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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.
Editorial

WG Hart Legal Workshop

Comparative Perspectives on Constitutions: Theory and Practice 29 June – 1 July 2010

Journal European Journal of Law Reform, Issue 1 2011
Authors Constantin Stefanou
Author's information

Constantin Stefanou
Dr. Constantin Stefanou (BA, MA, MPhil, PhD) is the LLM Director – ALS at the Institute of Advanced Legal Studies (School of Advanced Study, University of London).
Article

Investor Protection v. State Regulatory Discretion

Definitions of Expropriation and Shrinking Regulatory Competence

Journal European Journal of Law Reform, Issue 1 2011
Keywords regulatory freeze, expropriation, investor protection, economic governance, environmental protection
Authors Ioannis Glinavos
AbstractAuthor's information

    The purpose of this paper is to offer support to the idea that the contemporary international legal framework offers opportunities to investors to challenge and control government action via what has been described as a ‘regulatory freeze’. This regulatory freeze is the consequence of government reluctance to legislate/regulate in areas where claims of expropriation may be brought. The paper presents evidence from investment-treaty dispute resolution mechanisms, national and supranational judicial processes from both sides of the Atlantic. The paper concludes by suggesting that the potential for expanded definitions of expropriation is having a greater impact than actual case outcomes, as states seek to preempt any adverse developments by shying away from regulations that may provide fertile grounds for challenge. This effect is significant, as it is contrary to expectations of greater state involvement in economic management bred by the financial crisis.


Ioannis Glinavos
Dr. Ioannis Glinavos is Lecturer in Law at the University of Reading, School of Law, i.glinavos@reading.ac.uk.
Article

The Combination of Negative with Positive Constitutionalism in Europe

The Quest of a ‘Just Distance’ between Citizens and the Public Power

Journal European Journal of Law Reform, Issue 1 2011
Keywords democracy, constitutionalism, totalitarism, fundamental rights, judicial review
Authors Cesare Pinelli
AbstractAuthor's information

    The article is focused on European constitutionalism as resulting from the transformations following the experiences of totalitarian states. The notion of democracy was then significantly re-shaped, to the extent that democratic devices (federalism and sometimes referendum) were introduced with a view to balance the excesses of a purely representative democracy. The recognition of social rights and of human dignity reacted against totalitarism and, on other hand, against the individualistic notion of rights affecting the XIX century’s constitutionalism. Constitutional review of legislation was introduced, thus overriding the myth of parliamentary sovereignty, particularly the idea of parliament as the sole authority capable of granting fundamental rights.


Cesare Pinelli
Cesare Pinelli is Professor of Constitutional Law in the Faculty of Law, La Sapienza University of Rome.
Article

In the Judicial Steps of Bolívar and Morazán?

Supranational Court Conversations Between Europe and Latin America

Journal European Journal of Law Reform, Issue 1 2011
Keywords courts, dialogue, integration, regionalism, case-law
Authors Allan F. Tatham
AbstractAuthor's information

    This paper explores the issues of judicial dialogue and constitutional migrations between the European Court of Justice (‘ECJ’) and Latin American regional courts. It considers the impact of the ECJ’s ‘constitutional’ case-law regarding supremacy and direct effect on the decisions of the Central American Court of Justice (‘CCJ’) and the Court of Justice of the Andean Community (‘ACCJ’). The study proceeds from a brief exposition of the legal aspects of the EU model of integration, before moving to identify the main factors which led to the selection of Latin American courts and to outline the background to integration in the two sub-regions. In addressing the CCJ and ACCJ, a short history and sketch of their jurisdiction is given before examining the impact of the migration of the integrationist activism of the ECJ on these regional judicial institutions.


Allan F. Tatham
Péter Pázmány Catholic University, Budapest, Hungary. The usual disclaimer applies.
Article

The Importance of the Symbolic Role of the Head of State

Journal European Journal of Law Reform, Issue 1 2011
Keywords head of state, monarchy, democracy, symbolic, Sarkozy
Authors David Marrani
AbstractAuthor's information

    Why do we need, in a society that we assume to be democratic, someone that reminds us of the archaic organisation of humanity, someone like a head of state? We know that the ‘powerful’ heads have now been transformed, most of the time, in ‘powerless’ ones, with solely a symbolic role, often not recognised. So why do we need them and how important are they? Because they are part of our archaic memory, images of the father of the primitive hordes, and because they ‘sit’ above us, the symbolic role of the head of state can be read with the glasses of a psychoanalyst and the magnifier of a socio-legal scholar. This paper is a journey in time and space, looking at the move from the sovereign-monarch to the president-monarch, unfolding the question of authority and its link to ‘distance’ but also the connection to ‘the Father’ and the notion of the two bodies.


David Marrani
Dr. David Marrani, Senior Lecturer, University of Essex, School of Law, UK.
Article

Comparative Aspects on Constitutions

Theory and Practice

Journal European Journal of Law Reform, Issue 1 2011
Keywords Constitutions, EU legal order, EU member states, EU enlargement
Authors Alfred E. Kellermann
AbstractAuthor's information

    This paper will investigate for the influence of international legal developments on the drafting and implementation of constitutions, especially the impact of the European Union on the texts of the national constitutions of the EU Member States and its acceding countries.
    We will look also at:

    1. the influence of history (EU Enlargement) and tradition in the drafting and implementation of constitutions;

    2. assessment (especially in the case of the Netherlands) of whether constitutional texts actually serve to achieve the practical implementation of expressed purposes.


Alfred E. Kellermann
Senior Legal and Policy Advisor, Visiting Professor in the Law of the EU, T.M.C. Asser Institute, The Hague.
Article

Competing Constitutional Ideals in the United States’ Force Majeure-Federalism Cases

Calling the Shots in Disaster Management

Journal European Journal of Law Reform, Issue 1 2011
Keywords federalism, force majeure, disaster, commerce clause, necessary and proper clause
Authors Riddhi Dasgupta
AbstractAuthor's information

    Structure is no less important than substance in the long run. When dealing with disaster management, what is truly national and what is truly local? Disasters are the “perfect” time, if only because of the confusion they sow and/or witness, for the central government to usurp some sovereign powers of its constituent states (and sometimes vice versa). This article examines where, in the American model with its strong federalism tradition, the constitutional tipping point lies. The article conveys the practical imperatives of federalism and why ordinary citizens should care: a federalist structure to promote democratic participation and the carrying out of democratic will by splitting up authority and stopping any one layer of government from becoming too powerful or making it a dysfunctional appendage. That has special significance in the disaster context, of course, and there is no better kaleidoscope than the recent Gulf of Mexico oil spill.


Riddhi Dasgupta
Doctoral student (Expropriation in International Investment Regimes), University of Cambridge.
Article

The European Law from Grundnorm towards the Cathedral

Constitutional Features of a Complex Legal System

Journal European Journal of Law Reform, Issue 1 2011
Keywords economic analysis of legal remedies, state liability for breach of the EU law, judicial dialogue in the EU, self-referring legal rules, efficiency of the EU law
Authors Mariusz Jerzy Golecki
AbstractAuthor's information

    Many hopes of the adherents of constitutional reform in the EU remained in vain after the enactment of the Lisbon Treaty. Meanwhile the creeping constitutionalisation of the EU law leads to the empowerment of the UE quasi constitutional court – the Court of Justice of the European Union. This kind of constitutionalism is albeit firmly grounded on judicial cross-border cooperation. The main purpose of this paper is to address the question of whether and how the concept of judicial control based on transactional framework developed in law and economics could effectively supplement if not substitute the notion of constitutional democratic legitimacy. In order to demonstrate that it is logically possible and institutionally feasible to build a system based on circularity, self-referentiality and privatization of legal remedies, the paper contains the economic analysis of the recent development of the EU law which at least partially takes this direction.


Mariusz Jerzy Golecki
PhD, LL.M. Cantab. Associate Professor, University of Łódź (Poland).
Article

Instructions to Draft Legislation

A Study on the Legislative Drafting Process in Malaysia

Journal European Journal of Law Reform, Issue 2 2011
Keywords legislative drafting process, role of instructing officer and drafter
Authors Rozmizan Muhamad
AbstractAuthor's information

    The importance of legislation is beyond any dispute. Legislation governed us perhaps even before our birth, certainly during our life and until our death. Even after our death there is still the Estate Duty Act to worry about, although of course the burden passes on to our executors or administrators. But day after day, many more new laws have been proposed and many existing laws have been revised and amended for various reasons and motives. The need for legislation has never diminished but continues to increase. Governments need legislation to govern, by which they achieve their political objectives and public policies. In other words, legislation is needed to affect changes in the law, to interfere with vested rights and interests, and to impose taxes, duties, excise and imposts. Such need originates from one or more of a great many sources such as a commission of inquiry, politicians, a particular pressure group or the public as a whole and also a reaction to social situations which seemingly develop independently or deliberately


Rozmizan Muhamad
Rozmizan Muhamad is a drafter at the Malaysian Attorney-General’s office.

    Even amongst those clauses frequently found in commercial contracts in general and sales contracts in particular, agreed sums enjoy exceptional popularity. Now, when I say ‘agreed sum’, of course I do not talk about the purchase price but about clauses that in traditional terminology are called penalty or liquidated damages clauses.


Pascal Hachem
Dr. iur. (University of Basel, Switzerland), ACIArb, Senior Researcher in the Global Sales Law Project at the Chair of Private Law held by Prof. Dr. Ingeborg Schwenzer, LL.M. and Lecturer of Comparative Private Law and International Trade Law at the University of Basel, Switzerland.

    The unification or harmonisation of laws and legal systems is not a new phenomenon. Schmitthoff describes the wave of national unification of commercial laws in Europe during the nineteenth century as a method of obtaining political unity. According to Faria similar results were achieved on a wider scale by the dissemination of English legal traditions throughout common law jurisdictions. What he describes as the “ultimate goal”, however, was the unification of private law, the benefits of which had been extolled by Lord Justice Kennedy as early as 1909.


Riekie Wandrag
LL.B., LL.M. (Free State University), LL.M. (Cambridge), Associate Professor of Law, University of the Western Cape.
Article

Is Africa Ready for Electronic Commerce?

A Critical Appraisal of the Legal Framework for Ecommerce in Africa

Journal European Journal of Law Reform, Issue 3-4 2011
Authors Nnaemeka Ewelukwa
AbstractAuthor's information

    It remains a daunting but not insurmountable challenge to actualize broad-based long term economic development in Africa. Statistics indicate that the poverty level in the continent is very high and the continent’s contribution to global trade remains very low in terms of export outflows. While acknowledging the negative aspects of Africa’s development however, it is important to note that the future may yet become brighter if key steps are taken by law and policy makers in the continent to put in place laws and policies that can facilitate the development process. One of the ways in which economic development can be facilitated is to significantly boost Africa’s contribution to global trade. In this regard, it has been noted that ‘After falling by 2.5% in 2009, export volumes of African countries are expected to increase on average by 3.2% in 2010 and by 5% in 2011.


Nnaemeka Ewelukwa
Dr. iur. (Queen Mary, London), Senior Teaching Fellow, International Trade Law, School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London (SOAS).

Ousmane Bougouma
LL.M., Candidat au Doctorat.
Article

Chinese Judicial Methodologies to Determine the Validity of Arbitration Agreements

“Arbitration in Hong Kong and English Law to Apply” as an Example

Journal European Journal of Law Reform, Issue 3-4 2011
Authors Song Lianbin and Sophia Juan Yang
AbstractAuthor's information

    As Financial Times says, “it is now difficult to consider African prospects without the mention of China, which in the past decade has increased trade with the continent 10-fold – from $ 10 billion to more than $ 100 billion and has overtaken the US and the Europe as the largest trading partner in some important economies”.1x See Financial Times Special Report on Africa-China Trade, available at <http://media.ft.com/cms/de832bb2-7500-11df-aed7-00144feabdc0.pdf>. Africa has particular needs for cost-effective and time-effective mechanisms for resolving trade disputes with Chinese parties. The most preferred choice is, not surprisingly, commercial arbitration.

Noten


Song Lianbin
Song Lianbin is Professor in Law, Wuhan University, Wuhan, China.

Sophia Juan Yang
Sophia Juan Yang is Dr. iur. (University of Basel, Switzerland), LL.M. (Wuhan), former Research Assistent for Global Sales Law Project.
Article

Unification of General Contract Law in Africa

The Case of the UNIDROIT Principles of International Commercial Contracts

Journal European Journal of Law Reform, Issue 3-4 2011
Authors Stefan Vogenauer
AbstractAuthor's information

    The organizers of this conference kindly invited me to speak on the unification of general contract law and on one specific instrument in this area: the UNIDROIT Principles of International Commercial Contracts (‘PICC’).1xSee UNIDROIT International Institute for the Unification of Private Law, UNIDROIT Principles of International Commercial Contracts 2004, Rome, April 2004, available at <www.unidroit.org/english/principles/contracts/principles2004/integralversionprinciples2004-e.pdf>. I would like to use the 14 minutes allocated to my paper to touch on three issues. First, I will give a short overview of the PICC for those who are not yet familiar with this instrument. Secondly, I will look at the use of the PICC in legal practice. And thirdly, I will assess the potential of the PICC for making a contribution to the unification of general contract law in Africa. Overall, I can afford to be brief and limit myself to introductory comments because Ms Mestre of UNIDROIT will cover much of the ground in greater detail.

Noten


Stefan Vogenauer
Professor of Comparative law at the University of Oxford.

    Multinational Companies may result in culture clashes, incompatibility of Western corporate governance and legal resolution strategies. As one of the most successful joint venture models, the high-profile Danone/Wahaha dispute has been accelerated into a two-year legal feud against the infringement of the famous brand of WAHAHA across jurisdictions. The case represents a significant watershed which reflects the status quo of controversies over cooperation and competition in China. Under the current legal framework, Danone’s withdrawal would serve as a wake-up call for both foreign investors and Chinese companies in the dramatically increasing cross-border merger & acquisitions. The seminal case perfectly illustrates unwritten issues about public opinion, nationalism and the rule of law. Danone v. Wahaha has also been commonly conceived as a landmark case through which Chinese side may verify the fairness of the Western judicial system, while the European party may regard it as a touchstone for China’s investment environment as well as the specific sphere of contract spirit. It also offers myriad lessons, including the need for watertight contracts, IP rights, and international arbitrations.


Quingxui Bu
Dr. iur., LL.M. (Queen’s University).

    Dans le demi-siècle écoulé depuis l’accession aux indépendances, les pays africains ont affronté des processus complexes qui ont mis au devant des priorités la construction politique et institutionnelle interne et leur reconnaissance dans le concert des nations du monde. Dans le même temps, loin de profiter de la croissance globale qu’ont connue les pays avancés, les populations du continent africain – et des pays les moins avancés de la planète – ont souffert d’une dégradation progressive de leurs conditions de vie.


Frédérique Mestre
Fonctionnaire principale, UNIDROIT. Contribution à la 1ère Conférence africaine sur le droit commercial international, Douala (Cameroun), 13-14 février 2011. Les opinions ici exprimées sont celles de l’auteur et n’engagent pas UNIDROIT.

    When discussing regional and global unification of sales law it seems appropriate to briefly mention the globalisation of trade. The overall development of international trade over the last half century is startling. Although in Fall 2008 and persisting into 2009 there was a sharp decline worldwide – in 2009 alone the drop amounted to 12% –, preliminary figures indicate a strong rebound, with value of trade in 2010 said to expand by 9,5% compared to 2009. WTO figures for 2008 indicate that worldwide merchandise export trade amounted to 15,717 billion USD and worldwide merchandise import trade to 16,127 billion USD. These figures are approximately 100 times more than 45 years ago and more than 10 times the level at the time of the signing of the United Nations Convention on Contracts for the International Sale of Goods (“CISG”) in 1980. The average annual growth from 2000 to 2008 was more than 5% for both exports and imports worldwide. No longer is the highest growth found in North America, Europe and Japan, but instead it is the transition economies from different points of the globe – particularly China, Brazil, Russia and some African countries. Disregarding the figures for 2009, in Africa the annual growth of exports amounted to 18% in 2007 and 28% in 2008, that of imports to 23% in 2007 and to 27% in 2008.


Ingeborg Schwenzer
Dr. iur (Freiburg, Germany), LL.M. (Berkeley, USA), Professor for Private Law, University of Basel, Switzerland.
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