed by States, outlines a path to unlock the Sixth Committee’s potential to act, by proposing a separation of the organizational and substantive matters and future-proofing the further consideration of elaborating a convention through the adoption of a structured approach.


Michael Imran Kanu
Michael Imran Kanu is a Doctor of Juridical Science (CEU, Budapest and Vienna), and currently Ambassador and Deputy Permanent Representative for Legal Affairs, Permanent Mission of the Republic of Sierra Leone to the United Nations. michaelimrankanu@gmail.com.
Article

Gender and the ILC’s 2019 Draft Articles on the Prevention and Punishment of Crimes Against Humanity

Journal African Journal of International Criminal Justice, Issue 2 2020
Keywords gender, crimes against humanity, international criminal law, Rome Statute
Authors Indira Rosenthal and Valerie Oosterveld
AbstractAuthor's information

    The International Law Commission’s Draft Articles on the Prevention and Punishment of Crimes Against Humanity document is the latest international instrument to address gender-based crimes under international law and the first to do so outside the context of international courts. The elaboration of a treaty on crimes against humanity provides a critical opportunity to affirm that gender-based crimes are among the gravest crimes under international law. This article examines discussions on the meaning of the term ‘gender’ under the ILC’s Draft Articles, with reference to the discussions two decades prior on the definition of ‘gender’ in the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court, the basis for the Articles’ consideration of sexual and gender-based violence. It then turns to the ILC consultation process, and the 2019 discussion of the ILC’s Draft Articles in the Sixth (Legal) Committee of the United Nations General Assembly on the term ‘gender’. Additionally, it considers a number of concerns raised by States and civil society on the definition of some of the gender-based crimes included in the Draft Articles and concludes by arguing for a comprehensive gender analysis of all of the Draft Articles.


Indira Rosenthal
Indira Rosenthal, Independent Consultant, Gender, Law and Justice; PhD Candidate, Faculty of Law, University of Tasmania (Australia).

Valerie Oosterveld
Valerie Oosterveld, University of Western Ontario Faculty of Law (Canada).
Article

Access_open Introduction to the Symposium on a Way Forward

Academic and Practitioner Perspectives on the ILC Draft Articles on Prevention and Punishment of Crimes Against Humanity as adopted on Second Reading

Journal African Journal of International Criminal Justice, Issue 2 2020
Authors Charles C. Jalloh and Leila N. Sadat
Author's information

Charles C. Jalloh
Charles C. Jalloh is Professor of Law, Florida International University and Member and Chair of the Drafting Committee (seventieth session) and Rapporteur (seventy-first session), International Law Commission. Email: jallohc@gmail.com.

Leila N. Sadat
Leila N. Sadat is James Carr Professor of International Criminal Law and Director, Whitney R. Harris World Law Institute, Washington University School of Law.
Article

The Elusive Quest for Digital Exhaustion in the US and the EU

The CJEU’s Tom Kabinet Ruling a Milestone or Millstone for Legal Evolution?

Journal Hungarian Yearbook of International Law and European Law, Issue 1 2020
Keywords digital exhaustion, Tom Kabinet, UsedSoft, ReDigi, copyright law
Authors Shubha Ghosh and Péter Mezei
AbstractAuthor's information

    The CJEU published its much-awaited preliminary ruling in Case C-263/18 - Nederlands Uitgeversverbond and Groep Algemene Uitgevers (the Tom Kabinet case) in December 2019. Our paper aims to introduce the Tom Kabinet ruling and discuss its direct and indirect consequences in copyright law. The Tom Kabinet ruling has seriously limited (in fact, outruled) the resale of lawfully acquired e-books. It left various questions unanswered, and thus missed the opportunity to provide for clarity and consistency in digital copyright law. Our analysis addresses how the CJEU deferred from its own logic developed in the UsedSoft decision on the resale of lawfully acquired computer programs, and how the CJEU’s conservative approach ultimately missed the opportunity to reach a compromise ruling. The paper further introduces the US approach that has a strong distinction between selling and making with respect to the research of exhaustion. We aim to trace how this distinction rests on the statutory basis for exhaustion (in copyright) and common law basis (in patent and trademark law) and compare these findings with the CJEU’s recent interpretation of exhaustion. Our focus will be on the Supreme Court’s decisions in Kirstaeng and Bowman and lower court decisions that examine technological solutions to facilitate resale. We examine how the US approach adopts a rigid approach that might inhibit technological development in digital markets, an approach with parallels in the Tom Kabinet ruling. In conclusion, we assess whether there is convergence between the two sides of the Atlantic or whether there is a path of innovative legal development that reconciles the various precedents.


Shubha Ghosh
Shubha Ghosh: Crandall Melvin professor of law, Syracuse University, US.

Péter Mezei
Péter Mezei: associate professor of law, University of Szeged; adjunct professor (dosentti), University of Turku, Finland.
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