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Article

Another Type of Deficit?

Human Rights, Corporate Social Responsibility, and the Shaping of the European Union’s Linkage Strategy

Journal European Journal of Law Reform, Issue 4 2014
Keywords human rights, corporate social responsibility, linkage strategy
Authors Aurora Voiculescu
AbstractAuthor's information

    This article engages with the European Union’s continuing strategy, in the context of the economic crisis, of addressing the human rights deficit of the current economic model by promoting a multifarious normative linkage between the economic, market-driven sphere and the human rights-anchored social sphere. The article looks into issues of normativity associated with the EU linkage agenda and interrogates some of its institutional and conceptual elements. It contends that, while the linkage discourse depends on a multitude of actors and factors, the EU encompasses a number of features that – by entropy as much as by design – facilitate an interrogation of the normative set-up that currently holds between human rights and the market mechanisms. The first part of the article addresses the linkage or ‘trade and’ debate that carries distinct nuances within contemporary international economic law. In the second part, the potential as well as the challenges brought about by the EU as a socio-political entity highlight the bringing together of competing normative issues. Lastly, the article considers the EU conceptual inroads in developing the necessary tools for consolidating and addressing the linkage agenda. Through this analysis, the article highlights an essential, dynamic nexus and a search for normative synchronisation between the economic development model and the social model. It is argued that coupling this nexus with a conceptual rethinking can increase the chances of matching the so far rhetorical persuasiveness of the linkage discourse with the so far elusive conceptual coherence and policy consistency.


Aurora Voiculescu
Westminster International Law and Theory Centre, University of Westminster, London, United Kingdom. A first draft of this paper was presented at the workshop organised by the Centre for the Law of EU External Relations (CLEER) ‘Linking trade and non-commercial interests: the EU as a global role model?’, on 9 November 2012 at the TMC Asser Institute, The Hague. I am very grateful to the workshop participants as well as to Tamara Takacs, Andrea Ott, and Angelos Dimopoulos for the very insightful comments that helped me develop the paper further. Of course, all remaining mistakes are entirely mine.
Article

EU Corporate Governance

The Ongoing Challenges of the ‘Institutional Investor Activism’ Conundrum

Journal European Journal of Law Reform, Issue 4 2014
Keywords EU corporate governance, institutional investors, stewardship, shareholders, asset managers
Authors Konstantinos Sergakis
AbstractAuthor's information

    Institutional investor activism seems to be the ultimate means for steady improvement in corporate governance standards, as well as a powerful tool for refocusing short-term strategies towards more sustainable and viable business projects. Although EU institutions have endeavoured over the past decade to facilitate the exercise of a wide range of shareholder rights, the impact of such regulatory initiatives remains to be seen. This paper challenges the current EU regulatory approach by supporting the idea that, while it has touched upon important topics, such as companies or financial intermediaries, hoping that the investor community will make full use of its discretion and evaluation of these actors, it has avoided resolving another crucial issue, namely, that of investor behaviour. In fact, institutional investors have been partially accused of apathy and contributing indirectly to the EU capital markets crisis. EU law thus needs to find new ways to nurture and maintain an effective willingness to engage in long-term dialogue with companies. It is therefore crucial to reassess all EU initiatives and critically challenge their efficiency in order to propose a way forward to unblock institutional investor activism and establish a veritable alignment of objectives with corporate managers.


Konstantinos Sergakis
Lecturer in Law, University of Bristol. The author is very grateful to Professor Charlotte Villiers for her valuable comments at the early stages of this article. The usual disclaimer applies.
Article

Plain, Clear, and Something More?

Criteria for Communication in Legal Language

Journal European Journal of Law Reform, Issue 3 2014
Keywords plain language, legislative drafting, definition, mediation, ignorance of the law
Authors Derek Roebuck
AbstractAuthor's information

    Legislation may be presumed to be intended to transmit a message to those whose conduct it aims to affect. That message achieves its purpose only insofar as it is intelligible to its recipients. Drafters should make every effort to use plain language, but not all meaning can be transferred in plain language. The true criterion is clarity.
    ‘Mediation’ and ‘conciliation’ are examples of definitions created by legislators which do not correspond with categories in practice. Historical research illuminates cultural differences which affect transmission of meaning. Recent practice also illustrates the possibilities of creative methods for resolving disputes and the dangers of unnecessary prescription.
    Imprecise thinking of legislators precludes transmission of precise meaning, as does preference for word-for-word translation. ‘Highest Common Factor’ language is no substitute for natural target language.
    No efforts of legislators or translators can prevail against political power. ‘Ignorance of the law is no excuse’ overrides the imperative to transfer meaning.
    If research is to be effective, it must be not only comparative but interdisciplinary.


Derek Roebuck
Professor Derek Roebuck, Senior Associate Research Fellow, Institute of Advanced Legal Studies, University of London.
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