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Article

Democratic Scrutiny of COVID-19 Laws

Are Parliamentary Committees Up to the Job?

Journal European Journal of Law Reform, Issue 2 2021
Keywords parliament, scrutiny, committees, COVID-19, rights, legislation, Australia, New Zealand, United Kingdom
Authors Sarah Moulds
AbstractAuthor's information

    In response to the complex and potentially devastating threat posed by COVID-19, parliaments around the world have transferred unprecedented powers to executive governments and their agencies (Edgar, ‘Law-making in a Crisis’, 2020), often with the full support of the communities they represent. These laws were passed within days, sometimes hours, with limited safeguards and a heavy reliance on sunsetting provisions, some of which are dependent on the pandemic being officially called to an end. While parliaments themselves have suspended or reduced sitting days (Twomey, ‘A Virtual Australian Parliament is Possible’, 2020), parliamentary committees have emerged as the forum of choice when it comes to providing some form of parliamentary oversight of executive action.
    This article aims to evaluate the capacity of parliamentary committees established within the Australian, New Zealand (NZ) and United Kingdom (UK) parliaments to effectively scrutinize and review governments’ responses to COVID-19. It does this by comparing the legal framework underpinning the relevant committees in each jurisdiction and examining the work of these committees with a view to offering some preliminary views as to their impact on the shape of the laws made in response to COVID-19 in those jurisdictions. The article concludes by offering some preliminary observations about the scrutiny capacity of the parliamentary committee systems in Australia, NZ and the UK in the context of emergency lawmaking and flags areas for further research, evaluation and reform.


Sarah Moulds
Dr. Sarah Moulds, University of South Australia.
Article

Access_open Approach with Caution

Sunset Clauses as Safeguards of Democracy?

Journal European Journal of Law Reform, Issue 2 2021
Keywords emergency legislation, sunset clauses, post-legislative review, COVID-19
Authors Sean Molloy
AbstractAuthor's information

    In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, leaders across the globe scrambled to adopt emergency legislation. Amongst other things, these measures gave significant powers to governments in order to curb the spreading of a virus, which has shown itself to be both indiscriminate and deadly. Nevertheless, exceptional measures, however necessary in the short term, can have adverse consequences both on the enjoyment of human rights specifically and democracy more generally. Not only are liberties severely restricted and normal processes of democratic deliberation and accountability constrained but the duration of exceptional powers is also often unclear. One potentially ameliorating measure is the use of sunset clauses: dispositions that determine the expiry of a law or regulation within a predetermined period unless a review determines that there are reasons for extension. The article argues that without effective review processes, far from safeguarding rights and limiting state power, sunset clauses can be utilized to facilitate the transferring of emergency powers whilst failing to guarantee the very problems of normalized emergency they are included to prevent. Thus, sunset clauses and the review processes that attach to them should be approached with caution.


Sean Molloy
Dr Sean Molloy is a Lecturer in Law at Northumbria University.
Article

Interest Representation in Belgium

Mapping the Size and Diversity of an Interest Group Population in a Multi-layered Neo-corporatist Polity

Journal Politics of the Low Countries, Issue 1 2021
Keywords interest groups, advocacy, access, advisory councils, media attention
Authors Evelien Willems, Jan Beyers and Frederik Heylen
AbstractAuthor's information

    This article assesses the size and diversity of Belgium’s interest group population by triangulating four data sources. Combining various sources allows us to describe which societal interests get mobilised, which interest organisations become politically active and who gains access to the policy process and obtains news media attention. Unique about the project is the systematic data collection, enabling us to compare interest representation at the national, Flemish and Francophone-Walloon government levels. We find that: (1) the national government level remains an important venue for interest groups, despite the continuous transfer of competences to the subnational and European levels, (2) neo-corporatist mobilisation patterns are a persistent feature of interest representation, despite substantial interest group diversity and (3) interest mobilisation substantially varies across government levels and political-administrative arenas.


Evelien Willems
Evelien Willems is a postdoctoral researcher at the Department of Political Science, University of Antwerp. Her research focuses on the interplay between interest groups, public opinion and public policy.

Jan Beyers
Jan Beyers is Full Professor of Political Science at the University of Antwerp. His current research projects focus on how interest groups represent citizens interests and to what extent the politicization of public opinion affects processes of organized interest representation in public policymaking.

Frederik Heylen
Frederik Heylen holds a PhD in Political Science from the University of Antwerp. His doctoral dissertation addresses the organizational development of civil society organizations and its internal and external consequences for interest representation. He is co-founder and CEO of Datamarinier.
Article

Access_open Curbing Drug Use in the Seychelles through Regulation beyond Legislation

Journal European Journal of Law Reform, Issue 1 2021
Keywords Seychelles, legislative drafting, drug abuse, drug abuse legislation
Authors Amelie Nourrice
AbstractAuthor's information

    This article was written with the intention of figuring out why the Seychelles has been unable to douse the drug epidemic despite apparent vigorous efforts on the part of the government and of finding a new way of curtailing drug abuse without relying entirely on legislation, which although in some ways are necessary, has on its own, been incapable serving efficacy.
    The article introduces a four step pyramid giving effect to a responsive approach which Braithwaite suggests lays ‘emphasis on the pyramidal regulatory structure, on regulation through engagement and dialogue rather than by dictat, on bringing third parties into what had been previously characterized as a binary regulator/regulatee interaction, and on the concept of the benign big gun.’
    Thus, by building a drug user’s capacity and providing the apt restorative treatment before labelling him as an offender and subjecting him to incapacitation, the drug user is offered an opportunity at restoration.
    The criteria featuring in the pyramid must work in conjunction with the law as this combination and the use of various actors at each tier is a significant way to effectively execute government policies without that strict and direct regulator/regulatee relationship whereby the former would otherwise lord it over the latter.


Amelie Nourrice
Amelie Nourrice is Legislative Drafter, Office of the Attorney General, The Seychelles.
Article

The Hallmarks of the Legislative Drafting Process in Common Law Systems:

A Comparative Study of Eswatini and Ghana

Journal European Journal of Law Reform, Issue 1 2021
Keywords legislation, comparing drafting process, Commonwealth Africa, comparative law
Authors Nomalanga Pearl Gule
AbstractAuthor's information

    This research study is an attempt to test the comparative criteria developed by Stefanou in his work where he discusses the characteristics that defines the drafting process in the two most dominant legal systems, common and civil law. It examines the legislative drafting process in common law countries with the aim to establish if the comparative criteria identify with the process that defines the drafting of legislation in those jurisdictions. Two common law jurisdictions were selected and an in-depth comparative analysis of steps undertaken in their drafting process was done. The scope of the study is only confined to the drafting process in the common law system and the criteria that is tested are those which define the drafting process in the common law jurisdictions only.


Nomalanga Pearl Gule
Nomalanga Pearl Gule is State Counsel, Government of Eswatini, Attorney at Law (Eswatini Bar). LL.B (UNISWA), LL.M Commercial Law (UCT), LL.M Drafting Legislation, Regulations, and Policy (IALS).
Article

Parliamentary Control of Delegated Legislation

Lessons from a Comparative Study of the UK Parliament and the Korean National Assembly

Journal European Journal of Law Reform, Issue 1 2021
Keywords statutory instruments, delegated legislation, parliamentary control, parliamentary scrutiny, Korea
Authors Mikang Chae
AbstractAuthor's information

    As the scale of administrative agencies expands and their functions become more specialized in the complex and variable administrative reality, delegated legislation has increased explosively. This article examines the need for the introduction of appropriate parliamentary controls to prevent harm caused by the flood of delegated legislation. Through comparison with the UK Parliament, this article identifies the relative position of the Korean National Assembly and presents measures to strengthen parliamentary scrutiny on delegated legislation.


Mikang Chae
Mikang Chae is a legislative researcher/legal drafter at the Korean National Assembly. She holds an LLM from the University of London (Institute of Advanced Legal Studies, London, United Kingdom), an MPP from the KDI School of Public Policy and Management (Sejong, Korea) and a BA degree from Seoul National University (Seoul, Korea). The views expressed in this article are her own and do not reflect those of any organization.
Article

Unwrapping the Effectiveness Test as a Measure of Legislative Quality

A Case Study of the Tuvalu Climate Change Resilience Act 2019

Journal European Journal of Law Reform, Issue 1 2021
Keywords effectiveness test, legislative quality, drafting process, Tuvalu Climate Change Resilience Act 2019
Authors Laingane Italeli Talia
AbstractAuthor's information


Laingane Italeli Talia
Laingane Italeli Talia is Senior Crown Counsel, Attorney General’s Office of Tuvalu
Article

Access_open Bits and Bytes and Apps – Oh My!

Scary Things in the ODR Forest

Journal International Journal of Online Dispute Resolution, Issue 1 2021
Keywords access to justice, digital divide, Artificial Intelligence, algorithms, Online Dispute Resolution
Authors Daniel Rainey and Larry Bridgesmith
AbstractAuthor's information

    This article addresses three issues related to online dispute resolution (ODR) that offer promise, and may carry risks for those who develop, provide, and use technology to address disputes and confects. The authors offer some principles to guide the use of technology, and some predictions about the future of ODR.


Daniel Rainey
A version of this article will be published in Portuguese as a chapter in Processo Civil e Tecnologia: os impactos da virada tecnologia no mundo, Dierle Nunes, Paulo Lucon and Isadora Werneck, eds., Editora Juspodivm, Salvador/BA–Brazil, forthcoming 2021. Daniel Rainey is, among other things, a principal in Holistic Solutions, Inc., a Fellow of the National Center for Technology and Dispute Resolution (NCTDR), a founding Board Member of the International Council for Online Dispute Resolution (ICODR), Editor-in-Chief of the International Journal of Online Dispute Resolution (IJODR) and a Member of the Self-Represented Litigants Committee of the Access to Justice Commission of the Virginia Supreme Court.

Larry Bridgesmith
Larry Bridgesmith is, among other things, a practicing lawyer, professor of law at Vanderbilt Law School and co-founder of its Program on Law & Innovation, a Fellow of the International Association of Mediators, co-founder of LegalAlignment LLC, AccelerateInsite LLC and Lifefilz Inc., co-founder of the International Institute of Legal Project Management and Chair of the Tennessee Supreme Court Alternative Dispute Resolution Commission.

Tanya Jones
Tanya Jones is a PhD researcher, University of Dundee, Dundee, United Kingdom. Contact author: t.w.jones@dundee.ac.uk.
Article

Access_open A future agenda for environmental restorative justice?

Journal The International Journal of Restorative Justice, Issue 1 2021
Keywords restorative justice, restorative practice, environmental justice, environmental regulation
Authors Miranda Forsyth, Deborah Cleland, Felicity Tepper e.a.
AbstractAuthor's information

    The challenges of developing meaningful environmental regulation to protect communities and the environment have never been greater. Environmental regulators are regularly criticised for failing to act hard and consistently, in turn leading to demands for harsher punishments and more rigorous enforcement. Whilst acknowledging the need for strong enforcement to address wantonly destructive practices threatening communities and ecosystems, we argue that restorative approaches have an important role. This article explores a future agenda for environmental restorative justice through (1) situating it within existing scholarly and practice-based environmental regulation traditions; (2) identifying key elements and (3) raising particular theoretical and practical challenges. Overall, our vision for environmental restorative justice is that its practices can permeate the entire regulatory spectrum, going far beyond restorative justice conferences within enforcement proceedings. We see it as a shared and inclusive vision that seeks to integrate, hybridise and build broader ownership for environmental restorative justice throughout existing regulatory practices and institutions, rather than creating parallel structures or paradigms.


Miranda Forsyth
Miranda Forsyth is Associate Professor at the School of Regulation and Governance in the College of Asia and Pacific in the Australian National University, Australia.

Deborah Cleland
Deborah Cleland is a Postdoctoral Fellow at the School of Regulation and Governance in the College of Asia and Pacific in the Australian National University, Australia.

Felicity Tepper
Felicity Tepper is a Senior Research Officer at the School of Regulation and Governance in the College of Asia and Pacific in the Australian National University, Australia.

Deborah Hollingworth
Deborah Hollingworth is a Principal Solicitor at the Environment Protection Authority Victoria, Australia.

Milena Soares
Milena Soares is a public servant at the Técnica de Desenvolvimento e Administração,Brazil.

Alistair Nairn
Alistair Nairn is Senior Engagement Advisor at the Environment Protection Authority Victoria, Australia.

Cathy Wilkinson
Cathy Wilkinson is Professor of Practice at Monash Sustainable Development, Australia. Contact author: miranda.forsyth@anu.edu.au.
Article

Sustained restorative dialogue: exploring a proactive restorative process to help address campus sexual harm

Journal The International Journal of Restorative Justice, Issue Online first 2021
Keywords restorative justice, restorative dialogue, campus sexual violence, sexual harm, sociolinguistics
Authors Amy Giles-Mitson
AbstractAuthor's information

    Campus sexual harm is a widespread problem that demands approaches that focus on prevention, alongside those that respond to specific incidents of harm. This article presents the outcomes of a proactive initiative – a sustained restorative dialogue – that uses restorative circle practice in the university setting to better understand the issue of sexual harm, and identify practical steps that focus on its reduction. Speech data from post hoc interviews with participants of the dialogue is analysed in order to demonstrate the outcomes of the process, and highlight the value of using a dialogic model to address the issue on campus. Findings suggest that the process has very real potential for enhancing understanding and awareness and increasing communication on the topic, these being important precursors to transforming the cultural norms and campus climates that foster sexual harm.


Amy Giles-Mitson
Amy Giles-Mitson, PhD, is a researcher in linguistics and restorative justice at Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand. Contact author: Amy Giles-Mitson at amyjo_gm@yahoo.com.
Article

Access_open Addressing Problems Instead of Diagnoses

Reimagining Liberalism Regarding Disability and Public Health

Journal Netherlands Journal of Legal Philosophy, Issue 1 2021
Keywords Vulerability Theory, Liberalism, Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD), Public Health, Capabilities Approach
Authors Erwin Dijkstra
AbstractAuthor's information

    The public health systems of liberal states systematically fail to meet the goals and obligations of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, which aims to facilitate full societal participation and independent life choices by all impaired persons, as well as the unburdening of their private caretakers. This failure does not stem from a lack of money or effort by governments and other societal institutions, but flaws in the anatomy of these systems. As these systems confine institutional assistance to the needs of persons with certain delineated disabilities, they neglect the needs of other persons, whose disabilities do not fit this mould. The responsibility for the latter group thus falls to their immediate social circle. These private caretakers are in turn seldom supported. To remedy this situation, I will present the alternative paradigm of vulnerability theory as the possible foundation for a more inclusive approach to public health.


Erwin Dijkstra
Erwin Dijkstra LLM MA is lecturer and researcher at the Department of Jurisprudence of the Leiden Law School of Leiden University.
Article

Access_open The Influence of Strategic Culture on Legal Justifications Comparing British and German Parliamentary Debates Regarding the War against ISIS

Journal Erasmus Law Review, Issue 2 2021
Keywords strategic culture, international law, ISIS, parliamentary debates, interdisciplinarity
Authors Martin Hock
AbstractAuthor's information

    This article presents an interdisciplinary comparison of British and German legal arguments concerning the justification of the use of force against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS). It is situated in the broader framework of research on strategic culture and the use of international law as a tool for justifying state behaviour. Thus, a gap in political science research is analysed: addressing legal arguments as essentially political in their usage. The present work questions whether differing strategic cultures will lead to a different use of legal arguments. International legal theory and content analysis are combined to sort arguments into the categories of instrumentalism, formalism and natural law. To do so, a data set consisting of all speeches with regard to the fight against ISIS made in both parliaments until the end of 2018 is analysed. It is shown that Germany and the UK, despite their varying strategic cultures, rely on similar legal justifications to a surprisingly large extent.


Martin Hock
Martin Hock is Research Associate at the Technische Universität Dresden, Germany.
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

Access_open The Right to Claim Innocence in Poland

Journal Erasmus Law Review, Issue 4 2020
Keywords wrongful convictions, right to claim innocence, reopening of criminal proceedings, miscarriage of justice, revision of final judgment
Authors Wojciech Jasiński Ph.D., habilitation and Karolina Kremens Ph.D.
AbstractAuthor's information

    Wrongful convictions and miscarriages of justice, their reasons and effects, only rarely become the subject of academic debate in Poland. This article aims at filling this gap and providing a discussion on the current challenges of mechanisms available in Polish law focused on the verification of final judgments based on innocence claims. While there are two procedures designed to move such judgment: cassation and the reopening of criminal proceedings, only the latter aims at the verification of new facts and evidence, and this work remains focused exactly on that issue. The article begins with a case study of the famous Komenda case, which resulted in a successful innocence claim, serving as a good, though rare, example of reopening a case and acquitting the convict immediately and allows for discussing the reasons that commonly stand behind wrongful convictions in Poland. Furthermore, the article examines the innocence claim grounds as regulated in the Polish criminal procedure and their interpretation under the current case law. It also presents the procedure concerning the revision of the case. The work additionally provides the analysis of the use of innocence claim in practice, feeding on the statistical data and explaining tendencies in application for revision of a case. It also presents the efforts of the Polish Ombudsman and NGOs to raise public awareness in that field. The final conclusions address the main challenges that the Polish system faces concerning innocence claims and indicates the direction in which the system should go.


Wojciech Jasiński Ph.D., habilitation
Wojciech Jasiński is Assistant Professor in the Department of Criminal Procedure of the University of Wroclaw, Poland. orcid.org/0000-0002-7427-1474

Karolina Kremens Ph.D.
Karolina Kremens is Assistant Professor in the Department of Criminal Procedure of the University of Wroclaw, Poland. orcid.org/0000-0002-2132-2645
Article

Beizaras and Levickas v. Lithuania

Recognizing Individual Harm Caused by Cyber Hate?

Journal East European Yearbook on Human Rights, Issue 1 2020
Keywords hate speech, verbal hate crime, cyber hate, effective investigation, homophobia
Authors Viktor Kundrák
AbstractAuthor's information

    The issue of online hatred or cyber hate is at the heart of heated debates over possible limitations of online discussions, namely in the context of social media. There is freedom of expression and the value of the internet in and of itself on the one hand, and the need to protect the rights of victims, to address intolerance and racism, as well as the overarching values of equality of all in dignity and rights, on the other. Criminalizing some (forms of) expressions seems to be problematic but, many would agree, under certain circumstances, a necessary or even unavoidable solution. However, while the Court has long ago declared as unacceptable bias-motivated violence and direct threats, which under Articles 2, 3 and 8 in combination with Article 14 of the ECHR, activate the positive obligation of states to effectively investigate hate crimes, the case of Beizaras and Levickas v. Lithuania presented the first opportunity for the Court to extend such an obligation to the phenomenon of online verbal hate crime. This article will first address the concepts of hate speech and hate crime, including their intersection and, through the lens of pre-existing case law, identify the key messages for both national courts and practitioners. On the margins, the author will also discuss the issue of harm caused by verbal hate crime and the need to understand and recognize its gravity.


Viktor Kundrák
Viktor Kundrák has worked for the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) as a Hate Crime Officer since 2018. He has been responsible for ODIHR’s hate crime reporting, trained police, prosecutors and judges, and provided legislative and policy support at the national level. He is also a PhD candidate at Charles University in Prague. The views in this article are his own and do not necessarily represent those of ODIHR. Some of the opinions are based on an article published in Czech earlier this year (see V. Kundrák & M. Hanych, ‘Beizaras and Levickas v. Lithuania (Verbal Hate Crime on Social Network and Discriminatory Investigation)’, The Overview of the Judgments of the European Court of Human Rights, Vol. 3, 2020.
Human Rights Practice Review

Poland

Journal East European Yearbook on Human Rights, Issue 1 2020
Authors Vita Czepek and Jakub Czepek
Author's information

Vita Czepek
Dr Vita Czepek, University of Warsaw, Faculty of Law and Administration, Department of International Public Law.

Jakub Czepek
Dr Jakub Czepek, Cardinal Stefan Wyszyński University in Warsaw, Faculty of Law and Administration, Department of Human Rights Protection and International Humanitarian Law.

Franklin De Vrieze
Franklin De Vrieze, Senior Governance Adviser, Westminster Foundation for Democracy

Constantin Stefanou
Dr Constantin Stefanou, Director, Sir William Dale Centre for Legislative Studies; Institute of Advanced Legal Studies, University of London.
Article

Access_open States of Emergency

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

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

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


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

Emergency Measures in Response to the Coronavirus Crisis and Parliamentary Oversight in the EU Member States

Journal European Journal of Law Reform, Issue 4 2020
Keywords states of emergency, parliamentary oversight, health crisis, Covid-19, European Union Member States
Authors Maria Diaz Crego and Silvia Kotanidis
AbstractAuthor's information

    The Covid-19 pandemic has become a true stress test for the legal systems of the worst hit countries. Faced with a health crisis situation, many national governments have become the protagonists in the adoption of difficult measures severely restricting their citizens fundamental rights to the detriment of the powers usually entrusted to the national parliaments. This article examines the normative response of the 27 European Union Member States during the “first wave” of the Covid-19 pandemic, a period that runs from the declaration of a pandemic (March 2020) to mid-June 2020. The intention of the authors was to describe the legal and constitutional mechanisms activated in order to contain the pandemic, focusing on the role of national parliaments in the management of the crisis. This article explores also the degree to which national parliaments have been involved and could exercise parliamentary oversight over the normative measures used by the executive to contain the pandemic in the EU-27.


Maria Diaz Crego
Maria Diaza Crego is a Policy Analyst, European Parliament Research Service, European Parliament.

Silvia Kotanidis
Silvia Kotanidis is a Policy Analyst, European Parliament Research Service, European Parliament. The European Parliamentary Research Service (EPRS) is the internal research service and think tank of the European Parliament. This research paper derives from a paper originally published on 4 December 2020 by the EPRS as background material to assist Members and staff of the European Parliament in their parliamentary work. The content of the document is the sole responsibility of its authors and any opinions expressed therein should not be taken to represent an official position of the European Parliament.
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