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Article

The Smuggling of Migrants across the Mediterranean Sea

A Human Rights Perspective

Journal East European Yearbook on Human Rights, Issue 1 2019
Keywords smuggling, refugees, migration, readmission, interceptions
Authors J. Shadi Elserafy LL.M.,
AbstractAuthor's information

    Irregular migration by sea is one of the most apparent contemporary political issues, and one that entails many legal challenges. Human smuggling by sea is only one aspect of irregular migration that represents a particular challenge for States, as sovereignty and security interests clash with the principles and obligations of human rights and refugee law. In dealing with the problem of migrant smuggling by sea, States have conflicting roles, including the protection of national borders, suppressing the smuggling of migrants, rescuing migrants and guarding human rights.
    The legal framework governing the issue of migrant smuggling at sea stems not only from the rules of the law of the sea and the Smuggling Protocol but also from rules of general international law, in particular human rights law and refugee law. The contemporary practice of States intercepting vessels engaged in migrant smuggling indicates that States have, on several occasions, attempted to fragment the applicable legal framework by relying on laws that allow for enhancing border controls and implementing measures that undermine obligations of human rights and refugee law. This article seeks to discuss the human rights dimension of maritime interception missions and clarify as much as possible the obligations imposed by international law on States towards smuggled migrants and whether or not these obligations limit the capacity of States to act.


J. Shadi Elserafy LL.M.,
LL.M., Judge/Counselor at The Egyptian Council of State (The Higher Administrative Court of Justice).
Article

Access_open The Brussels International Business Court: Initial Overview and Analysis

Journal Erasmus Law Review, Issue 1 2019
Keywords international jurisdiction, English, court language, Belgium, business court
Authors Erik Peetermans and Philippe Lambrecht
AbstractAuthor's information

    In establishing the Brussels International Business Court (BIBC), Belgium is following an international trend to attract international business disputes to English-speaking state courts. The BIBC will be an autonomous business court with the competence to settle, in English, disputes between companies throughout Belgium. This article focuses on the BIBC’s constitutionality, composition, competence, proceedings and funding, providing a brief analysis and critical assessment of each of these points. At the time of writing, the Belgian Federal Parliament has not yet definitively passed the Bill establishing the BIBC, meaning that amendments are still possible.


Erik Peetermans
Erik Peetermans is a legal adviser at the Federation of Enterprises in Belgium (FEB).

Philippe Lambrecht
Philippe Lambrecht is the Director-Secretary General at the Federation of Enterprises in Belgium (FEB).
Article

Access_open Chambers for International Commercial Disputes in Germany: The State of Affairs

Journal Erasmus Law Review, Issue 1 2019
Keywords Justizinitiative Frankfurt, Law Made in Germany, International Commercial Disputes, Forum Selling, English Language Proceedings
Authors Burkhard Hess and Timon Boerner
AbstractAuthor's information

    The prospect of attracting foreign commercial litigants to German courts in the wake of Brexit has led to a renaissance of English-language commercial litigation in Germany. Leading the way is the Frankfurt District Court, where – as part of the ‘Justizinitiative Frankfurt’ – a new specialised Chamber for International Commercial Disputes has been established. Frankfurt’s prominent position in the financial sector and its internationally oriented bar support this decision. Borrowing best practices from patent litigation and arbitration, the Chamber offers streamlined and litigant-focused proceedings, with English-language oral hearings, within the current legal framework of the German Code of Civil Procedure (ZPO).1xZivilprozessordnung (ZPO).
    However, to enable the complete litigation process – including the judgment – to proceed in English requires changes to the German Courts Constitution Act2xGerichtsverfassungsgesetz (GVG). (GVG). A legislative initiative in the Bundesrat aims to establish a suitable legal framework by abolishing the mandatory use of German as the language of proceedings. Whereas previous attempts at such comprehensive amendments achieved only limited success, support by several major federal states indicates that this time the proposal will succeed.
    With other English-language commercial court initiatives already established or planned in both other EU Member States and Germany, it is difficult to anticipate whether – and how soon – Frankfurt will succeed in attracting English-speaking foreign litigants. Finally, developments such as the 2018 Initiative for Expedited B2B Procedures of the European Parliament or the ELI–UNIDROIT project on Transnational Principles of Civil Procedure may also shape the long-term playing field.

Noten

  • 1 Zivilprozessordnung (ZPO).

  • 2 Gerichtsverfassungsgesetz (GVG).


Burkhard Hess
Burkhard Hess is the Executive Director of the Max Planck Institute Luxembourg for International, European and Regulatory Procedural Law (MPI Luxembourg).

Timon Boerner
Timon Boerner is a Research Fellow at the MPI Luxembourg.
Article

Access_open The Court of the Astana International Financial Center in the Wake of Its Predecessors

Journal Erasmus Law Review, Issue 1 2019
Keywords international financial centers, offshore courts, international business courts, Kazakhstan
Authors Nicolás Zambrana-Tévar
AbstractAuthor's information

    The Court of the Astana International Financial Center is a new dispute resolution initiative meant to attract investors in much the same way as it has been done in the case of the courts and arbitration mechanisms of similar financial centers in the Persian Gulf. This paper examines such initiatives from a comparative perspective, focusing on their Private International Law aspects such as jurisdiction, applicable law and recognition and enforcement of judgments and arbitration awards. The paper concludes that their success, especially in the case of the younger courts, will depend on the ability to build harmonious relationships with the domestic courts of each host country.


Nicolás Zambrana-Tévar
LLM (LSE), PhD (Navarra), KIMEP University.
Article

Access_open The Emergence of International Commercial Courts in India: A Narrative for Ease of Doing Business?

Journal Erasmus Law Review, Issue 1 2019
Keywords Commercial contracts, Enforcement, Jurisdiction, Specialized courts, India
Authors Sai Ramani Garimella and M.Z. Ashraful
AbstractAuthor's information

    The liberal globalised order has brought increased focus on the regulation of international commerce, and especially dispute resolution. Enforcement of contracts has been a concern largely owing to the insufficiencies of the legal systems, especially relating to the institutional structure, and it holds true for India as well. The commercial courts mechanism – international and domestic – with innovative features aimed at providing expedited justice is witnessing much traction. India, similar to many other jurisdictions, legislated in favour of specialized dispute resolution mechanisms for commercial disputes that could help improve the procedures for enforcement of contracts. This research attempts to critique the comparable strengths and the reform spaces within the Indian legislation on commercial courts. It parses the status of commercial dispute resolution in India especially in the context of cross-border contracts and critiques India’s attempt to have specialised courts to address commercial dispute resolution.


Sai Ramani Garimella
Sai Ramani Garimella, PhD, is assistant professor of the faculty of legal studies at the South Asian University in New Delhi.

M.Z. Ashraful
M.Z. Ashraful is the research student at South Asian University in New Delhi.
Article

Access_open Matchmaking International Commercial Courts and Lawyers’ Preferences in Europe

Journal Erasmus Law Review, Issue 1 2019
Keywords choice of court, commercial court, lawyers’ preferences, survey on lawyers, international court
Authors Erlis Themeli
AbstractAuthor's information

    France, Germany, Belgium, and the Netherlands have taken concrete steps to design and develop international commercial courts. Most of the projects claim to be building courts that match the preferences of court users. They also try to challenge England and Wales, which evidence suggests is the most attractive jurisdiction in the EU. For the success of these projects, it is important that their proposed courts corresponds with the expectations of the parties, but also manages to attract some of the litigants that go to London. This article argues that lawyers are the most important group of choice makers, and that their preferences are not sufficiently matched by the new courts. Lawyers have certain litigation service and court perception preferences. And while the new courts improve their litigation service, they do not sufficiently addressed these court perception preferences.


Erlis Themeli
Postdoc, Erasmus School of Law, Erasmus University Rotterdam.

    This article is part of a broader discussion about attaining a full-fledged child-friendly (criminal) justice. Attaining that goal is particularly challenging in cases of international parental abduction, due to the involvement of two branches of law. It is examined to what extent the current interaction guarantees a decision in the best interests of the child. More specifically, the implications of the adage le criminel tient le civil en état are scrutinised from a children’s rights perspective.
    The central research question reads: “to what extent can the adage le criminal tient le civil and état be upheld when further elaborating the best interests of the child in criminal law, more specifically in the interaction between civil and criminal law?” The research wants to contribute to the debate of the difficult triangular relationship between civil law, criminal law and children's rights law.
    In cases of child abduction, the link and interaction between the two procedures goes beyond the traditionally accepted scope of civil damages arising from a criminal offense. Nevertheless, both procedures following a parental abduction are based on the same facts and are inextricably linked, which means that they have to be assessed together, which means that they should be judged together. The question arises as to how the two parallel procedures can be coordinated better, now that it is clear that they may significantly influence each other.
    A full-fledged application of the adage means that a decision concerning the return of the child can only be handed down from the moment when the criminal proceeding (concerning the prosecution of the parent) is completed. It is immediately clear that this cannot be in the best interests of the child.
    It is argued that the adage must be abandoned or reversed to guarantee article 3 CRC. This statement is substantiated with arguments of both practical (referring to the time course) and fundamental (importance of the child best interets as a first consideration) nature. Thereby counterarguments are anticipated.
    ---
    Dit artikel kadert binnen de bredere discussie inzake het streven naar een kindvriendelijk (straf)rechtssysteem. In zaken van internationale parentale ontvoering, waarbij twee rechtstakken betrokken zijn, is dit bijzonder uitdagend. Er wordt onderzocht in welke mate de huidige interactie tussen beide rechtstakken het belang van het kind waarborgt. Concreet wordt het adagium le criminel tient le civil en état vanuit een kinderrechten-perspectief aan een kritische blik onderworpen.
    De centrale onderzoeksvraag luidt: “in welke mate is het adagium le criminel tient le civil and état houdbaar in de verdere uitwerking van het belang van het kind in het strafrecht, meer bepaald in de wisselwerking tussen burgerlijk en strafrecht?” Het artikel wil aan het belang van het kind een duidelijkere positie geven in de moeilijke driehoeksverhouding tussen burgerlijk recht, strafrecht en kinderrechten.
    In zaken van kinderontvoering gaat het de toepassing van het adagium verder dan de traditioneel aanvaarde reikwijdte van civielrechtelijke schadevergoedingen die voortvloeien uit een strafbaar feit. Niettemin zijn beide procedures, volgend op een parentale ontvoering, gebaseerd op dezelfde feiten en onlosmakelijk verbonden met elkaar, wat betekent dat ze samen moeten worden beoordeeld. De vraag rijst hoe de twee parallelle procedures beter gecoördineerd kunnen worden, nu duidelijk is dat ze elkaar op een significante manier kunnen beïnvloeden.
    Onverkorte toepassing van het adagium betekent dat de burgerlijke beslissing betreffende de terugkeer van het kind pas kan plaatsvinden vanaf het moment dat de strafrechtelijke procedure (betreffende de vervolging van de ouder) is voltooid. Het is meteen duidelijk dat dit niet in het belang van het kind kan zijn.
    Er wordt geargumenteerd dat het adagium moet worden verlaten dan wel omgedraaid om artikel 3 IVRK te garanderen. Argumenten van zowel praktische (verwijzend naar de tijdsverloop) als fundamentele (belang van het kind als eerste overweging) aard onderbouwen dit standpunt. Daarbij wordt geanticipeerd op tegenargumenten.


Elise Blondeel MSc
Doctoraal onderzoekster Strafrecht & Rechten van het Kind (BOF-mandaat). Onderzoeksdomein: Internationale Parentale Ontvoering. Lid van het IRCP (Institute for International Research on Criminal Policy) en het HRC (Human Rights Centre).

prof. dr. Wendy De Bondt
Professor Strafrecht/Rechten van het Kind/Jeugdrecht aan Universiteit Gent. Onderzoeksdomein: (Europees) strafrecht(elijk beleid) & Rechten van het Kind. Lid van het IRCP (Institute for International Research on Criminal Policy) en het HRC (Human Rights Centre).
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

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.
Article

Mobile Online Dispute Resolution Tools’ Potential Applications for Government Offices

Journal International Journal of Online Dispute Resolution, Issue 1 2019
Keywords mobile online dispute resolution, MODR, ODR, computer mediated communication, dispute prevention, workplace conflict
Authors Stephanie Gustin and Norman Dolan
AbstractAuthor's information

    Online communication practices have become intrinsic to government work environments. Understanding the impact of these practices, whether they be general computer mediated communication (CMC) or specifically online dispute resolution (ODR) processes, is an essential step in supporting respectful and healthy work environments. ODR literature focuses almost exclusively on e-commerce, leaving large gaps in the body of knowledge as ODR applications diversify. Available ODR tools, which simply transpose traditional alternative dispute resolution (ADR) processes online through the use of office videoconferencing systems, are not mobile and do not utilize the full capabilities of the existing technology. This article explores the potential impacts mobile ODR (MODR) tools could have on the dispute interventions and prevention initiatives in government office settings. The study used an exploratory model to establish an understanding of the experiences and needs of Canadian and Australian government employees. Findings demonstrate an interest in the introduction of education-oriented MODR tools as supplementary support with the purposes of knowledge retention and further skill development following dispute prevention training. Findings suggest that workplace attitudes towards online communication and ODR have a significant impact on the extent to which individuals successfully develop and maintain relationships either fully or partially through the use of CMC.


Stephanie Gustin
Stephanie Gustin holds an MA in Dispute Resolution from the University of Victoria, Canada.

Norman Dolan
Norman Dolan holds a PhD in Public Administration and is an Adjunct Assistant Professor in the School of Public Administration at the University of Victoria, Canada.

    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

Split Offer and Homogeneous Response in Belgium

The Conceptual and Empirical Limitations of (De)Nationalization

Journal Politics of the Low Countries, Issue 2 2019
Keywords (de-)nationalization, voting behaviour, party offer, voter response, methodological nationalism
Authors Luana Russo, Kris Deschouwer and Tom Verthé
AbstractAuthor's information

    By examining the Belgian case, this article aims to show that methodological nationalism is strongly present in the literature on nationalization of party offer and voting behaviour. In nationalization studies, Belgium is often presented as a typical example of a denationalized country. This is true for the party offer, as it is de facto split between the two language groups since the 1980s, and therefore also voter response at the national level. However, voter response within each separate subnational party system is very homogeneous and shows interesting differences between these party systems that inform us about important electoral dynamics. We argue, on the basis of our results, that rather than stretching the concept of nationalization, it is preferable and justified to treat the concepts of nationalization of the party offer and homogenization of voter response as analytically distinct and not as two sides of the same coin.


Luana Russo
Luana Russo, Maastricht University.

Kris Deschouwer
Kris Deschouwer, Vrije Universiteit Brussel.

Tom Verthé
Tom Verthé, Ghent University & Vrije Universiteit Brussel.
Article

Fiscal Consolidation in Federal Belgium

Collective Action Problem and Solutions

Journal Politics of the Low Countries, Issue 2 2019
Keywords fiscal consolidation, fiscal policy, federalism, intergovernmental relations, High Council of Finance
Authors Johanna Schnabel
AbstractAuthor's information

    Fiscal consolidation confronts federal states with a collective action problem, especially in federations with a tightly coupled fiscal regime such as Belgium. However, the Belgian federation has successfully solved this collective action problem even though it lacks the political institutions that the literature on dynamic federalism has identified as the main mechanisms through which federal states achieve cooperation across levels of government. This article argues that the regionalization of the party system, on the one hand, and the rationalization of the deficit problem by the High Council of Finance, on the other, are crucial to understand how Belgium was able to solve the collective action problem despite its tightly coupled fiscal regime and particularly high levels of deficits and debts. The article thus emphasizes the importance of compromise and consensus in reducing deficits and debts in federal states.


Johanna Schnabel
School of Politics and International Relations, University of Kent, Rutherford College, Canterbury CT2 7NX, United Kingdom.
Article

The Eternity Clause

Lessons from the Czech Example

Journal European Journal of Law Reform, Issue 3 2019
Keywords eternity clause, constitutional amendment, Czech Republic
Authors Ondřej Preuss
AbstractAuthor's information

    This article presents lessons from the Czech example of the so-called Eternity Clause’ i.e. a legal standard declaring certain principles, values or specific constitutional provisions to be unalterable and irrevocable. The Eternity Clause is viewed and applied in the Czech Republic as a substantive legal ‘instrument’ that enables society to preserve its values. It is used to limit practical ‘power’ and to maintain desired values and the political system.
    That the Eternity clause is a practical instrument has already been proved by the Czech Constitutional Court in its famous ‘Melcák’ decision. However, recent developments show that the Czech Constitutional Court is no longer open to such a ‘radical’ approach. Nonetheless, it still seems that the court is prepared to defend the values of liberal democracy, just not in such a spectacular way. It is, therefore, more up to the political actors or the people themselves to use Eternity Clause arguments to protect liberal democracy and its values.


Ondřej Preuss
Faculty of Law, Charles University (preuss@prf.cuni.cz). This article was written under the “Progress 04: Law in a Transforming World” programme.
Article

Limited Constitutional Amendment Powers in Austria?

Journal European Journal of Law Reform, Issue 3 2019
Keywords total revision, amendment, constitutional principles
Authors Manfred Stelzer
AbstractAuthor's information

    In Austria, constitutional amendments can be attained rather easily. A two-thirds majority in parliament allows for engineering constitutional amendments. The Austrian constitution only knows one exception to its flexibility: the principles of the constitution (‘Verfassungsprinzipien’). When the constitutional principles were to be affected by formal amendment in terms of a ‘total revision’ (‘Gesamtänderung’), a higher threshold needs to be met in order to engineer an amendment. In addition to a two-thirds majority in parliament, a referendum is required. Two questions are of particular interest: First, when does a constitutional amendment amount to a total revision and what are its limits? Second, and even more important, which core principles are recognized by the Austrian constitution and what is their content? These questions may be briefly outlined.


Manfred Stelzer
Manfred Stelzer is Professor of Public Law at the University of Vienna.
Article

Unamendability and Constitutional Identity in the Italian Constitutional Experience

Journal European Journal of Law Reform, Issue 3 2019
Keywords Unamendability, constitutional identity, republic, counterlimits, European integration, Italy
Authors Pietro Faraguna
AbstractAuthor's information

    The article explores the historical roots of the explicit unamendable clause(s) in the Italian Constitution. Following, it explores the scholarly debate over the interpretation of unamendable provisions. The article investigates theories of implicit unamendability of the Italian Constitution, and, in particular, it analyses the crucial role played by the Constitutional Court of Italy (ICC) and the principles that characterize Italian constitutional identity. Furthermore, the article explores the other side of constitutional identity, namely the theory of ‘counterlimits.’ The ICC specified that constitutional identity not only sets a limit to constitutional amendment powers but also sets ‘counterlimits’ to the entry of external norms (i.e., supranational and international law) in the domestic legal system. Finally, the article draws some conclusions and argues that the two sides of constitutional identity, although legally and logically independent, mutually reinforce each other and, ultimately, reinforce the counter-majoritarian nature of unamendability.


Pietro Faraguna
Pietro Faraguna is Assistant professor of constitutional law, University of Trieste.
Article

Constitutional Narcissism on the Couch of Psychoanalysis

Constitutional Unamendability in Portugal and Spain

Journal European Journal of Law Reform, Issue 3 2019
Keywords unamendable/ eternity clauses, de jure and de facto constitutional change, constitutional narcissism, foundational design, helicopter founding fathers, constitutional alma mater
Authors Catarina Santos Botelho
AbstractAuthor's information

    Comparing the Portuguese Constitution, which has the longest unamendable clause in the world, with the silence of the Spanish Constitution regarding the language of eternity is indeed a fascinating exercise. Each state’s quantum of constitutional change seems to be quite different. One can wonder how two neighbouring states that share a heavy history of right-wing dictatorships and transitioned to democracy forty years ago opted for such dissimilar constitutional designs. However, appearances are often misleading, and an effort should be done to unveil this curious mismatch.
    Both legal orders suffer from what I call constitutional narcissism, which manifests itself through the urge to perpetuate the foundational constitutional moment. Unamendable clauses (Portugal) and quasi-unamendable clauses (Spain) recast one of constitutional theory’s inner paradoxes: Can the constituent power of the people be petrified in one historical constituent decision and constrain future democratic transitions? And what if a volatile contemporary majority seeks to undermine the democratic process and run against the constitutional DNA achievements of the last centuries?
    Even if the original version of the Portuguese Constitution prohibited several provisions from ever being amended, some of these provisions were indeed modified or removed in the 1989 constitutional amendment process. This occurred without major disagreement from the political organs, scholars, or the judiciary. Therefore, the vexata quaestio remains unanswered: Given their obsolescence or hindrance towards good governance, should entrenchment clauses be eliminated de jure (through a channelled constitutional amendment process, such as the double amendment procedure) or de facto (through a revolutionary process materialized outside of the constitutional framework)?


Catarina Santos Botelho
Assistant Professor and Department Chair of Constitutional Law at the Porto Faculty of Law, Universidade Católica Portuguesa. Email: cbotelho@porto.ucp.pt. I thank Paul Kahn, Nuno Garoupa, Richard Albert, Gonçalo Almeida Ribeiro, Yaniv Roznai, Ana Teresa Ribeiro, and Luís Heleno Terrinha for their very helpful comments.
Article

A View on the Future of Judicial Review of Constitutional Amendments in Turkey

An Invitation to Judicial Dialogue

Journal European Journal of Law Reform, Issue 3 2019
Keywords basic structure doctrine, Constitutional Court of Turkey, constitutional identity, judicial dialogue, immunity amendment, unconstitutional constitutional amendments
Authors Ali Acar
AbstractAuthor's information

    In this article, I discuss and analyse the Turkish case concerning judicial review of constitutional amendments in light of a recent decision by the Constitutional Court of Turkey (CCT). In the said decision, the CCT rejected carrying out judicial review over a controversial constitutional amendment, which lifted MPs’ parliamentary immunity. This decision urges to consider its implications for the possible future cases. I refer to comparative constitutional law with the hope to shed more light on the Turkish example and grasp it comprehensively. In this respect, I illustrate the most crucial arguments developed by the Supreme Court of India (SCI), the Bundesverfassungsgericht (BVG), and the Conseil Constitutionnel (FCC) in their case law. Based on the comparative account, I draw some lessons for the CCT and invite it to get into a judicial dialogue with other supreme/constitutional courts with regard to the issue.


Ali Acar
Cankaya University Faculty of Law and visiting researcher at Osgoode Hall Law School. I thank Richard Albert, Vicente F. Benítez-Rojas, and Mehmet Turhan for their comments and critiques, which were insightful to develop the ideas in this article.
Article

Judicial Review of Constitutional Amendments in Turkey

The Question of Unamendability

Journal European Journal of Law Reform, Issue 3 2019
Keywords judicial review of constitutional amendments, constitutional unamendability, judicial activism, competitive authoritarianism, abusive constitutionalism
Authors Ergun Özbudun
AbstractAuthor's information

    This article deals with the judicial review of constitutional amendments, which has been a hotly debated constitutional and political issue in Turkey, particularly with regard to the unamendable provisions of the constitution. Since its creation by the Constitution of 1961, the Turkish Constitutional Court has followed a markedly activist and tutelarist approach regarding this issue and annulled several constitutional amendments arguing that they violated the unamendable provisions of the Constitution. Recently, however, the Court adopted a self-restraining approach. This shift can be explained as part of the political regime’s drift towards competitive authoritarianism and the governing party’s (AKP) capturing almost total control over the entire judiciary.


Ergun Özbudun
Ergun Özbudun is Professor of Constitutional Law at İstanbul Şehir University. This is an enlarged and updated version of my article ‘Judicial Review of Constitutional Amendments in Turkey’, European Public Law, Vol. 15, No. 4, 2009, pp. 533-538.
Article

Transitional Constitutional Unamendability?

Journal European Journal of Law Reform, Issue 3 2019
Keywords transitional constitutionalism, constitutional unamendability, decline of constitutional democracy, constitution-making in Hungary, the Hungarian Constitutional Court
Authors Gábor Halmai
AbstractAuthor's information

    This article discusses the pros and cons for a suggestion to use unamendable provisions in transitional constitutions to protect the integrity and identity of constitutions drafted after a democratic transition. The presumption for such a suggestion could be that most democratic constitution-making processes are elite-driven exercises in countries with no or very little constitutional culture. The article tries to answer the question, whether in such situations unamendable constitutional provisions can help to entrench basic principles and values of constitutionalism with the help of constitutional courts reviewing amendments aimed at violating the core of constitutionalism. The article investigates the experiences of some backsliding constitutional democracies, especially Hungary, and raises the question, whether unamendable constitutional provision could have prevented the decline of constitutionalism.
    In order to discuss the issue of transitional unamendability, the article engages in the scholarly discussion on transitional constitutionalism in general, and deals with the relationship of constitutional law and constitutional culture. Another side topic of the article is whether such transitional unamendability provisions should also contain international or transnational values and principles, and what happens if those are not in conformity with the unamendable provisions that serve to build up a national constitutional identity. Again, the example of Hungary can be important here, how national constitutional identity protected by the Constitutional Court can serve to abandon the European constitutional whole.


Gábor Halmai
Gábor Halmai is Professor and Chair of Comparative Constitutional Law, European University Institute, Florence; email: gabor.halmai@eui.eu.
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