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Journal European Journal of Law Reform x Year 2020 x

Franklin De Vrieze
Franklin De Vrieze, Senior Governance Adviser, Westminster Foundation for Democracy

Constantin Stefanou
Dr Constantin Stefanou, Director, Sir William Dale Centre for Legislative Studies; Institute of Advanced Legal Studies, University of London.
Article

Access_open States of Emergency

Analysing Global Use of Emergency Powers in Response to COVID-19

Journal European Journal of Law Reform, Issue 4 2020
Keywords coronavirus, emergency law, emergency powers, autocratization, democratic deconsolidation, state of emergency, rule of law, transparency, accountability, legislative scrutiny
Authors Joelle Grogan
AbstractAuthor's information

    The measures taken in response to the coronavirus pandemic have been among the most restrictive in contemporary history, and have raised concerns from the perspective of democracy, human rights, and the rule of law. Building on a study of the legal measures taken in response to pandemic in 74 countries, this article considers the central question of the use of power during an emergency: is it better or worse for democracy and the rule of law to declare an emergency or, instead, to rely on ordinary powers and legislative frameworks? The article then considers whether the use of powers (ordinary or emergency) in response to the pandemic emergency has ultimately been a cause, or catalyst of, further democratic deconsolidation. It concludes on a note of optimism: an emerging best practice of governmental response reliant on public trust bolstered by rationalized and transparent decision-making and the capacity to adapt, change and reform measures and policies.


Joelle Grogan
Dr. Joelle Grogan is Senior Lecturer in Law, Middlesex University London.
Article

Emergency Measures in Response to the Coronavirus Crisis and Parliamentary Oversight in the EU Member States

Journal European Journal of Law Reform, Issue 4 2020
Keywords states of emergency, parliamentary oversight, health crisis, Covid-19, European Union Member States
Authors Maria Diaz Crego and Silvia Kotanidis
AbstractAuthor's information

    The Covid-19 pandemic has become a true stress test for the legal systems of the worst hit countries. Faced with a health crisis situation, many national governments have become the protagonists in the adoption of difficult measures severely restricting their citizens fundamental rights to the detriment of the powers usually entrusted to the national parliaments. This article examines the normative response of the 27 European Union Member States during the “first wave” of the Covid-19 pandemic, a period that runs from the declaration of a pandemic (March 2020) to mid-June 2020. The intention of the authors was to describe the legal and constitutional mechanisms activated in order to contain the pandemic, focusing on the role of national parliaments in the management of the crisis. This article explores also the degree to which national parliaments have been involved and could exercise parliamentary oversight over the normative measures used by the executive to contain the pandemic in the EU-27.


Maria Diaz Crego
Maria Diaza Crego is a Policy Analyst, European Parliament Research Service, European Parliament.

Silvia Kotanidis
Silvia Kotanidis is a Policy Analyst, European Parliament Research Service, European Parliament. The European Parliamentary Research Service (EPRS) is the internal research service and think tank of the European Parliament. This research paper derives from a paper originally published on 4 December 2020 by the EPRS as background material to assist Members and staff of the European Parliament in their parliamentary work. The content of the document is the sole responsibility of its authors and any opinions expressed therein should not be taken to represent an official position of the European Parliament.
Article

Increased Uptake of Surveillance Technologies During COVID-19

Implications for Democracies in the Global South

Journal European Journal of Law Reform, Issue 4 2020
Keywords surveillance technology, platform economy, COVID-19, democracy, global south, belt and road initiative
Authors Alex Read
AbstractAuthor's information

    Social change and introduction of new technologies have historically followed crises such as pandemics, and COVID-19 has seen increasing public tracking through the use of digital surveillance technology. While surveillance technology is a key tool for enhancing virus preparedness and reducing societal risks, the speed of uptake is likely to raise ethical questions where citizens are monitored and personal data is collected. COVID-19 has occurred during a period of democratic decline, and the predominant surveillance-based business model of the ‘platform economy’, together with the development and export of artificial intelligence (AI)-powered surveillance tools, carries particular risks for democratic development in the countries of the Global South. Increased use of surveillance technology has implications for human rights and can undermine the individual privacy required for democracies to flourish. Responses to these threats must come from new regulatory regimes and innovations within democracies and a renewed international approach to the threats across democracies of the Global North and South.


Alex Read
Alex Read, democratic governance consultant for organisations including UNDP, Inter-Parliamentary Union, Westminster Foundation for Democracy.
Article

Covid-19 Emergency Prison Release Policy: A Public Health Imperative and a Rule of Law Challenge

Journal European Journal of Law Reform, Issue 4 2020
Keywords emergency prison release, rule of law, democracy, reducing prison overcrowding, prisoner rights, appropriate sanctions for white collar criminals, alternatives to custodial sentences
Authors Victoria Jennett
AbstractAuthor's information

    Many countries are implementing emergency releases of people from prison to mitigate the spread of Covid-19. Such measures, while critical to public health, can enable the unjust release from prison of politically connected and wealthy individuals convicted of corruption offences, thereby undermining the rule of law and democratic values by weakening public trust in the justice system. To reduce overcrowding of prisons while ensuring that white-collar criminals are appropriately sanctioned, one strategy is to impose alternatives to custodial sentences that ensure appropriate sanctioning of convicted criminals while de-densifying prisons – an approach that could be considered for non-emergency times as well.
    Main points:

    • Emergency prison release mechanisms to prevent the spread of Covid-19 can pose corruption risks owing to weak design, uneven implementation and inadequate oversight.

    • Such releases take three main forms: prisoner amnesties declared by governments; emergency release procedures drafted by governments and implemented by prison directors; and court decisions to release individual prisoners or set out frameworks to determine who is eligible for release.

    • These emergency procedures can enable the unjust release of politically connected prisoners convicted of corruption offences and undermine public trust in the rule of law and the justice system.

    • To help maintain rule of law during the emergency, alternatives to custodial sentences in line with international standards can be imposed on newly released persons who have been convicted of corruption crimes.

    • Conditions attached to releases can include, among others, status penalties, economic sanctions and monetary penalties, confiscation or expropriation of assets, and restitution or compensation to victims.

    • In non-emergency times, as well, alternatives to custodial sentences can be used to sanction those convicted of corruption crimes as a means to mitigate financial and social damage caused by corruption and reduce prison overcrowding.


Victoria Jennett
Dr. Victoria Jennett is an independent consultant to governments and international organisations on justice sector reform. She acknowledges the insights from Sofie Arjon Shuette at the U4 Anti-Corruption Resource Centre, UNODC colleagues and prison officials in the UK and the USA on an earlier version of this paper.

M.I. Kouskouna
Assistant Professor in EU Law, Law School, National and Kapodistrian University of Athens
Article

The Windrush Scandal

A Review of Citizenship, Belonging and Justice in the United Kingdom

Journal European Journal of Law Reform, Issue 3 2020
Keywords Windrush generation, statelessness, right to nationality, genocide, apologetic UK Human Rights Act Preamble
Authors Namitasha Goring, Beverley Beckford and Simone Bowman
AbstractAuthor's information

    This article points out that the UK Human Rights Act, 1998 does not have a clear provision guaranteeing a person’s right to a nationality. Instead, this right is buried in the European Court of Human Rights decisions of Smirnova v Russia, 2003 and Alpeyeva and Dzhalagoniya v. Russia, 2018. In these cases, the Court stretched the scope of Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights, 1953 on non-interference with private life by public authorities to extend to nationality. The humanitarian crisis arising from the Windrush Scandal was caused by the UK Government’s decision to destroy the Windrush Generation’s landing cards in the full knowledge that for many these slips of paper were the only evidence of their legitimate arrival in Britain between 1948 and 1971.
    The kindling for this debacle was the ‘hostile environment policy’, later the ‘compliant environment policy’ that operated to formally strip British citizens of their right to a nationality in flagrant violation of international and domestic law. This article argues that the Human Rights Act, 1998 must be amended to include a very clear provision that guarantees in the UK a person’s right to a nationality as a portal to a person’s inalienable right to life. This balances the wide discretion of the Secretary of State under Section 4 of the Nationality, Immigration and Asylum Act, 2002 to deprive a person of their right to a nationality if they are deemed to have done something seriously prejudicial to the interests of the UK.
    This article also strongly recommends that the Preamble to the UK Human Rights Act, 1998 as a de facto bill of rights, be amended to put into statutory language Independent Advisor Wendy Williams’ ‘unqualified apology’ recommendation in the Windrush Lessons Learned Report for the deaths, serious bodily and mental harm inflicted on the Windrush Generation. This type of statutory contrition is in line with those of countries that have carried out similar grievous institutional abuses and their pledge to prevent similar atrocities in the future. This article’s contribution to the scholarship on the Human Rights Act, 1998 is that the Windrush Generation Scandal, like African slavery and British colonization, has long-term intergenerational effects. As such, it is fundamentally important that there is a sharp, comprehensive and enforceable legal mechanism for safeguarding the rights and interests of citizens as well as settled migrants of ethnically non-British ancestry who are clearly vulnerable to bureaucratic impulses.


Namitasha Goring
Namitasha Goring, Law and Criminology Lecturer Haringey Sixth Form College, LLM, PhD.

Beverley Beckford
Beverly Beckford, Barrister (Unregistered) (LLM).

Simone Bowman
Simone Bowman, Barrister (LLM Candidate DeMontford University).
Article

Regional Differentiation in Europe, between EU Proposals and National Reforms

Journal European Journal of Law Reform, Issue 3 2020
Keywords regional differentiation, regional disparities, autonomy, regionalism, subsidiarity, European Union, multilevel governance
Authors Gabriella Saputelli
AbstractAuthor's information

    Regions and local governments play a very important role in the application of European law and in the implementation of European policies. The economic crisis of 2008 has accentuated territorial and social differentiation and highlighted the negative effects of globalization. This circumstance has created resentment among peripheral and marginal communities in the electoral results, but also a strong request for involvement, participation and sometimes independence from territories. These developments raise new questions about the relationship between the EU and the Regions and, more widely, about the role of subnational entities in the EU integration process, as they are the institutions nearest to citizens.
    The aim of this article is to contribute to that debate by exploring the following research question: ‘is subnational differentiation positive or negative for European integration?’ Towards a possible answer, two perspectives are examined from a constitutional law approach. From the top down, it examines the attitude of the EU towards regional differentiation, from the origins of the EU integration process and its development until recent initiatives and proposals. From the bottom up, it analyses the role of subnational entities by presenting the Italian experience, through the reforms that have been approved over the years until the recent proposal for asymmetric regionalism. The aim is to understand whether regional differentiation still represents a positive element for the European integration process, considering the role that subnational entities play in many policies and the challenges described earlier.


Gabriella Saputelli
Researcher of Public Law at the Institute for the Study of Regionalism, Federalism and Self Government (ISSiRFA) of the National Research Council (CNR).
Article

The ECB’s Independence and the Principle of Separation

Journal European Journal of Law Reform, Issue 3 2020
Keywords ECB, Banking Supervision, Banking Supervision Centralization, Prudential Supervision, European Union, EU Law, Banking Union, Central Banking Independence, SSMR, SSMR
Authors Pamela Nika
AbstractAuthor's information

    This article addresses the question of whether the European Central Bank’s (ECB’s) involvement in banking supervision is compatible with its independent status as provided by the European Union’s (EU’s) primary law, specifically with reference to the principle of separation between the ECB’s monetary policy and supervisory powers. It is found that the Single Supervisory Mechanism (SSM) Regulation provides the ECB with a set of prerequisites in pursuit of its supervisory objectives under a high level of independence. However, the article argues that the current EU regulatory framework poses risks to the overall independence of the ECB. In particular, the principle of separation, as one of the mechanisms aimed at safeguarding the ECB’s independence, is not fully achieved. In addition, the boundaries and application of macro-prudential operation of the ECB in both the SSM and European Systemic Risk Board (ESRB) remain blurry and uncertain. The article concludes by suggesting that the only way to safeguard the independence of the ECB is by carefully revising the ECB’s competencies, which may require treaty amendment.


Pamela Nika
Dr Pamela Nika is a lecturer in Corporate and Finance Law at Brunel University London.


Enrico Albanesi
Enrico Albanesi is Associate Professor of Constitutional Law, University of Genoa (Italy), and Associate Research Fellow at the Institute of Advanced Legal Studies (IALS), University of London. He co-leads (with Jonathan Teasdale) the IALS Law Reform Project. He wrote Sections A and B.

Jonathan Teasdale
Jonathan Teasdale is Associate Research Fellow at the Institute of Advanced Legal Studies (IALS), University of London. He is a barrister (now non-practising) and former lawyer with the Law Commission for England and Wales, and at one time was a local authority chief executive. He co-leads (with Enrico Albanesi) the IALS Law Reform Project. He wrote Sections C and D.
Article

Access_open Parliamentary Scrutiny of Law Reform in Albania

Bodies, Procedures and Methods

Journal European Journal of Law Reform, Issue 2 2020
Keywords Parliament of Albania, law reform, Standing Committees, European Integration, Council on the Legislation, National Council for European Integration, Committee on European Integration
Authors Dr. Oriola Sallavaci
AbstractAuthor's information

    This article throws light on the parliamentary scrutiny of law reform in Albania, which so far has not received sufficient attention in academic literature. The article provides a review of the bodies, procedures and mechanisms for the scrutiny of legal reform, as specified in the Constitution of Albania, Parliament’s Rules of Procedure and other specific statutes. Research on the activities of these bodies during the past three years, as reported by the official sources, throws light on the problematic aspects of their work and enables recommendations to be made which will lead to a more effective role of Parliament in legal reform. This is paramount considering the past few years of political instability in the country, at a time when Albanian’s European Integration is at stake


Dr. Oriola Sallavaci
Dr. Oriola Sallavaci is Senior Lecturer in Law, University of Essex, United Kingdom. Oriola holds, inter alia, an LLB (1999) and an LLM (2003) from the University of Tirana, Albania, where she taught law for over five years. She is a qualified Albanian advocate and an expert on Albanian law. An earlier version of this article was presented at the IALS Workshop ‘Parliamentary Scrutiny of Law Reform’, held at IALS, London, on 4 November 2019. The author wishes to thank Jonathan Teasdale and Enrico Albanesi for their comments on an earlier draft.
Article

Reflections on the Rule of Law and Law Reform in the Arab Region

Journal European Journal of Law Reform, Issue 2 2020
Keywords rule of law, law reform, colonialism, authoritarianism, international development
Authors Dr Sara Razai
AbstractAuthor's information

    This article offers some preliminary thoughts on the issue of international development actors in the promotion of law in the Arab region. Specifically, it reflects on the rule of law concept as a universalizing notion, touted by international organizations and governments alike as a panacea for social ills. The article discusses the act of intervention and the use and promotion of law to achieve a rule of law order in post-conflict or fragile states. It argues that the use and promotion of law by international development actors (and the donors that fund them) – a proxy for building the rule of law – is by no means new to the region. It has also been the central focus of authoritarian and colonial rulers alike. Although they are by no means similar, the three actors are strikingly similar in that they use and promote law under the aegis of building the rule of law, to the general detriment of the masses


Dr Sara Razai
Sara Razai, UCL Judicial Institute.
Article

A Linguistic Insight into the Legislative Drafting of English-Speaking Jurisdictions

The Use of ‘Singular They’

Journal European Journal of Law Reform, Issue 1 2020
Keywords gender neutrality, ‘singular they’, linguistic insight, legislative drafting, English-language jurisdictions
Authors Giulia Adriana Pennisi
AbstractAuthor's information

    Gender specificity in legislation started being questioned in the late 20th century, and the need to reform the way in which laws have been written for more than one-hundred years has been particularly evident in English-language jurisdictions. In the 1990s and 2000s, the adoption of a plain English style forced legislative drafters to avoid sentences of undue length, superfluous definitions, repeated words and gender specificity with the aim of achieving clarity and minimizing ambiguity.
    Experts in the legal field have suggested reorganizing sentences, avoiding male pronouns, repeating the noun in place of the pronoun, replacing a nominalization with a verb form, resorting to ‘the singular they’. This article gives a linguistic insight into the use of ‘singular they’ in English, beginning with a historical background and going on to assess the impact of its use in the primary legislation issued in a selection of English-language jurisdictions (Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the UK, the US) in the last decade (2008-2018). Given the environment of legislative drafting techniques, where considerable reliance on precedent is inevitable, proposals to change legislative language may produce interesting results in different jurisdictions.


Giulia Adriana Pennisi
Associate Professor (field of research, English Language and Translation) at the University of Palermo, Department of Political Science and International Relations; Associate Research Fellow at the Institute of Advanced Legal Studies, Sir William Dale Centre, University of London.
Article

Gender-Neutral Drafting

A View from Wales

Journal European Journal of Law Reform, Issue 1 2020
Keywords gender, legislation, English, Welsh, LGBTQIA+
Authors Thomas Glyn Watkin
AbstractAuthor's information

    The gender classification of words in English is different from that in many other languages, including Welsh. The approach in Welsh is more closely aligned to that in languages such as French, Spanish or Italian, but there are also differences. The differences include the manner in which possessive pronouns and possessive adjectives are employed. These differences pose difficulties for bilingual drafting in English and Welsh.
    This article will consider some of those difficulties, their root causes and some possible solutions as well as look at issues that may or may not complicate matters further in the future.


Thomas Glyn Watkin
Queen’s Counsel (honoris causa); Fellow of the Learned Society of Wales; Honorary Professor of Law, Bangor University. First Welsh Legislative Counsel (2007-2010); Professor of Law, Bangor Law School (2004-2007); Professor of Law, Cardiff Law School (2001-2004).
Article

Gender Neutrality in EU Legislative Drafting

Journal European Journal of Law Reform, Issue 1 2020
Keywords legislative drafting, EU legislation, EU treaties, multilingualism, gender neutrality
Authors William Robinson
AbstractAuthor's information

    In the English-speaking world the issue of gender-neutral drafting in legislation has been a much discussed topic for many years, and there are few legislative drafting manuals in the English-speaking world that do not address the issue.
    The EU and its institutions also attach great importance to gender issues, as is shown by the solemn commitments in EU texts to gender equality, by the establishment at the EU level of bodies or committees to focus on those issues, and by the EU actions and policies that seek to address them. But the issue of gender-neutral drafting in legislation is not even mentioned in the guidance drawn up by the legislative drafting experts of the EU institutions.
    This contribution, therefore, looks at how gender issues are dealt with in practice in the EU Treaties and in EU legislation. It finds signs of a traditional approach that is beginning to evolve but only slowly and somewhat unevenly.
    The contribution considers some of the reasons behind the approach taken by the EU institutions to gender neutrality in drafting and the impact of the important EU principles of multilingualism and multiculturalism before seeking to draw some conclusions.


William Robinson
Associate Research Fellow at the Institute of Advanced Legal Studies in London; formerly a coordinator in the Quality of Legislation Team of the European Commission Legal Service.
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