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Article

A Thorny Path to the Spotlight

The Rule of Law Component in EU External Policies and EU-Ukraine Relations

Journal European Journal of Law Reform, Issue 1 2014
Keywords rule of law, rule of law promotion, European Union, European Neighbourhood Policy, Ukraine
Authors Olga Burlyuk
AbstractAuthor's information

    The rule of law and its promotion abroad is currently at the core of EU external policies, specifically in the European neighbourhood. But has it always been the case? This article traces the rule of law component of EU external policies in general and EU–Ukraine relations as a case study, and reveals that in the last two decades the rule of law has followed a thorny path to the spotlight, emerging from a rather peripheral place in the 1990s to its currently central one. The article argues that this is a result of three processes: the legislative mainstreaming of the rule of law in the EU itself, the growing ambitiousness of EU–Ukraine relations, and the increased visibility of systemic shortcomings in rule of law application in Ukraine due to the trials of opposition politicians since 2010. The article concludes by suggesting that rule of law components of other EU bilateral relations in the European neighbourhood and beyond are subject to similar processes.


Olga Burlyuk
Recently awarded the degree of Doctor of Philosophy in International Relations, Brussels School of International Studies, the University of Kent.

Martijn Scheltema
Martijn Scheltema is partner with Pels Rijcken & Droogleever Fortuijn (a The Hague-based law firm), professor at Erasmus University Rotterdam and member of the governing board of ACCESS (see <www.ACCESSfacility.org>). This article is based on research conducted by the author on effectiveness of remedy outcomes of non-judicial mechanisms on behalf of ACCESS and the United Nations Working Group on Human Rights.
Article

The Pursuit of Clarity, Precision and Unambiguity in Drafting Retrospective Legislation

Journal European Journal of Law Reform, Issue 3 2013
Keywords retrospectivity, clarity, precision, unambiguity, legislative drafting
Authors Elias Turatsinze
AbstractAuthor's information

    The hypothesis of this paper is that clarity, precision and unambiguity are the essential tools for expressing retrospective intent, which is a pre-requisite for quality and validity of retrospective legislation. The main objective of this work is to show that retrospective laws are valid, if the retrospective intent is expressed in clear, precise and unambiguous words within the statute. The term retrospectivity is used broadly to describe any legislation or decision affecting pre-enacting conduct. It encompasses statutes affecting the pre-enactment events, administrative regulations or decisions which look back in time and judicial decisions that overturn prior decisions. All these areas cannot be covered in this limited piece of work. Thus, the emphasis in this work will be put on retrospectivity of statutes at the drafting stage. Although it may be referred to generally, retrospective delegated legislation is outside the scope of this work. Particular attention will be directed towards the importance of clarity, precision and unambiguity in attaining quality and validity of retrospective legislation.


Elias Turatsinze
Elias Turatsinze graduated in Legislative Drafting (LLM) from the University of London- Institute of Advanced Legal Studies in 2012.
Article

Federalist Distortions in the Organization of the Legislative Branch of Brazilian Government

Journal European Journal of Law Reform, Issue 2 2013
Keywords Brazilian federalism, legislature, distortions
Authors Marcelo Labanca Corrêa de Araújo and Glauco Salomão Leite
AbstractAuthor's information

    This article examines the relationship between federalism and the legislature in Brazil. It examines distortions that occur in the structure of the federal legislature, in the powers conferred constitutionally and in the dynamics of legislative activity. It discusses how the role of the Senate as a house of representation of Member States has been mitigated, highlights the excessive concentration of legislative powers at the federal level and the suffocation of the autonomy of the state and municipal legislatures by the influx of the principle of symmetry.


Marcelo Labanca Corrêa de Araújo
Professor of Constitutional Law at the Catholic University of Pernambuco (undergraduate degree stricto sensu Postgraduate Program in Law). President of the OAB-Pernambuco’s Constitutional Studies Commission. CAPES grant for post-doctoral program abroad, at the University of Pisa’s Faculty of Law.

Glauco Salomão Leite
Professor of Constitutional Law at the Catholic University of Pernambuco. Professor of Public Law at the Federal University of Paraíba. Vice-President the OAB-Pernambuco’s Constitutional Studies Commission.
Article

Structuring the Judiciary to Conduct Constitutional Review in the Netherlands

A Comparative and European Perspective

Journal European Journal of Law Reform, Issue 4 2012
Keywords centralized/decentralized constitutional review, Netherlands constitutional law, comparative law
Authors Gerhard van der Schyff
AbstractAuthor's information

    Whether a legal system decides to centralize or decentralize constitutional review by the judiciary is dependent on various factors. This article critically considers a host of these factors, ranging from the separation of powers to the desire to bring about far-reaching constitutional change and the possible impact of membership of the European Union, in studying whether in the Netherlands constitutional review should be centralized or decentralized upon its possible introduction. The conclusion is reached that although decentralization can be opted for under the current circumstances, a persuasive case for centralization can also be made and might even become stronger and inevitable depending on the course of future constitutional reform.


Gerhard van der Schyff
Gerhard van der Schyff is Senior Lecturer in Constitutional Law at Tilburg Law School, The Netherlands.
Article

Gender Equality Laws in the Post Socialist States of Central and Eastern Europe

Mainstream Fixture or Fizzer?

Journal European Journal of Law Reform, Issue 4 2012
Keywords gender equality laws, enforcement mechanisms, rule of law, post-socialist states, European Union
Authors Christine Forster and Vedna Jivan
AbstractAuthor's information

    In Central and Eastern European countries, the enactment of gender equality laws (GELs), defined as stand-alone national legislation that provide an overarching legislative response to gender discrimination as distinct from the traditional approach of incorporating gender equality provisions into existing legislation or constitutions, has been a marked regional trend since the collapse of the Soviet Union. However, rather than being driven by domestic movements for change, GELs seem primarily to have emerged due to pressure from development agencies, potential trading partners and donor organisations which predicate their assistance and business on the establishment of the ‘rule of law’ and of particular relevance in the region the desire to join the European Union (EU), which requires potential members to introduce gender equality legislation as part of the communtaire aquis. Despite the widespread enactment of GELs in the region, research suggests that the implementation of GELs has been slow, inefficient and in some cases non-existent. Reasons posited for this include a lack of judicial familiarity with new concepts contained in the legislation, the use of legislation taken from models in existing member states, lack of information disseminated about the new laws to relevant parties, weak political support and capacity weakness in states that are resource stretched. This article considers a further reason – the weakness of the enforcement and implementation mechanisms in the laws themselves and argues that despite the placement of expansive positive duties on a range of public and private actors in many of the GELs, the implementation and enforcement mechanisms of the fifteen GELs considered are weak. Consequently, despite their remarkable scope the duties created under the GELs are largely symbolic and will continue to be so unless, such legislation is amended to include mechanisms to enable the realization of those duties in practice.


Christine Forster
Christine Forster is a senior lecturer at the Faculty of Law of the University of New South Wales, Australia.

Vedna Jivan
Vedna Jivan is Senior Lecturer, UTS Faculty of Law, Australia.
Article

Access_open ‘Down Freedom’s Main Line’

Journal Netherlands Journal of Legal Philosophy, Issue 3 2012
Keywords democracy, radical freedom, free market economy, consumerism, collective action
Authors Steven L. Winter
AbstractAuthor's information

    Two waves of democratization define the post-Cold War era of globalization. The first one saw democracies emerge in post-communist countries and post-Apartheid South Africa. The current wave began with the uprisings in the Middle East. The first focused on the formal institutions of the market and the liberal state, the second is participatory and rooted in collective action. The individualistic conception of freedom and democracy that underlies the first wave is false and fetishistic. The second wave shows democracy’s moral appeal is the commitment to equal participation in determining the terms and conditions of social life. Freedom, thus, requires collective action under conditions of equality, mutual recognition, and respect.


Steven L. Winter
Steven L. Winter is Walter S. Gibbs Professor of Constitutional Law at Wayne State University Law School, Detroit, Michigan.
Article

Immigration, Religion and Human Rights

State Policy Challenges in Balancing Public and Private Interests

Journal European Journal of Law Reform, Issue 1 2012
Keywords globalization, religious symbols, reasonable accommodations, comparative law, immigration, burqa, human rights
Authors Eric Tardif
AbstractAuthor's information

    Three regions of the world – Western Europe, North America, and Australia – are probably the most popular options when families of emerging countries decide to emigrate in order to better their economic future. As the flow of immigrants establishing themselves in the receiving societies allows for these countries to get culturally richer, it creates, on the other hand, legal tensions as to the extent religious practice is to be accommodated by the governments of secular societies so as to facilitate the insertion of the newcomers into the workplace, social networks, and education system. In order to eliminate or diminish the effect of legal provisions that cause an indirect harm to religious minorities, several countries have taken steps aimed at “reasonably accommodating” them. This paper looks at these efforts made by receiving States, taking into account both the legislative aspect and the interpretation of the statutes and constitutional provisions by national as well as international tribunals; it also gives a critical appreciation of the results that have been obtained in the societies that have implemented those shifts in their legal system.


Eric Tardif
LL.L. (Ottawa); LL.M., LL.D. (National Autonomous University of Mexico - UNAM). The author is currently a Lecturer at the Faculty of Law of the National Autonomous University of Mexico, in the subjects of International and Comparative Law. This document was initially prepared for presentation at the VIIIth World Congress of the International Association of Constitutional Law, held in Mexico City, 6-10 December, 2010; an earlier version of this article was published in the International Journal of Public Law and Policy in 2011.
Article

From Uneasy Compromises to Democratic Partnership

The Prospects of Central European Constitutionalism

Journal European Journal of Law Reform, Issue 1 2011
Keywords Central Europe, parliamentarism, freedom of religion, Roma people, discrimination
Authors Gábor Attila Tóth
AbstractAuthor's information

    The Central European constitutional democracies were created by the political and constitutional transition of 1989. However, twenty years later, in the light of antidemocratic, authoritarian and intolerant tendencies, it is far from clear whether the negotiated revolution is a story of success or failure. This paper first outlines the constitutional background of revolutionary transition. It shows that the achieved structures and rules do not prevent political communities from realizing the full promise of democracy. Second, this analysis attempts to explore how the century-old historical circumstances, the social environment, and the commonly failed practice of constitutional institutions interact. This section focuses on the constitutional features of presidential aspirations, the privileges of churches and certain ethnic tensions. Finally, the paper argues that the chances of success of liberal democracies depend significantly on extraconstitutional factors. It seems that Hungary is in a more depressing and dangerous period of its history than for example Poland.


Gábor Attila Tóth
Associate Professor, Faculty of Law, University of Debrecen, former senior adviser, Constitutional Court of Hungary. The author welcomes comments via email: tga818@law.unideb.hu.
Article

Methods and Materials in Constitutional Law

Some Thoughts on Access to Government Information as a Problem for Constitutional Theory and Socio-Legal Studies

Journal European Journal of Law Reform, Issue 1 2011
Keywords Citizenship, democracy, government information, representative government, secrecy
Authors Barry Sullivan
AbstractAuthor's information

    To be subject to law, Hobbes argued, is to be deprived of liberty, as we understand it. In this respect, democratic governments are no different from others. Hobbes’s insight has not caused us to abandon our commitments to democracy, but it still challenges us to think hard about the nature of representative government, the nature of citizenship in a democratic society, and the conditions necessary for fulfilling the promise of democratic citizenship. Two recent trends are evident. Some citizens have embraced a more active sense of citizenship, which necessarily entails a more insistent need for information, while governments have insisted on the need for greater concentration of governmental power and a higher degree of secrecy. Much is to be learned from the approaches that various national and transnational regimes have taken with respect to this problem. This essay will consider the problem of access to government information from a comparative perspective and as a problem for constitutional theory and socio-legal studies.


Barry Sullivan
Cooney & Conway Chair in Advocacy and Professor of Law, Loyola University Chicago School of Law.
Article

Access_open Constitutionalism and the Incompleteness of Democracy: An Iterative Relationship

Journal Netherlands Journal of Legal Philosophy, Issue 3 2010
Keywords constitutionalism, globalization, democracy, modernity, postnational
Authors Neil Walker
AbstractAuthor's information

    The complexity of the relationship between democracy and modern constitutionalism is revealed by treating democracy as an incomplete ideal. This refers both to the empirical incompleteness of democracy as unable to supply its own terms of application – the internal dimension – and to the normative incompleteness of democracy as guide to good government – the external dimension. Constitutionalism is a necessary response to democratic incompleteness – seeking to realize (the internal dimension) and to supplement and qualify democracy (the external dimension). How democratic incompleteness manifests itself, and how constitutionalism responds to incompleteness evolves and alters, revealing the relationship between constitutionalism and democracy as iterative. The paper concentrates on the iteration emerging from the current globalizing wave. The fact that states are no longer the exclusive sites of democratic authority compounds democratic incompleteness and complicates how constitutionalism responds. Nevertheless, the key role of constitutionalism in addressing the double incompleteness of democracy persists under globalization. This continuity reflects how the deep moral order of political modernity, in particular the emphasis on individualism, equality, collective agency and progress, remains constant while its institutional architecture, including the forms of its commitment to democracy, evolves. Constitutionalism, itself both a basic orientation and a set of design principles for that architecture, remains a necessary support for and supplement to democracy. Yet post-national constitutionalism, even more than its state-centred predecessor, remains contingent upon non-democratic considerations, so reinforcing constitutionalism’s normative and sociological vulnerability. This conclusion challenges two opposing understandings of the constitutionalism of the global age – that which indicts global constitutionalism because of its weakened democratic credentials and that which assumes that these weakened democratic credentials pose no problem for post-national constitutionalism, which may instead thrive through a heightened emphasis on non-democratic values.


Neil Walker
Neil Walker is Regius Professor of Public Law and the Law of Nature and Nations at the University of Edinburgh, United Kingdom.
Article

Constitutional Review in the Caribbean

Journal European Journal of Law Reform, Issue 1-2 2010
Keywords Guyana, electoral reform, constitutional reform, international human rights law, Caribbean
Authors Avril Anande Trotman-Joseph
AbstractAuthor's information

    Guyana, South America, is a former colony of Britain and the only English-speaking country in South America, but has more in common with its English-speaking Caribbean neighbours. Constitutional reform and resulting constitutional amendments were precipitated in 1999-2000 by civil unrest following national elections and dissatisfaction by the major opposition with the outcome of an election characterized by ethnic differences between respective supporters of parties backed by followers of traditionally Indian, African and Amerindian origin. This process was a brokered effort to ameliorate the national dissatisfaction and an opportunity for civil society representatives and political representatives of the unicameral House of Parliament to work together in recommending electoral and constitutional reform. The outcome was the radical reform and modernization of the constitutional entrenchment of the modern concepts of international human rights law. In this regard Guyana is ahead of the other sister nations of the Caribbean, CARICOM grouping in terms of constitutional advancements. However, the political will to realize far-reaching electoral and governance reforms, as well as the effective implementation of the entrenched human rights reforms, still lags behind, despite the amendment of the constitution, the appointment of several commissions and the establishment of a parliamentary oversight committee tasked with continuous constitution review.


Avril Anande Trotman-Joseph
Avril Anande Trotman-Joseph is presently a law partner with the firm of Joseph & Joseph in Saint George’s, Grenada. She is an OAS and UNIFEM Consultant in the Caribbean; she serves on the Board of the Caribbean Institute of Leadership and as Deputy Chairperson of Grenada’s Integrity and Anti Corruption Commission.
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