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Article

Law Reform in Ireland

Implementation and Independence of Law Reform Commission

Journal European Journal of Law Reform, Issue 4 2019
Keywords law reform, statute law revision, better regulation, access to legislation, lawyer’s law
Authors Edward Donelan
AbstractAuthor's information

    This article describes the origins and work of the Law Reform Commission in Ireland. The model follows that in Common Law countries. Its work includes both substantive law reform and statute law revision (weeding out spent or unused statutes and undertaking consolidation or other work to make statute law more accessible.) The work of the Commission focuses on ‘lawyers’ law’ and, therefore, avoids subjects that could be politically controversial. Consequentially, the bulk of its recommendations are accepted and translated into legislation.


Edward Donelan
Edward Donelan, PhD, M.A., Barrister-at-Law (Kings Inns, Dublin, Middle Temple, London), Dip. Eur. Law, Dip. Arb. Better Regulation and Legislative Drafting Expert, currently working on projects with the Attorney General in Botswana to develop a programme of law reform for the newly established Law Reform Unit in the Chambers of the Attorney General.
Article

Independence and Implementation

In Harmony and in Tension

Journal European Journal of Law Reform, Issue 4 2019
Keywords Law Commission, law reform, legislation, independence, implementation
Authors Matthew Jolley
AbstractAuthor's information

    This article examines the factors that have influenced the independence of the Law Commission of England and Wales and the implementation of its recommendations. It discusses innovations in Parliamentary procedure for Law Commission Bills, the Protocol between Government and the Law Commission; and the requirement for the Lord Chancellor to report annually to Parliament on the implementation of the Law Commission’s proposals. It makes the case that the relationship between independence and implementation is complex: at times the two pull in opposite directions, and at times they support each other.


Matthew Jolley
Matthew Jolley is Head of Legal Services and Head of the Property, Family and Trust Law Team at the Law Commission of England and Wales. This article is written in a personal capacity – with thanks to Christine Land, Rachel Preston and Sarah Smith for their assistance with background research.
Article

Making Project Decisions Visible

Online Dispute Resolution Project Design, Structured Decision-Making and Visual Information Tools

Journal International Journal of Online Dispute Resolution, Issue 2 2019
Keywords visual facilitation, cognitive overload, decision-framing, online dispute resolution project planning
Authors Sharon Sturges and Susanne van der Meer
AbstractAuthor's information

    The authors presented on this topic during the International ODR Forum 2019 in Williamsburg, Virginia. The goal of this presentation was to share practices and ideas that have worked well in the design phase of an Online Dispute Resolution (ODR) pilot project for the State Courts of Colorado.


Sharon Sturges
Sharon Sturges, J.D., M.P.A., is the Director, Colorado Office of Dispute Resolution, Court Services Division, State Court Administrator’s Office. Prior to joining the State Court Administrator’s Office in 2015, Sharon engaged in private practice for over fifteen years, litigating and mediating domestic relations matters. She has split her career between the law and non-profit management. While living in Alaska early in her career, Sharon served as the executive director for a community mediation centre in Anchorage, where she focused on restorative justice practices and community mediation. In 2014, Ms. Sturges completed her master’s degree in public administration from the University of Colorado, Denver. Ms. Sturges is interested in increasing access to justice for self-represented litigants through better use of technology. For more information contact her at sharon.sturges@judicial.state.co.us.

Susanne van der Meer
Susanne van der Meer works within Colorado Judicial as a self-represented litigant coordinator in the small rural community of Trinidad, near the border with New Mexico. Her passion is to support greater Access to Justice through visual communication. Prior to moving to Denver, Colorado, in 2005, she worked for twelve years as an attorney and legal counsel in the Netherlands. She developed a broad expertise in visual communication through her independent work as a facilitator, strategic illustrator, author, designer and trainer in visual explaining and visual decision-making skills for lawyers. She teaches visual thinking skills as part of a Design Thinking programme at the University of Denver, Colorado.
Article

Assessing the Essentials of Litigant Experience in Court ODR Systems

Journal International Journal of Online Dispute Resolution, Issue 2 2019
Keywords courts, ODR, assessment, effectiveness, access to justice
Authors Jennifer Shack
AbstractAuthor's information

    As ODR rolls out in courts across the United States, we need to learn more about how litigants experience it. This is particularly true about their experience of access to justice, which is a primary motivator for courts to adopt ODR. This article discusses plans for an evaluation Resolution Systems Institute and the University of California, Davis, will be conducting of ODR programmes in Hawaii and Texas for small claims cases.


Jennifer Shack
Director of Research, Resolution Systems Institute.
Article

Digital Identity for Refugees and Disenfranchised Populations

The ‘Invisibles’ and Standards for Sovereign Identity

Journal International Journal of Online Dispute Resolution, Issue 1 2019
Keywords digital identity, sovereign identity, standards, online dispute resolution, refugees, access to justice
Authors Daniel Rainey, Scott Cooper, Donald Rawlins e.a.
AbstractAuthor's information

    This white paper reviews the history of identity problems for refugees and disenfranchised persons, assesses the current state of digital identity programmes based in nation-states, offers examples of non-state digital ID programmes that can be models to create strong standards for digital ID programmes, and presents a call to action for organizations like International Organization for Standardization (ISO) and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).


Daniel Rainey
Daniel Rainey is a Board Member, InternetBar.Org (IBO), and Board Member, International Council for Online Dispute Resolution (ICODR)

Scott Cooper
Scott Cooper is a Vice President, American National Standards Institute (retired).

Donald Rawlins
Donald Rawlins is a Candidate (May 2019), Master of Arts in Dispute Resolution, Southern Methodist University.

Kristina Yasuda
Kristina Yasuda is a Director of Digital Identities for the InternetBar.org and a consultant with Accenture Strategy advising large Japanese corporations on their digital identity and blockchain strategy.

Tey Al-Rjula
Tey Al-Rjula is CEO and Founder of Tykn.tech.

Manreet Nijjar
Manreet Nijjar is CEO and Co-founder of truu.id, Member of the Royal College Of Physicians (UK), IEEE Blockchain Healthcare Subcommittee on Digital Identity, UK All Party Parliamentary Group on Blockchain and Sovrin Guardianship task force committee.

    In 2016 the Dutch Government Commission of Reassessment of Parenthood (GCRP) proposed a wide array of legal changes to Family Law, e.g. with regard to legal multi-parenthood and legal multiple parental responsibility. Although the commission researched these matters thoroughly in its quest towards proposing new directions in the field of Family Law, multi-parents themselves were not interviewed by the commission. Therefore, this article aims to explore a possible gap between the social experiences of parents and the recommendations of the GCRP. Data was drawn from in depth-interviews with a sample of 25 parents in plus-two-parent constellations living in Belgium and the Netherlands. For the most part the social experiences of parents aligned with the ways in which the GCRP plans to legally accommodate the former. However, my data tentatively suggests that other (legal) recommendations of the GCRP need to be explored more in depth.
    ---
    In 2016 stelde de Nederlandse Staatscommissie Herijking ouderschap voor om een wettelijk kader te creëren voor meerouderschap en meeroudergezag. Ondanks de grondigheid van het gevoerde onderzoek ontbraken er gegevens omtrent de ervaringen van de meerouders zelf. Dit artikel levert een bijdrage in het vullen van deze leemte door inzage te geven in de (juridische) ervaringen van 25 ouders in meerouderschapsconstellaties in België en Nederland.


Nola Cammu MA
Nola Cammu is PhD Candidate at the Law Faculty of the University of Antwerp.
Article

Judging Reformers and Reforming Judges

Journal European Journal of Law Reform, Issue 1 2019
Keywords law reform, common law, judges, United Kingdom Supreme Court, legal reasoning
Authors James Lee
AbstractAuthor's information

    This article examines the practice and limits of judicial law reform. In particular, I consider the question of when initiation of a reform is appropriate for the judiciary as opposed to the legislature, an issue which has been a matter of controversy amongst the Justices of the United Kingdom Supreme Court. This question is assessed in the light of the institutional and constitutional competences of the courts, particularly with respect to the structure of common law reasoning. It is also argued that it is important to have regard to perspectives of the relevant judges, in understanding the individual and collective approaches to the judicial development of the law.


James Lee
James Lee is Reader in English Law and PC Woo Research Fellow 2016-2017 at The Dickson Poon School of Law, King’s College London, and Associate Academic Fellow of the Honourable Society of the Inner Temple; Senior Visiting Fellow, Gilbert + Tobin Centre of Public Law, University of New South Wales; and Visiting Professor, Hong Kong University. I am grateful to Enrico Albanesi, Mark Lunney, Jonathan Teasdale and all those who attended the Law Reform Workshop at the Institute of Advanced Legal Studies in November 2017 and a Kirby Seminar at the School of Law at the University of New England at which drafts of this article were presented. I thank both PC Woo & Co and the Faculty of Law at UNSW for the generous support for the project of which this article forms part. All views, and any errors, are my own.

    The Employment Appeal Tribunal has ruled both non-guaranteed and voluntary overtime should be included in the calculation of holiday pay.


Soren Kristophersen
Soren Kristophersen is a Legal Assistant at Lewis Silkin LLP.
Part II Private Justice

Standards, Qualifications, and Certification for e-Mediators

Journal International Journal of Online Dispute Resolution, Issue 1-2 2018
Keywords Online Dispute Resolution, e-Mediation, ethics, standards of practice, qualifications, certification, International Mediation Institute, Association for Conflict Resolution, American Bar Association, American Arbitration Association, National Center for Technology and Dispute Resolution, International Council for Online Dispute Resolution, National Center for State Courts
Authors Ana Maria Gonçalves and Daniel Rainey
AbstractAuthor's information

    This article explores the question ‘how does one judge whether a mediator working online is competent?’ The authors compare the basic standards used to certify mediators working offline to a set of e-mediation standards developed by the International Mediation Institute, and suggest that training modules addressing the specific skills and competencies needed to be a successful online mediator be incorporated into basic mediator training.


Ana Maria Gonçalves
Ana Maria Gonçalves is the co-chair of the IMI ODR Taskforce, the founder and president of ICFML and a member of the Portuguese Mediation Federation (FMC). She is a graduate from UAL Lisbon and has a master of law degree. She is an IMI-certified mediator and is listed in the major international panels of mediators. She is a lecturer in major Portuguese and Brazilian Universities and is a regular speaker in International Conferences on the topics of ADR, mediation, negotiation and ODR. As a mediator, she works with a wide range of international clients, particularly on cross-border disputes, often online, and has mediated a wide variety of disputes in Europe, Australia and USA. She also designs and facilitates collaboration management training programs and, as an ICF-accredited PCC coach, she supports senior executives and professionals to develop their conflict management and negotiation skills.

Daniel Rainey
Daniel Rainey is a principle in Holistic Solutions, Inc., and he served as the co-chair of the IMI ODR Task Force. He is an adjunct professor at multiple universities in the United States, and he serves as a Board Member for the InternetBar.Org (IBO) and the Northern Virginia Mediation Service (NVMS). He is a member of the Virginia State Supreme Court’s Access to Justice Commission Self-Represented Litigants Committee, a Fellow of the National Center for Technology and Dispute Resolution (NCTDR) and a founding Board Member of the International Council for Online Dispute Resolution (ICODR).

Albert Dzur
Albert Dzur is Professor, Departments of Political Science and Philosophy, Bowling Green State University, USA. Contact author: awdzur@bgsu.edu.

    Artificial intelligence is an emerging technology which is anticipated to revolutionize society and industry. Artificial intelligence also presents a potential technological component to ensure the cyber and physical security of space assets. However, the use of artificial intelligence in space assets may conflict with certain legal obligations or duties imposed by the space law treaty regime.
    Outer Space Treaty Article VIII obligates a State to retain control over a space object it launches. Using artificial intelligence in space assets presents the question of whether such reliance abdicates a State’s obligation to retain control over a space object it launched or which is registered to it. If so, then issues will exist regarding how a State may balance the use of artificial intelligence in space assets with its obligations under the Outer Space Treaty. For instance, in the emerging autonomous or driverless motor vehicle technology, some jurisdictions in the United States are contemplating laws which mandate human ability to override or otherwise intervene in decision making by artificial intelligence in certain circumstances.
    Similarly, Article III of the Liability Convention imposes liability based on a State’s fault or fault of persons for whom the State is responsible. The use of artificial intelligence in space assets presents the possibility of negating Article III’s fault-based concept. The unsettled liability issues associated with autonomous motor vehicles may very well foreshadow liability and fault allocation issues arising from the use of artificial intelligence in space assets.
    This paper will examine whether the use of artificial intelligence in space assets conforms with a State’s obligation under Outer Space Treaty Article VIII and Liability Convention Article III and analyze what measures, if any, may be necessary to ensure that the provisions are not undermined by the use of artificial intelligence in space assets.


George Anthony Long
Managing Member, Legal Parallax, LLC, United States. gal@legalparallax.com.
Article

Promoting Legislative Objectives Throughout Diverse Sub-National Jurisdictions

Journal European Journal of Law Reform, Issue 1 2018
Keywords devolution, informal jurisdiction, rule of law, disparate impacts, participatory problem-solving, intransitive law, legislative standardization
Authors Lorna Seitz
AbstractAuthor's information

    This article outlines an approach, derived from Ann and Robert Seidman’s Institutionalist Legislative Drafting Theory and Methodology (ILTAM), for drafting laws and developing implementing policies and programmes to realize legislative objectives and promote necessary behavioural change throughout a jurisdiction despite significant sub-jurisdictional socio-economic differences. ILTAM can serve as a powerful tool for catalysing the development of situationally appropriate programmes to initiate and sustain behavioural change in furtherance of legislative objectives. The article begins by discussing the movement towards legislative standardization, and its benefits and failings. It then introduces the concept of informal jurisdictions, and highlights modifications to ILTAM that improve the methodology’s efficacy in devising solutions that work in those jurisdictions. The article then describes the power of intransitive law as a mechanism for catalysing progress towards shared objectives in a manner that allows for localized approaches, promotes governmental responsiveness, brings innovation, and maximizes participatory governance. Lastly, it describes the importance that Ann and Robert Seidman placed on institutionalizing on-going monitoring, evaluation and learning processes; and describes how intransitive drafting techniques can focus implementation on motivating behavioural change while systematically identifying needed policy and law reforms in response to suboptimal legislative outcomes.


Lorna Seitz
The Legis Institute. Seitz earned her JD from Boston University (BU), where she served as Editor-in-Chief of Professor Seidman’s Legislative Clinics. After graduating, Seitz served as the Director of the BU/ICLAD Legislative Distance Drafting Program for several years, taught in the BU Legislative Clinics (and overseas) alongside Professor Seidman, and served as principal for the International Consortium for Law and Development (a non-profit co-founded by the Seidmans) from 2004-2014. Seitz co-founded The Legis Institute to realize the combined potential of ILTAM and 21st Century technology to overcome barriers to inclusive, responsive, evidence-based policy and law development and governance.
Article

The Reliability of Evidence in Evidence-Based Legislation

Journal European Journal of Law Reform, Issue 1 2018
Keywords evidence-based legislation, Institutional Legislative Theory and Methodology (ILTAM), reliable evidence, Professor Robert Seidman
Authors Sean J. Kealy and Alex Forney
AbstractAuthor's information

    As evidence-based legislation develops, and as technology puts more information at our fingertips, there should be a better understanding of what exactly constitutes reliable evidence. Robert and Ann Seidman devoted their professional careers to developing the evidence-based Institutional Legislative Theory and Methodology and teaching it to legislative drafters around the world. Although ILTAM was firmly grounded in – and driven by – evidence, the question becomes what evidence is reliable and a worthy input for the methodology. Further, how can the drafter avoid the misuses of evidence such as confirmation bias and naïve beliefs? We aim to give a guide for using evidence by offering examples of evidence-based legislation in practice and through a proposed hierarchy of evidence from most to least reliable:

    1. Experiments within the jurisdiction / lessons from other jurisdictions.

    2. Information on a topic or issue that was formally requested by the legislature or produced to the legislature under oath or under the penalties of perjury.

    3. Studies / information provided by a government agency.

    4. Expert or scientific studies.

    5. Economic or mathematical models and statistics.

    6. Information provided by special interests.

    7. Stories, apocrypha and uncorroborated tales.


    We hope that this hierarchy provides a starting point for discussion to refine and improve evidence-based legislation.


Sean J. Kealy
Sean J. Kealy is a Clinical Associate Professor of Law, Director of the Legislative Clinics, Boston University School of Law. This article expands upon a concept that he first wrote about in Designing Legislation (APKN, 2011). Professor Kealy wishes to thank Professor Richard Briffault, Joseph P. Chamberlain Professor of Legislation at Columbia Law School, and Professor William W. Buzbee, Georgetown Law School, for reading and commenting on this article at the American Association of Law Schools 2017 Conference.

Alex Forney
Alex Forney earned his Juris Doctor, Boston University School of Law, 2016.
Article

Access_open Legal Constraints on the Indeterminate Control of ‘Dangerous’ Sex Offenders in the Community: The English Perspective

Journal Erasmus Law Review, Issue 2 2016
Keywords Dangerous, sex offenders, human rights, community supervision, punishment
Authors Nicola Padfield
AbstractAuthor's information

    This article explores the legal constraints imposed on the rising number of so-called ‘dangerous’ sex offenders in England and Wales, in particular once they have been released from prison into the community. The main methods of constraint are strict licence conditions, Multi-Agency Public Protection Arrangements and civil protective orders such as Sexual Harm Prevention Orders. ‘Control’ in the community is thus widespread, but is difficult to assess whether it is either effective or necessary without a great deal more research and analysis. Post-sentence ‘punishment’ has been largely ignored by both academic lawyers and criminologists. The article concludes that financial austerity might prove to be as important as the human rights agenda in curbing the disproportionate use of powers of control.


Nicola Padfield
Nicola Padfield, MA, Dip Crim, DES, Reader in Criminal and Penal Justice, University of Cambridge. I thank Michiel van der Wolf for involving me in this project and for his many useful insights and comments.
Article

Prologue: The IALS Law Reform Project

Journal European Journal of Law Reform, Issue 3 2016
Keywords statute, common law, codification, consolidation, implementation
Authors Jonathan Teasdale
AbstractAuthor's information

    Law, particularly enacted law, needs to be as simple and as accessible as possible, clear and concise and – perhaps above all – fit for the purposes of modern society. Laws passed in one decade may prove to be less than adequate for the needs of later generations because of changes in the social fabric or social mores or because of technological advance or economic challenge. Societies needs mechanisms for keeping law under review, particularly when governments are focused on introducing more law – sometimes layered on top of existing law – to fulfil electoral promises. The position is compounded in common law systems where the senior judiciary add to the legal corpus.
    Different jurisdictions have differing needs. The IALS Law Reform Project (at the Institute of Advanced Legal Studies, University of London) has set itself the task of identifying the range of law reform mechanisms employed across the common law and civil law worlds with a view to establishing which of the components are core, and identifying others which could be improved. The starting point, of course, is: what is law reform? Are reform and revision the same? Does reform need to be legislative? Why does codification work in civil law jurisdictions but is eschewed in parts of the common law world? This is about the processes of law reform; substantive reform is for another day.


Jonathan Teasdale
LL.B, LL.M, Barrister (England and Wales), FRSA. Presently associate research fellow in the Sir William Dale Centre for Legislative Studies at the Institute of Advanced Legal Studies (University of London) specializing in law reform, and formerly a lawyer with the Law Commission for England and Wales.
Article

‘Living in Sin’: A Reform Proposal for Financial Relief Following Cohabitation Breakdown

Journal European Journal of Law Reform, Issue 4 2015
Keywords cohabitation, financial relief, family trusts, common law marriage
Authors Luke Tattersall
AbstractAuthor's information

    The number of adults choosing to cohabit has increased by over 67% since 1991. Despite such a dramatic shift in social norms, the law governing financial relief upon relationship breakdown remains inept to handle the significant increase in cohabitants. This article examines how the current system of family trusts constitutes an archaic and inadequate means of dividing cohabitants’ assets. The law of trusts fails to reflect the subtleties of personal relationships, often resulting in financial injustice. The author goes on to consider the notion of common law marriage, highlighting how despite attempts by both the government and policy makers to dispel the concept it nevertheless remains prevalent throughout the United Kingdom. The core counterargument to extending financial relief is that it would undermine the institution of marriage and obscure the boundaries between cohabitant and spouse. This article critically examines this claim, adopting cross-jurisdictional analysis by considering the experiences of Scotland, Ireland and Australia where cohabitants have greater financial rights before concluding that the argument fails to stand up to scrutiny. The author ends by advancing a series of reforms designed to vindicate cohabitants, resulting in a fairer distribution of assets and bringing legal recognition to the United Kingdom’s largest growing family unit.


Luke Tattersall
Luke Tattersall is a trainee-barrister and Research Assistant in Law at Durham University. All opinions, errors and omissions are solely those of the author.
Article

Goodwill/Intangibles Accounting Rules, Earnings Management, and Competition

Journal European Journal of Law Reform, Issue 1 2015
Keywords fraud, mergers and acquisitions, Games economic psychology, regulation, goodwill and intangibles
Authors Michael I.C. Nwogugu
AbstractAuthor's information

    Intangible assets account for 60%-75% of the market capitalization value in most developed stock markets around the world. The US GAAP and IFRS Goodwill and Intangibles accounting regulations (ASC 805, Business Combinations; ASC 350, Goodwill and Intangible Assets; IFRS-3R, Business Combinations; and IAS 38, Accounting for Intangible Assets) are inefficient and create potentially harmful psychological biases. These regulations facilitate earnings management and money laundering, reduce competition within industries, and are likely to increase the incidence of fraud and misconduct. This article introduces a new goodwill/intangibles disclosure/accounting model that can reduce the incidence of fraud, information asymmetry, moral hazard, adverse selection, and inaccuracy. The article also introduces new economic psychological theories that can explain fraud, misconduct, and non-compliance arising from the implementation of the goodwill/intangibles accounting rules.


Michael I.C. Nwogugu
Address: Enugu, Enugu State, Nigeria. Emails: mcn2225@aol.com; mcn111@juno.com. Phone: 234-909-606-8162.
Article

Access_open Legal Advice in Police Custody: From Europe to a Local Police Station

Journal Erasmus Law Review, Issue 4 2014
Keywords legal advice, police interrogation, European Union, England and Wales, France
Authors Anna Ogorodova and Taru Spronken
AbstractAuthor's information

    In October 2013, the European Union adopted a Directive, which guarantees, inter alia, the right of access to a lawyer to suspects of criminal offences from the outset of police custody and during police interrogation. However, adoption of the relevant legislation is not sufficient to ensure that this right becomes effective in practice. A range of practical measures will have to be taken by the Member States’ authorities and the legal profession to effectuate the implementation of the right to custodial legal advice. This article aims to identify the practical factors that may influence the implementation of the Directive, based on the findings of a recent normative and empirical study conducted by the authors. The research was carried out in four European jurisdictions (England and Wales, France, the Netherlands and Scotland), and it consisted of analysis of regulations, observations of daily practice in police stations, accompanying lawyers who provided custodial legal advice, and interviews with criminal justice practitioners. The article provides a range of recommendations on the practical measures to be undertaken by the EU Member States and national Bar associations aiming at improving the protection of suspects’ rights in police custody in practice.


Anna Ogorodova
Anna Ogorodova, LLM is PhD researcher at the University of Maastricht.

Taru Spronken
Dr Taru Spronken is Professor of Criminal Law and Criminal Procedure at Maastricht University and Advocate General at the Supreme Court in the Netherlands.
Article

Access_open Juveniles’ Right to Counsel during Police Interrogations: An Interdisciplinary Analysis of a Youth-Specific Approach, with a Particular Focus on the Netherlands

Journal Erasmus Law Review, Issue 4 2014
Keywords legal representation, counsel, juvenile justice, police interrogations, children’s rights
Authors Prof. Dr. Ton Liefaard Ph.D. LL.M and Yannick van den Brink
AbstractAuthor's information

    The right to counsel of juveniles at the stage of police interrogations has gained significant attention since the Salduz ruling of the European Court on Human Rights in 2008. The legislative and policy developments that have taken place since then and that are still ongoing – both on a regional (European) and domestic (Dutch) level – reveal a shared belief that juvenile suspects must be awarded special protection in this phase of the criminal justice proceedings. This calls for a youth-specific approach as fundamentally different from the common approach for adults. At the same time, there seems to be ambivalence concerning the justification and concrete implications of such a youth-specific approach. This article aims to clarify the underlying rationale and significance of a youth specific approach to the right to counsel at the stage of police interrogations on the basis of an interdisciplinary analysis of European Court on Human Rights case law, international children’s rights standards and relevant developmental psychological insights. In addition, this article aims to position this right of juveniles in conflict with the law in the particular context of the Dutch juvenile justice system and provide concrete recommendations to the Dutch legislator.


Prof. Dr. Ton Liefaard Ph.D. LL.M
Prof. Dr. T. Liefaard is Professor of Children’s Rights (UNICEF Chair) at Leiden Law School, Department of Child Law; t.liefaard@law.leidenuniv.nl.

Yannick van den Brink
Y.N. van den Brink, LL.M, MA, is PhD researcher at Leiden Law School, Department of Child Law; y.n.van.den.brink@law.leidenuniv.nl.
Article

Living in the Past

The Critics of Plain Language

Journal European Journal of Law Reform, Issue 3 2014
Keywords plain language, legal drafting, legislation, professional responsibility, legalese
Authors Derwent Coshott
AbstractAuthor's information

    This article addresses three core complaints that are frequently levelled by critics of plain legal language: (1) It will reduce reliance on lawyers; (2) It is uncertain and will lead to greater litigation; and (3) Legal writing is, and should only be, for a legally trained audience. The article develops a definition of plain language that reflects a more contemporary understanding. It demonstrates that the three core criticisms misrepresent this understanding and are unsustainable with regard to lawyers’ duty to clients, the role of legislation as public documents, and modern commercial realities.


Derwent Coshott
BA (Dist) (UNSW) JD (Syd) GradDipLegalPrac (ColLaw) LLM (Syd). PhD Candidate and Casual Lecturer at the University of Sydney.
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