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Article

Re-examining the Relationship between Parliament and the Law Reform Commissions

An Australian Perspective

Journal European Journal of Law Reform, Issue 2 2020
Keywords law reform commissions, legislative process, parliamentary scrutiny, Australia
Authors Jacinta Dharmananda
AbstractAuthor's information

    In Australia, statutory law reform commissions answer to parliament, albeit through a senior government minister. But once the commission has fulfilled its obligations to parliament, what are the obligations of parliament to scrutinize, or even to consider, the commission’s recommendations? Further, what are its obligations in relation to proposed legislation that contains law reform proposals? This article addresses those questions in an Australian context, with a focus on the generalist law reform commissions.


Jacinta Dharmananda
Senior Lecturer, Law School, University of Western Australia; PhD Candidate, College of Law, Australian National University. The research reflected in this article is supported by an Australian Government Research Training Program (RTP) Scholarship. ORCID ID 0000-0001-5163-3340
Title

Parliamentary Follow-up of Law Commission Bills

An Irish Perspective

Journal European Journal of Law Reform, Issue 2 2020
Keywords law reform, legislation, Ireland, drafting, parliament
Authors Ciarán Burke
AbstractAuthor's information

    This article seeks to present a brief outline of the various means through which the draft bills and recommendations drafted by the Law Reform Commission of Ireland and published in its reports are followed up by the Irish Parliament, the Oireachtas. The Commission’s position within the Irish legislative architecture is explained, as is the process through which bills become laws in Ireland. The Commission, it is noted, occupies an unusual role. Although there is no requirement for its publications to result in legislation, ultimately the lion’s share of its output is followed up on in the legislative process in one form or another, with its publications attracting the attention of both the government and opposition parties. The challenges and advantages presented by operating within a small jurisdiction are also outlined, while some thoughts are offered on the Commission’s future.


Ciarán Burke
Professor of International Law, Friedrich Schiller Universität, Jena, and former Director of Research at the Law Reform Commission of Ireland. The author would like to thank Alexandra Molitorisovà for her help in preparing this article.
Article

Language and Gender

The Importance of Including a Gender Perspective in the Language of the Constitutional Reform in Spain

Journal European Journal of Law Reform, Issue 1 2020
Keywords language, gender, Constitution, reform, Spain
Authors Ana Marrades
AbstractAuthor's information

    Language is a reflection of culture, and at the same time it helps to build that culture. In the same way, it can be used to transform it. Language serves for describing a culture, to show what we see, but at the same time, it strengthens the relationships of power that exist on the basis of male power. In this way, we can use language to build other kinds of relationships based on equality.
    The Spanish Constitution is written in the masculine. Although it is based on equality, masculine language shows that the power relations lean towards men, and this hides women’s participation. When a text or a legal message uses structures or words that hide or discriminate against one gender, it can be said that linguistic sexism exists, and this violates the principle of equality. This is a reflection about what is happening in our society because language describes cultural values. This exclusion of women in the constitutional text is in itself a denial of them as subjects of rights and as citizens. This is not only a denial of the part of power that corresponds to them, but also the consolidation of a collective story of female subordination.
    Therefore this article aims to focus on the need to carry out a revision of the Spanish Constitution in female and inclusive language that, in parallel to the recognition and guarantee of parity democracy, makes women visible as autonomous subjects. In addition, it also breaks with the male universality of the language and the monopoly of male language to define the sources of the law, as well as rights, powers, institutions, values and policies.


Ana Marrades
Senior lecturer in Constitutional law, University of Valencia.

Christiana Fountoulakis
University of Fribourg, Switzerland
Article

From Supra-Constitutional Principles to the Misuse of Constituent Power in Israel

Journal European Journal of Law Reform, Issue 3 2019
Keywords unconstitutional constitutional amendment, constitutional law, constitutional principles, constituent power, Israel, judicial review
Authors Suzie Navot and Yaniv Roznai
AbstractAuthor's information

    Israel has no one official document known as ‘the Constitution’ and for nearly half a century was based on the principle of parliamentary sovereignty. Still, since the ‘constitutional revolution’ of the 1990s, Israel’s supreme norms are expressed in its basic laws and laws are subject to judicial review. This situation is the result of the enactment of two basic laws dealing with human rights in 1992 – which included a limitation clause – and of a judicial decision of monumental significance in 1995, the Bank Hamizrahi case. In that decision, the Supreme Court stated that all basic laws – even if not entrenched – have constitutional status, and therefore the currently accepted approach is that the Knesset indeed dons two hats, functioning as both a legislature and a constituent authority. The novelty of the Bank Hamizrahi decision lies in its notion of a permanent, ongoing constituent authority. The Knesset actually holds the powers of a constitutional assembly, and legislation titled ‘Basic-Law’ is the product of constituent power. Though it is neither complete nor perfect, Israel’s constitution – that is, basic laws – addresses a substantial number of the issues covered by formal constitutions of other democratic states. Furthermore, though this formal constitution is weak and limited, it is nonetheless a constitution that defends the most important human rights through effective judicial review.
    Still, given the ease with which changes can be made to basic laws, the special standing of basic laws differs from the standing generally conferred on a constitution. Most basic laws are not entrenched, which means that the Knesset can alter a basic law by a regular majority. Over the past few years, there has been a tendency towards ad casum amendments of basic laws. These amendments are usually adopted against a background of political events that demand an immediate response on the part of the Knesset. The latter then chooses the path of constitutional – not regular – legislation, which is governed by a relatively smooth legislative passage procedure. Even provisional constitutional amendments were passed with relative ease followed by petitions presented to the Supreme Court, arguing that the Knesset’s constituent power is actually being ‘abused’.
    These petitions, as well as Israel’s peculiar constitutional development, presented the Supreme Court with several questions as to the power for judicial review of basic laws. Thus far, the Court’s endorsement of judicial review was based on the limitation clause found in both basic laws on human rights, but limitation clauses do not establish the criteria for a constitutional violation by constitution provisions. Does this mean that the Knesset’s constituent power is omnipotent?
    This article examines the almost unique position of Israeli jurisprudence in relation to the doctrine of ‘unconstitutional constitutional amendments’. It focuses on the possibility of applying the doctrine in the Israeli case laws, the often-raised notion of ‘supra-constitutional’ values that would limit the Knesset’s constituent power, and a third – newly created – doctrine of abuse (or misuse) of constituent power. A central claim of this article is that in light of the unbearable ease with which basic laws can be amended in Israel, there is an increased justification for judicial review of basic laws.


Suzie Navot
Suzie Navot is Full Professor, the Haim Striks School of Law, College of Management Academic Studies, Rishon Lezion.

Yaniv Roznai
Yaniv Roznai is Senior Lecturer, Harry Radzyner Law School, Interdisciplinary Center (IDC) Herzliya.
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

The Margin of Appreciation in the ECtHR’s Case Law

A European Version of the Levels of Scrutiny Doctrine?

Journal European Journal of Law Reform, Issue 2-3 2018
Keywords ECHR, judicial deference, levels of scrutiny, margin of appreciation, U.S. federalism
Authors Koen Lemmens
AbstractAuthor's information

    Although the American doctrine of levels of scrutiny and the European concept of margin of appreciation are regularly compared as typical instances of deferential judicial decision-making, this article argues that owing to the institutional setting in which they operate, the differences between the two are notable. It is also argued that the social consequences of the application of the two concepts may even be radically opposed.


Koen Lemmens
Associate professor of Public Law at KU Leuven (Belgium) and press law VU Brussels (Belgium). The author thanks Toon Agten for his comments and Camille Van Peteghem for her assistance during research. The usual disclaimer applies. This volume (The EU Bill of Rights’ Diagonal Application to Member States. Ed. Csongor István Nagy) was published as part of the research project of the HAS-Szeged Federal Markets ‘Momentum’ Research Group.
Article

French Constitution, Droit Administratif and the Civil Code

Journal European Journal of Law Reform, Issue 3 2017
Keywords Droit Administratif, Civil Code, Conseil d’État, public order
Authors Zia Akhtar
AbstractAuthor's information

    Droit Administratif in France is a separate branch of law that exists in parallel to the civil and criminal law. The law has been developed from the concept of separation of powers that is ingrained in the French constitution. Its concepts derive from the Code civil that is implemented in France since its inception in the Napoleonic era and this has undergone reform that has made the role of the judges more interventionist. The highest administrative court is the Conseil d’État, which is at the apex of the machinery of administrative courts that are an important part of public law’s discourse and there is a hierarchy of courts that consider appeals and regulate the norms of conduct of state officials towards the citizens. The judges receive induction and training before taking on the role of occupation and that has been inculcated in the French administrative court judges. This article looks at the separate system of administrative law and its success in preserving the necessary checks and balances in the constitution, which it is intended to protect. This is an examination of the developing concept of French justice, the doctrine of separation of powers and civil procedural changes that enable the grievance of citizens against officials to be heard more expeditiously.


Zia Akhtar
LLB (Lon), LLM (Lon), Gray’s Inn, PhD candidate (Sussex). Zia Akhtar is a leading writer on judicial review, regulatory law and EU law. He undertakes research in the comparative law between the common law and the civil law countries.
Article

Collective Action Clauses in the Eurozone

One Step Forward, Two Steps Back

Journal European Journal of Law Reform, Issue 4 2014
Keywords collective action clauses (CACs), sovereign debt restructuring, Eurozone, European Stability Mechanism
Authors Giuseppe Bianco
AbstractAuthor's information

    Amongst the measures taken inside the European Union to tackle the sovereign debt crisis, the focus of the legal scholarship has been mainly on the financial stability mechanisms and the European Central Bank’s action. These initiatives constitute the liquidity assistance part of the response. Arguably, less attention has been devoted to the initiatives intended to face issues of debt sustainability. As regards the course of action to adopt in case a country cannot repay its debt, the European Union opted for collective action clauses (CACs). This paper takes a critical look at the Eurozone CACs. It aims to answer the following research question: Are the adopted CACs an efficient means to achieve their purported objective (i.e. facilitate renegotiations of sovereign bonds between creditors and the sovereign debtor)? To do so, the paper investigates the CACs’ content and their historical bases. It then compares the final version with the initial draft and points to several interesting findings. The paper argues that it is likely that practical results from the use of CACs will be significantly below political leaders’ expectations.


Giuseppe Bianco
PhD Fellow, University of Oslo – Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne. He can be reached at giuseppe.bianco@jus.uio.no. The author wishes to thank Régis Bismuth, Annamaria Viterbo, and Michael Waibel. Any errors and omissions are the sole responsibility of the author.
Article

Democracy, Constitutionalism and Shariah

The Compatibility Question

Journal European Journal of Law Reform, Issue 2 2014
Authors A.T. Shehu
Abstract

    This article is a contribution and a response to the debate on the compatibility, or rather the incompatibility, of Islam and Shariah with democracy and constitutionalism. The debate has been both inter and intra; Muslims as well as non-Muslims are divided among themselves on the issue. A careful synthesis of the arguments on both sides shows fundamental problems of semantics and lack of proper appreciation of the issues involved because of divergent construction of the basic rules and normative concepts. This article identifies as a problem the tendency for cultural prejudice and intolerance to largely determine the direction of the debate and endure not only a ‘clash of civilizations’, but also, in reality, a clash of normative concepts. This article contends that Islam is more democratic in nature and that Shariah itself is a system of constitutionalism; needless to say, the objectionists have long forgotten that, in essential formulations, Shariah is the foundation of thoughts on human rights.


A.T. Shehu
Article

Human Rights in Islamic Law, Specifically the Guarantee of Procedural Justice

Journal European Journal of Law Reform, Issue 2 2014
Keywords Islamic law, procedural justice, human rights, rules of evidence, Cairo Declaration of Human Rights
Authors Mohamed Y. Mattar
AbstractAuthor's information

    International law guarantees several fundamental principles of procedural justice, such as presumption of innocence, the right against self-incrimination, the right to be tried without undue delay, the right to examine witnesses, and the right to legal assistance. In this article I examine whether Islamic law guarantees similar procedural protections and demonstrate how Islamic law provides for basic human rights as well as general principles that may serve as guidelines in procedural justice. These include the principle of non-retroactivity, the principle of personal accountability, the principle of no crime or punishment without law, the right to be presumed innocent until proven guilty, and the right to defence. The article also identifies rules of evidence provided by Islamic law which are designed to protect the accused.


Mohamed Y. Mattar
Mohamed Y. Mattar is a Senior Research Professor of International Law and the Executive Director of The Protection Project at The Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS).

    Under the Kafala system, which applies in all Arab countries, migrant workers must attain a work entry visa and residential permit, which is possible only if they are working for a domestic institution or corporation or a citizen of the respective country. Each and every employer is required, based on the Kafala system, to adopt all legal and economic responsibilities for all of the employer's workers during their contractual period. By giving wide-ranging powers and responsibilities unilaterally to employers, the Kafala system subjects workers to abysmal and exploitative working conditions, violence, and human rights abuses. Some of these problems have recently made headlines in the United States and in Europe in connection with the campus being built by New York University in Abu Dhabi. While NYU imposed a code of labor standards on its direct contractual partners, it claimed to have no means of controlling subcontractors. Nor did NYU try very hard, it seems, to verify compliance even by its direct contractual partners.
    Migrant workers make up at least 30 percent of the population of Saudi Arabia and 49 percent of Saudi Arabia's entire workforce. Employers control Saudi Arabia's Kafala system, in which migrant workers are the weakest link. Studies and international organizations report that foreigners employed in Saudi Arabia have returned home with many complaints. In 2006, Saudi Arabia re-examined all laws including its labor law. This re-examination resulted in abolishing some terms used in labor law, such as the kafala system, but the system remains as is. The new labor law includes many positive changes, but not enough according to the assessment of local and international scholars and observers. In this paper, I will reveal laws, practices and patterns that essentially cause the vulnerability of migrant workers, and I will suggest effective alternative strategies. This paper should contribute to our growing understanding of issues of concern for migrant workers in Saudi Arabia and other Arab countries and help to develop specific and necessary legal and institutional responses.


Majed M. Alzahrani
LL.M, Indiana University, Robert H. McKinney School of Law. The author would like to thank Professor Frank Emmert for advice and guidance in the production of this article.
Article

Statutory Interpretation in Multilingual Jurisdictions

Journal European Journal of Law Reform, Issue 3 2013
Keywords drafting, multilingual, translation, interpretation, authenticity
Authors Odethie Birunga
AbstractAuthor's information

    Considering that every piece of legislation is subject to legal interpretation, its practicability depends highly on successful interpretation. In any legislation drafted in more than one language, divergence in meanings of versions is not only possible, but inevitable. It is not a simple task to draft in a way so that contexts are translated and included in all different language versions so that it becomes one meaningful legislation. While relying on one version only in the course of interpreting a piece of legislation may sound a lot easier, there could be ambiguous passages which may be clarified by consulting other versions. The existence of discrepancies between the versions of legislation is neither a smooth sail in multilingual environment.


Odethie Birunga
Odethie Birungi Kamugundu is a Principal State attorney in the ministry of Justice Rwanda since 2010 in the Legislative drafting department which drafts, coordinates and oversees the drafting of laws in Rwanda. Prior to that, she worked in the National Public Prosecution as a prosecutor from 2002 to 2010. She graduated in Law (LLB) from the National University of Rwanda in 1999, and in Legislative Drafting (LLM) from the University of London- Institute of Advanced Legal Studies in 2012.
Article

Treaties X Human Rights Treaties

A Critical Analysis of the Dual Stance on Treaties in the Brazilian Legal System

Journal European Journal of Law Reform, Issue 2 2013
Keywords human rights, international treaties, hierarchy of the treaties
Authors Gustavo Ferreira Santos
AbstractAuthor's information

    The Constitution of the Federative Republic of Brazil provides two procedures for incorporating treaties into domestic law. Human rights treaties must be approved by a special quorum: it is necessary that of three-fifths of the members of each legislative house vote in favour, with two rounds in each chamber. This proceeding is similar to a constitutional amendment. Treaties on other subjects need only the approval of the majority. This system has been in place since 2004. The Brazilian Supreme Court decided that human rights treaties incorporated after 2004 have the same hierarchical level of constitutional provisions but human rights treaties enacted before that have the same hierarchical position of ordinary statutory laws. This system needs to be reformed in order to allow an easier integration with international law. All human rights treaties should have the same position as constitutional provisions.


Gustavo Ferreira Santos
Professor of Constitutional Law at the Federal University of Pernambuco and the Catholic University of Pernambuco. Holder of a scholarship awarded by CNPq (Brazilian National Council for Scientific and Technological Development for Research Productivity).
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

The Impact of Europeanization of Contract Law on English Contract Law

Journal European Journal of Law Reform, Issue 2-3 2012
Keywords Rome I and II Regulations, Europeanization, contract law, Common European Sales Law, faulty goods
Authors Omar Abdelaziz
Abstract

    The ongoing process of Europeanization for promoting cross-border transactions and conferring better protection for consumers and small businesses has had its impact all over Europe. It represents a new step towards a harmonized set of legal rules to govern cross-border transactions in the field of contract law. So what is its exact scope? Who will benefit from it? What are its risks? What is its methodology? Does it represent a codification of common law rules? What will be its impact especially on common law countries such as the United Kingdom? The effectiveness of Europeanization depends almost entirely on the correct implementation into national law of the various directives; every member state is obliged to fully implement a harmonized measure into its domestic laws. This is accomplished by ensuring that (1) the relevant legal framework meets the requirements of the harmonized measure and (2) the application of the domestic rules giving effect to a harmonizing measure does not undermine the effectiveness of the European measure. English contract law is largely an uncodified law. Accordingly, the approach taken and the methods used by this jurisdiction to implement European directives into its national laws with the aim of harmonization are different. How did the English courts interpret legislations that implement EU legislations? Will Europeanization affect the deep-rooted principles and doctrines of English contract law (issues of commercial agency), good faith in pre-contractual obligations, unfair contract terms and specific performance? Finally, what could be the clash between European contract law, Rome I Regulations and the United Nations Convention on Contracts for the International Sale of Goods? Could this optional instrument be an exclusive law to either national or international mandatory rules for consumers in member states? What will be the qualification for a genuine consent of consumers in cross-border contracts? Will it lead to the development of the internal market as envisaged by the Commission?


Omar Abdelaziz
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

Trade in Oil and Export Restrictions

Taking the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries to the WTO Court

Journal European Journal of Law Reform, Issue 1 2012
Keywords WTO, dispute settlement, US, OPEC, oil
Authors Bashar H. Malkawi
AbstractAuthor's information

    The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), as seen by observers, resembles a greedy international cartel that preys on the public in defiance of market competition. High oil prices are considered as a principal cause of the US economic woes. Some US congressmen pinpointed OPEC’s alleged inconsistency with the World Trade Organization (WTO) rules and called upon the US administration to open dispute settlement proceedings against OPEC. This article discusses the legal issues arising from a US action at the WTO level against OPEC countries. The first sections of the article comprise an institutional review of the WTO and OPEC. The article addresses the interplay between the WTO and OPEC. It then illustrates the central provisions of the WTO that can be used for arguments and counter-arguments concerning such a WTO action. It culminates with a set of concluding thoughts.


Bashar H. Malkawi
Associate Professor of Commercial Law, University of Sharjah, UAE. He received his LL.B from Yarmouk University in 1999, LL.M from University of Arizona College of Law in 2001, S.J.D from American University, Washington College of Law in 2005. The author would especially like to thank the two outside reviewers for their direction, feedback and invaluable insight. He also thanks the law journal editors and staff writers for their hard work in polishing the article.

Haimo Schack
Professor of law, Director of the Institute for European and International Private and Procedural Law, University of Kiel. An earlier version of this article was published in German in Rabelsz 2001, vol. 65, pp. 615-633, as ‘Das neue Internationale Eheverfahrensrecht in Europa’. The following English version is published with the friendly permission of the editors of Rabelz.

Maureen B. Fitzmahan
Maureen Fitzmahan is an American scholar teaching in Eastern Europe. She is an Associate Professor of Law at Concordia International University in Tallinn, Estonia, where she teaches international law and international human rights law. She began her career as an assistant attorney general for the state of Washington in the United States and later taught and did field research on East European law. She writes on the Ukrainian legal system and does research on former Soviet dissidents and justice for crimes against humanity.
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