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Article

Digital Equals Public

Assembly Meetings Under a Lockdown Regime

Journal European Journal of Law Reform, Issue 4 2020
Keywords COVID-19 regulation, temporary legislation, sunset clauses, digitalization, digital democracy, local democracy, experimental legislation
Authors Lianne van Kalken and Evert Stamhuis
AbstractAuthor's information

    In this article we examine the Dutch emergency legislation for local democracy. In response to the COVID-19 pandemic in the Netherlands, the Temporary Act for digital meetings for local/regional government tiers was enacted. The legislature introduced a system of digital debate and decision-making for municipal and provincial councils, the democratically elected assemblies at the local and regional levels. At the same time the Ministry of the Interior and Kingdom Relations set up an evaluation committee to monitor and evaluate the working of the local and provincial governments with this temporary legislation.
    This article discusses the content and application of the temporary provisions for deliberation and decision-making on a digital platform. The purpose of the legislation is to create possibilities for the elected representatives to continue their work during the lockdown. We examine the design and structure of the legislation and disclose the evaluation results so far. The arrangements aim for secure, transparent and reliable democratic practices. Early evidence pertaining to the effects of the Act show that it works effectively only up to a certain level. We critically discuss the sunset clause in the Act and plead against function creep. Moreover, the expectations now and in the future from continuous digitalization of this part of the democratic process should be modest. On the basis of our analysis of the characteristics of the legislation and the effects on the political work of the representatives, we conclude that the current form of digitalization does not provide for the interaction between representatives and their constituencies and the communities at large.


Lianne van Kalken
Lianne van Kalken is lecturer and researcher constitutional law in Erasmus School of Law. She was a member of the evaluation committee, but contributes to this article in a personal capacity. For further affiliations see http://www.linkedin.com/in/liannevankalken/.

Evert Stamhuis
Evert F. Stamhuis is chair Law & Innovation at Erasmus School of Law and senior fellow of the Jean Monnet Centre of Excellence on Digital Governance. See for other affiliations https://www.linkedin.com/in/evertstamhuis/
Article

Towards Online Dispute Resolution-Led Justice in China

Journal International Journal of Online Dispute Resolution, Issue 2 2020
Keywords Online Dispute Resolution, smart court, internet court, access to justice, China
Authors Carrie Shu Shang and Wenli Guo
AbstractAuthor's information

    The use of online dispute resolution (ODR) in courts is a growing topic of interest. By focusing on the recent development of ODR-connected smart courts in China, this article explores ODR’s potential impact on Chinese legal systems from three aspects: role of courts and the legal profession, due process rights, and information safety. By focusing on changing dispute resolution theories – from emphasizing on conflict resolution to dispute prevention – the article argues that ODR-led court reforms rose to the centre because the reform caters to specific purposes of the recent series of reforms conducted under the auspices of the Rule of Law campaign, by prioritizing efficiency goals and attempting to enhance individualist justice experiences. In this article, we define the meaning of ODR in China and describe and categorize ODR technologies that are currently in use in China. Based on these general findings and promising technological options of ODR, we also recommend ways to better implement ODR in Chinese courts to take full advantage of technological advancements.


Carrie Shu Shang
Carrie Shu Shang, Assistant Professor, Coordinator, Business Law program, California State Polytechnic University, Pomona,

Wenli Guo
Wenli Guo, Ph.D., Assistant President, Beiming Software Co. Ltd., President, Internet Nomocracy Institute of Beiming Software Co. Ltd.,
Article

The Online Civil Money Claim

Litigation, ADR and ODR in One Single Dispute Resolution Process

Journal International Journal of Online Dispute Resolution, Issue 1 2020
Keywords ADR, pre-action protocols, civil procedure, online dispute resolution, mediation, civil justice, online civil money claim, online services
Authors Md Mahar Abbasy
AbstractAuthor's information

    This article considers the recent reforms in English Civil Justice System, especially the new Online Civil Money Claim (OCMC). To make the UK courts easily accessible and affordable, Lord Justice Briggs in his Civil Courts Structure Review recommended for the introduction of an Online Solutions Court. This is a revolutionary step because it embeds alternative dispute resolution (ADR), in particular mediation, into the court system. This is very important because mediation emerged as an alternative to courts but has become an integral part of it. This study critically examines how mediation is being embedded into the English Civil Justice System and argues for a balanced relationship between litigation and mediation because they complement each other. This article is divided into four sections (a) Section 2 will discuss how the Online Court will impact the open justice; (b) Section 3 will provide an overview of the three stages of OCMC; (c) Section 4 will carry out a critical analysis of the OCMC; and (d) Section 5 will seek to put forward solutions and recommendations in light of the findings.


Md Mahar Abbasy
PhD Candidate at the University of Leicester.
Article

The New Regulation Governing AIR, VIR and Consultation

A Further Step Forward Towards ‘Better Regulation’ in Italy

Journal European Journal of Law Reform, Issue 4 2019
Keywords regulation, RIA, regulatory impact analysis, impact assessment, evaluation, consultation
Authors Victor Chimienti
AbstractAuthor's information

    This article describes the scope and contents of the newly adopted regulation governing regulatory impact analysis (RIA) and ex post evaluation of regulation (ExPER) in the Italian legal system. The article shows that this regulation has the potential to improve regulatory governance in Italy. Not only does it introduce innovations designed to increase transparency and participation, especially through strengthened consultation and communication mechanisms, but it also aims to improve the quality and effectiveness of regulatory analysis and evaluation activities. How the new regulation will be applied in practice, however, remains to be seen. In the meantime, the new set of rules are a welcome addition to Italy’s Better Regulation policy.


Victor Chimienti
Victor Chimienti is an international and EU lawyer currently working as a free-lance consultant on donor funded projects. In 1997, he graduated in Law with full marks at the University of Bari “Aldo Moro” (Italy), and, in 2006, obtained his Ph.D in International and EU Law from the same university. Meanwhile, he had attended post-graduate legal studies at LUISS University in Rome, Italy, specialising in international and EC business law. Dr. Chimienti has also served as Lecturer in International and Trade Law at the University of Foggia, Italy, and as Research Scholar in International & Comparative Law at the University of Michigan, USA. Among others, he specialises in Better Regulation tools and procedures, such as Regulatory Impact Analysis (RIA), Ex-Post Evaluation of Legislation, Monitoring, and Public Consultation.
Article

Key Factors of the Development and Renewal of the Social Market Economy in the EU

Journal Hungarian Yearbook of International Law and European Law, Issue 1 2019
Keywords Europe 2020 strategy, social market economy, eco-social market economy, social welfare systems, EU structural funds
Authors István Kőrösi
AbstractAuthor's information

    The purpose of this study is to present the principles, strategy and operation of the social market economy, based on legal, political and economic considerations. The first social market economy, West Germany – followed by Austria, the Netherlands, as well as other countries in Northern and Western Europe –, mustered a positive overall performance from the post-World War II years to the early 1970s. Since then, however, we have been witnessing the erosion, distortion and decline of efficiency of the social market economy. There are four main issues to be addressed: (i) What are the main theoretical and conceptual, ‘eternal’ elements of the social market economy? (ii) What economic policy was built on this theoretical foundation and why did the system work well in Western Europe after World War II? (iii) What factors eroded this system? (iv) Can social market economy be renewed in the second decade of the 21st century and, if it can, what are the preconditions of it? In my analysis, I highlight some key areas: EU policies, Lisbon Agenda and Europe 2020 strategy, growth, financial disequilibria and competitiveness, innovation and employment, the relation of state and market.


István Kőrösi
Associate professor, Pázmány Péter Catholic University, Budapest; senior research fellow, World Economic Institute of ERRC of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences.
Article

e-Court – Dutch Alternative Online Resolution of Debt Collection Claims

A Violation of the Law or Blessing in Disguise?

Journal International Journal of Online Dispute Resolution, Issue 1 2019
Keywords fair trial, money claims, judiciary, ECHR, arbitration
Authors Willemien Netjes and Arno R. Lodder
AbstractAuthor's information

    In 2017, the Dutch alternative dispute resolution (ADR) initiative e-Court handled 20,000 debt collection claims via an online arbitration procedure, and this number was expected to double in 2018. In September of that same year, the Chairman for the Council of the Judiciary, Frits Bakker, argued on the Day for the Judiciary that in the future most lawsuits can be handled automatically and that a robot judge could work fast, efficiently and cheaply. However, in January 2018, Frits Bakker seemed to have changed his mind and criticized e-Court for its lack of impartiality, lack of transparency, unlawfully denying people the right to a state Court, and for being a ‘robot judge’. Ultimately, all criticism boiled down to one issue: that the defendant’s right to a fair trial was not sufficiently protected in e-Court’s procedure. This accusation led to a huge media outcry, and as a result Courts were no longer willing to grant an exequatur to e-Court’s arbitral awards until the Supreme Court had given its approval. This forced e-Court to temporarily halt its services. Questions such as ‘is arbitration desirable in the case of bulk debt collection procedures?’ and ‘are arbitration agreements in standard terms of consumer contracts desirable?’ are relevant and important, but inherently political. In this article, we argue that the conclusion of the judiciary and media that e-Court’s procedure is in breach of the right to a fair trial is not substantiated by convincing legal arguments. Our aim is not to evaluate whether online arbitration is the best solution to the debt collection claim congestion of Courts in the Netherlands, but instead to assess e-Court’s procedure in the light of Article 6 of the European Convention of Human Rights. The conclusion is that e-Court’s procedure sufficiently guarantees the right to a fair trial and thus that the criticism expressed was of a political rather than legal nature.


Willemien Netjes
Faculty of Law, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam.

Arno R. Lodder
Article

Access_open World Justice Forum VI

Insights and Takeaways

Journal International Journal of Online Dispute Resolution, Issue 1 2019
Keywords World Justice Forum, World Justice Project, World Justice Report, online dispute resolution, technology, access to justice, Justice Layer of the Internet
Authors Jeffrey Aresty and Larry Bridgesmith
AbstractAuthor's information

    In May 2019, the World Justice Project (WJP) convened its sixth annual conference to explore the state of access to justice (A2J) in the global context. World Justice Forum VI met in The Hague and published the most recent A2J report compiled after a year of analysis and based on more than a decade of public, government and citizen data. Measuring the Justice Gap revealed less than optimistic data reflecting the lack of significant progress toward fulfilling the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 16: achieving just, peaceful and inclusive societies by 2030. The 2019 conference showcased many global initiatives seeking to narrow the justice gap. For the most part these initiatives rely on institutional action by governments, financial institutions and NGO’s. As important as these projects are, transforming the access to justice status of the world can also be achieved through actions focused on Justice at the Layer of the Internet. A consensus based governance model can build a legal framework which is not reliant on the enactment of laws, the promulgation of regulations or overcoming the inertia of institutional inaction. This article reviews the learning gleaned from the WJP and the 2019 Forum. It also seeks to augment the great work of the WJP by exploring the potential for justice as delivered by individuals joined in consensus and relying on emerging technologies.


Jeffrey Aresty
Jeff Aresty is an international business and e-commerce lawyer with 35 years of experience in international cyberlaw technology transfer. He is the Founder and President of the InternetBar.Org.

Larry Bridgesmith
Larry Bridgesmith J.D., is CEO of LegalAlignment LLC, a practicing lawyer in Nashville, Tennessee, and Professor of Law at Vanderbilt University and coordinator of its programme on law and innovation.
Part II Private Justice

Using Technology and ADR Methods to Enhance Access to Justice

Journal International Journal of Online Dispute Resolution, Issue 1-2 2018
Keywords ODR, ADR, mediation, online court, e-court, consumer ADR, CADR, CDR, ombudsman
Authors Pablo Cortes
AbstractAuthor's information

    This article discusses how technology and extrajudicial processes can provide a solution to the access-to-justice problem for self-represented litigants. The article first observes the need for efficient dispute resolution processes based on a wider concept of access to justice and argues for greater integration amongst courts and extrajudicial bodies, especially in the consumer sphere where dispute resolution bodies are currently undergoing an institutionalization process as a result of recent EU legislation. Accordingly, it is argued that access to justice for consumers will only be achieved if they have access to either an accountable and effective extrajudicial scheme that offers adjudication or a truly user-friendly and accessible online court that incorporates alternative dispute resolution techniques as the United Kingdom has endeavoured to deliver. To that end, this article examines the policy options for the English Online Court with a particular focus on the challenges faced by litigants in person. Finally, this article submits that dispute system design changes need to be informed by empirical research and a holistic policy strategy on dispute resolution.


Pablo Cortes
Pablo Cortes is Professor of Civil Justice, Leicester Law School, University of Leicester.
Article

Codification in a Civil Law Jurisdiction: A Northern European Perspective

Journal European Journal of Law Reform, Issue 4 2017
Keywords codification, types, civil law, legal certainty, ICT
Authors Patricia Popelier
AbstractAuthor's information

    In western civil law jurisdictions, 19th century large-scale codification projects have made way for more specific, technical operations. While several terms for various operations are used – from coordination to consolidation or recasting – they all serve to compile normative texts within one single document for the sake of clarity and legal certainty. A more fundamental distinction can be made between formal and substantial codifications, the one more technical, the other large and fundamental. Substantial law reforms are problematized in this era of multilevel governance and digitalization. Nowadays, substantial codifications are essentially non-exhaustive, inconsistent, and fragmentized. Also, they rely upon formal consolidations, and generate new formal consolidations. While formal consolidations are still treated as logistic projects, more developed ICT tools may enable their transformation into continuous processes.


Patricia Popelier
Professor Constitutional Law and Legislative Studies, University of Antwerp.
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