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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

Establishing a Legislative Scrutiny Framework

The Case of Delegated Legislation in the Parliament of South Africa

Journal European Journal of Law Reform, Issue 2 2019
Keywords parliamentary process, post-legislative scrutiny, procedural framework, delegated legislation
Authors Victoria Hasson
AbstractAuthor's information

    There is one indispensable contravention to the principle of separation of powers: parliaments must grant the executive the authority to make law in a delegated capacity. No modern state can be effectively governed without the executive making laws to supplement Acts of parliament. Delegating power does not mean that parliament loses its power. For parliament to retain its legislative authority what is required is a framework to support parliament to review the laws (and powers) that are being delegated, and that it has the capacity to monitor and regulate the use of that power by the Executive. At the start of South Africa’s new democracy in 1994, parliament had the opportunity to create a framework for effective delegated law-making. Yet the parliament took almost 10 years to develop its approach and a further 6 years to have this framework approved. Since then, the application of parliament’s scrutiny framework is challenged by a lack of political will that makes it difficult for this oversight to take place effectively, and a permanent, powerful mechanism to be agreed upon. A close look into how South Africa’s post-1994 delegated framework was developed offers insight into the challenges of developing parliamentary rules, practices and procedures in the context of a new representative democracy with significant developmental challenges. As parliament’s legislative supremacy is at stake, these insights are of vital importance to our consideration of how to strengthen the position, place and performance of parliaments as democracy assistance professionals, academics, MPs and parliamentary staff.


Victoria Hasson
Victoria Hasson is Senior Parliamentary Adviser, Westminster Foundation for Democracy.
Article

Post-Legislative Scrutiny of the Law against Gender-Based Violence

The Successful Story of the Cabo Verde Parliament

Journal European Journal of Law Reform, Issue 2 2019
Keywords oversight, post-legislative scrutiny, Cabo Verde, parliament
Authors Elisabete Azevedo-Harman and Ricardo Godinho Gomes
AbstractAuthor's information

    In 2011 Cabo Verde’s parliament approved the Law Against Gender-Based Violence (GBV). In 2014, 3 years later, the Women’s Caucus (WC) of this parliament agreed to trace the implementation of the law and its impact. This decision was taken without a clear perception of how to conduct post-legislative scrutiny (PLS) and without suspecting the eventual troubling findings. Post-legislative scrutiny has not previously been done in Cabo Verde, partly because of the inexperience of this democratic parliament, partly because PLS is a rather recent and still underdeveloped legislative activity anchored in oversight and legislation functions. In 2014 and 2015, Women’s Caucus conducted PLS of the GBV Law finding that the government had not enacted the necessary implementation rules to enforce this law, which hampered budget allocations and funding. According to the country’s legislative process this should have taken place within 10 months of the law’s approval. This study describes and discusses how the post-legislative scrutiny of the GBV Law was conducted and the lessons learned through this pioneering process in Cabo Verde’s parliament.


Elisabete Azevedo-Harman
Elisabete Azevedo-Harman is Professor on legislative and political institutions in Angolan and Mozambican universities, political advisor, international expert on parliamentary and institutional development. Currently is a senior consultant of the National Assembly of Angola.

Ricardo Godinho Gomes
Ricardo Godinho Gomes is a political scientist in the field of democratic governance since 2006 for UNDP, more specifically in electoral assistance, parliamentary strengthening and public finance management. He is a UNDP programme manager and he was the head of the management units of the project in support of electoral cycles in PALOP and Timor-Leste (2010-2013) and the Pro PALOP-TL SAI (2014-2017).
Article

Retrospective Policy Evaluation at the European Parliament

Journal European Journal of Law Reform, Issue 2 2019
Keywords European parliament, EU legislation, post-legislative scrutiny, scrutiny of the executive, Better Regulation
Authors José Luis Rufas Quintana and Irmgard Anglmayer
AbstractAuthor's information

    The European Parliament (EP) has become an active player in the evaluation of EU policy in recent years. In particular, the creation of a dedicated impact assessment capacity (both ex-ante and ex-post) within parliament’s administration, and the adoption of new rules for committees’ preparation of ‘implementation reports’ has led to an institutionalization of parliament’s evaluation activities. This article discusses the rationale for, and practice of, the European Parliament’s policy evaluation system in the context of the EU’s Better Regulation Agenda. It explains how, when and why the European Parliament performs retrospective evaluation. Moreover, it reflects on the complementary role of parliament’s evaluation work with regard to that of the European Commission and, finally, examines the value it adds in terms of accountability and agenda-setting.


José Luis Rufas Quintana
José Luis Rufas Quintana is Head of the Ex-post Evaluation Unit within the European Parliamentary Research Service.

Irmgard Anglmayer
Irmgard Anglmayer works as a policy analyst in the Ex-post Evaluation Unit within the European Parliamentary Research Service. The content of this article is the sole responsibility of the authors and any opinions expressed herein should not be taken to represent an official position of the European Parliament.
Article

Better Regulation and Post-Legislative Scrutiny in the European Union

Journal European Journal of Law Reform, Issue 2 2019
Keywords parliaments, post-legislative scrutiny, better regulation, European Union, legislation, regulation, democracy
Authors Davor Jancic
AbstractAuthor's information

    This article analyses the manner in which the EU’s Better Regulation Agenda impacts pre-legislative and post-legislative scrutiny by national parliaments, as two important dimensions of their function of democratic control over EU decision making. To this end, the article critically assesses the institutional arrangements and procedures foreseen under the Commission’s 2015 Better Regulation package and examines the 2017 review of the Better Regulation Agenda, which is a fresh push towards its enhancement. The article is structured as follows. After an overview of the legal grounding and evolution of better regulation in EU law, the analysis surveys the implications for parliaments of the Juncker Commission’s package of reforms, which are laid out in a Communication and implemented through a set of guidelines, a refurbished toolbox for practitioners, a revised Regulatory Fitness and Performance Programme (REFIT), and an Interinstitutional Agreement on Better Lawmaking adopted in 2016. On this basis, the article discusses post-legislative scrutiny of EU legislation on its own merits as well as from the perspective of its relationship with pre-legislative scrutiny. The latter is important since it is the most efficient way for parliaments to influence the contents of EU policies. The article concludes that the Better Regulation Agenda maintains the status quo in domestic parliamentary participation in EU affairs and misses the opportunity to fortify the latter’s European embeddedness.


Davor Jancic
Dr Davor Jancic is Lecturer in Law, Director of the English & European Law LLB programme, Department of Law, Queen Mary University of London.
Article

Post-Legislative Scrutiny in New Zealand

A Focus on Delegated Legislation

Journal European Journal of Law Reform, Issue 2 2019
Keywords post-legislative scrutiny, regulations review, parliamentary oversight, New Zealand, law reform proposals, comparative law
Authors Charles Chauvel
AbstractAuthor's information

    In New Zealand, a scheme for the political post-legislative scrutiny of delegated legislation has operated since 1989. The Regulations Review Committee of the House of Representatives systematically considers delegated legislation and may inquire into matters relating to it. By convention the Committee is chaired by a member of an opposition party and is supported by a dedicated secretariat. It may, on grounds that go beyond vires, draw the attention of the House to any provision of any regulation. If one of its members moves to disallow a statutory instrument, and if debate on the member’s motion is not brought on within a specified period, the instrument ceases to have legal effect. The note considers aspects of the Committee’s jurisdiction, and whether the successful operation of the Committee may have led to excess focus on the scrutiny of delegated legislation at the expense of the systemic post-enactment scrutiny of primary legislation.


Charles Chauvel
Charles Chauvel is a Former Member of Parliament, New Zealand and Official of the United Nations.
Article

The Role of National Human Rights Institutions in Post-Legislative Scrutiny

Journal European Journal of Law Reform, Issue 2 2019
Keywords National Human Rights Institution, parliament, legislation, reporting, post-legislative scrutiny
Authors Luka Glušac
AbstractAuthor's information

    This article explores the role of national human rights institutions (NHRIs) in post-legislative scrutiny (PLS), a topic that has been notably neglected in existing literature. The present research demonstrates that (1) legislative review is actually part of NHRIs’ mandate and (2) the applicable international standards (e.g. Belgrade and Paris Principles) provide for their actorness in all stages of legislative process. The main hypothesis is that NHRIs have already been conducting activities most relevant for PLS, even though they have not often been labelled as such by parliaments or scholars. In other words, we argue that their de facto role in PLS has already been well established through their practice, despite the lack of de jure recognition by parliamentary procedures. We support this thesis by providing empirical evidence from national practices to show NHRIs’ relevance for PLS of both primary and secondary legislation. The central part of this article concentrates on the potential of NHRIs to act as (1) triggers for PLS, and (2) stakeholders in PLS that has already been initiated. The article concludes with a summary of the results, lessons learned, their theoretical and practical implications and the avenues for further research.


Luka Glušac
Luka Glušac received his PhD in Political Science from the University of Belgrade; Faculty of Political Sciences. His PhD thesis explored the evolution of national human rights institutions (NHRIs) and their relations with the United Nations. He is adviser in the Secretariat of the Ombudsman of Serbia, since 2011. In 2018, he served as a National Institutions Fellow at The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) in Geneva. He can be contacted at lukaglusac@gmail.com.
Article

Post-Legislative Scrutiny in a Non-Westminster Parliament

Opportunities, Challenges and Considerations

Journal European Journal of Law Reform, Issue 2 2019
Keywords post-legislative scrutiny, parliamentary oversight, legislative process, Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine, French Senate, Belgian federal parliament
Authors Jonathan Murphy and Svitlana Mishura
AbstractAuthor's information

    Post-legislative scrutiny (PLS) has generated growing interest as a means both for strengthening the legislative process and for permitting parliament to more effectively integrate its legislative and oversight functions. Engagement throughout the cycle of legislative development, adoption and implementation enables parliament to assure laws are properly implemented and to rectify weaknesses either in original legislative conceptualization or in executive implementation. Carried out properly, PLS should improve governance and increase its democratic accountability. Recent attention to PLS has however focused mainly on its role and use in Westminster-type parliaments. This article explores PLS from the perspective of non-Westminster parliaments. It seeks to understand why PLS in non-Westminster parliaments has received comparatively less scholarly and parliamentary development practitioner attention. The article uses a case study of Ukraine to explore the context and challenges for effective PLS, a non-Westminster emerging democracy. It concludes by proposing rebalancing discussion of PLS to take better account of diverse parliamentary models and suggests approaches to supporting PLS development in parliaments where it has not previously been consistently used


Jonathan Murphy
Jonathan Murphy is Docent, University of Jyvaskyla, Finland and parliamentary development consultant.

Svitlana Mishura
Svitlana Mishura is Deputy Head of the Main Legal Department of the Administration of the Parliament of Ukraine. The authors would like to thank UNDP Ukraine and the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine for their support to the development of this article, and Anastasia Petrova for her invaluable research assistance in collecting data on PLS in the Verkhovna Rada.
Article

Access_open A Tale of Two Houses?

Post-Legislative Scrutiny in the UK Parliament

Journal European Journal of Law Reform, Issue 2 2019
Keywords post-legislative scrutiny, committees, recommendations, UK Parliament
Authors Tom Caygill
AbstractAuthor's information

    In the last decade a more systematic approach to post-legislative scrutiny has been taken by both the UK Government and Parliament. Currently, owing to a lack of systematic analysis we do not know how both Houses of the UK Parliament are undertaking post-legislative scrutiny. The aim of the article is to determine the similarities and differences between the House of Commons and the House of Lords when undertaking post-legislative scrutiny. The article addresses this gap in knowledge through the use of four case studies, which address how legislation is selected for review, what recommendations are produced and how government responses are followed up. The article finds that there are a number of differences in the way legislation is selected by both Houses and also highlights the differences between them in terms of the output of their recommendations. Overall, this article contributes to our knowledge of the processes available to the UK Parliament for the undertaking of post-legislative scrutiny. This is important as post-legislative scrutiny, as a formalized activity, is relatively new, and there is a contribution to be made here in terms of how such procedures can be utilized in other legislatures.


Tom Caygill
Tom Caygill is a Doctoral candidate, School of Geography, Politics and Sociology, Newcastle University (UK). Funding: This work was supported by the Economic and Social Research Council [Grant number ES/J500082/1].
Article

An Assessment of Post-Legislative Scrutiny in the Parliament of Sierra Leone

Journal European Journal of Law Reform, Issue 2 2019
Keywords legislative process, parliament, Sierra Leone, post-legislative scrutiny
Authors Yirah Mansaray
AbstractAuthor's information

    Sierra Leone is among countries in Sub-Saharan Africa which have not institutionalized post-legislative scrutiny (PLS) in their national legislative processes. However, the inspiration to start the process of institutionalizing PLS is derived from the recent interest in ‘better regulation’ and the impetus in PLS of domestic legislation in Sierra Leone. This article tries to scrutinize the structure, procedures and emerging methodologies that are shaping the Parliament of Sierra Leone’s (PoSL) ability to conduct PLS, and its interaction with the Executive. The question that guides this research is whether there has been PLS in Sierra Leone; if so, what are the steps, and if not why? Essentially, PLS remains an indispensable component of the legislative process, especially when parliament engages in legislative scrutiny to determine government action or inaction in implementing public policies. The article concludes that the inclusivity of the Fifth Parliament has created a political space for engaging in PLS. Second, absence of clearly defined procedures for PLS in the parliament, through the 1991 Constitution and the Standing Orders of the House allows MPs to raise matters on public policy and its implementation, and third, the urgency on the need to recalibrate the legislative process will provide a congenial environment for the operationalization of the PLS, especially with the Committee system.


Yirah Mansaray
Yirah Mansaray is a Parliamentary Research Coordinator at the Parliament of Sierra Leone.
Article

Post-Legislative Scrutiny in a Decentralized Setting

Opportunities from Alcoholic Drinks Regulation in Kenya

Journal European Journal of Law Reform, Issue 2 2019
Keywords affordability, alcohol, availability, enforcement, licensing, marketing, post-legislative scrutiny, regulation, regulatory impact, taxation
Authors Francis A. Aywa and Gabriel K. Ndung’u
AbstractAuthor's information

    Irresponsible alcohol consumption is a complicated regulatory issue globally. Governments’ regulatory regimes for the alcoholic drinks sector are primarily concerned with issues such as control of the production, sale, and use of alcoholic drinks for purposes of safeguarding the health of the individual in view of the dangers of excessive consumption of alcoholic drinks. This article is intended to offer insights on post-legislative scrutiny by drawing on lessons from alcoholic drinks regulation in Kenya. Post-legislative scrutiny as a methodology largely reviews government action or inaction and consequently proposes measures to be undertaken for purposes of managing the effective implementation of its policies and abiding by legal obligations in relation to regulatory frameworks and actions. The intention is to highlight the failures and insufficiencies of the different approaches on alcohol regulation and the manner in which they have been utilized to regulate and control abuse of alcoholic drinks. By comparing regulatory outcomes with the intended policy outcomes and design of regulatory regimes the authors make the case for the primacy of post-regulatory scrutiny and to provide suggestions on how it can be improved in settings such as Kenya’s.


Francis A. Aywa
Francis A. Aywa is Team Leader of DAI’s Deepening Democracy Programme and former Chief of Party of SUNY’s Kenya Parliamentary Strengthening Programme.

Gabriel K. Ndung’u
Gabriel K. Ndung’u is a Legislative Development Specialist and former Deputy Chief of Party of SUNY’s Kenya Parliamentary Programme.
Article

Post-Legislative Scrutiny as a Form of Executive Oversight

Tools and Practices in Europe

Journal European Journal of Law Reform, Issue 2 2019
Keywords scrutiny of law enforcement, ex-post impact assessment, parliamentary oversight of the executive, post-legislative scrutiny
Authors Elena Griglio
AbstractAuthor's information

    Parliaments’ engagement in post-legislative scrutiny can be considered either as an extension of the legislative function or within the framework of the oversight of the executive. This article makes use of the latter view to assess how parliaments in Europe approach post-legislative scrutiny and to which extent this function can be regarded as a form of executive oversight. Although rules and practices of parliaments in this realm are remarkably heterogeneous, the focus on some selected parliaments (Italy, France, Germany, Sweden, and the European Parliament) reveals three different conceptual categories. In the ‘basic’ approach (passive scrutinizers), parliaments limit their role solely to the assessment of the ex-post scrutiny performed by the government and external agencies. Differently, parliaments willing to engage in a more proactive approach might choose either to act on an informal basis, establishing ad hoc research/evaluation administrative units (informal scrutinizers) or to address post-legislative scrutiny in a formal and highly institutionalized manner (formal scrutinizers). As a matter of fact, the practise of parliaments often combines characters of different categories. While in all of these approaches post-legislative scrutiny shows potential for executive oversight, only the third can potentially lead to a kind of ‘hard’ oversight.


Elena Griglio
Dr Elena Griglio is a Senior Parliamentary Official, Italian Senate and Adjunct Professor, Luiss Guido Carli University.
Article

Post-Legislative Scrutiny and Its Impact on Legislative Oversight in Uganda Parliament

Experiences from an Emerging Democracy

Journal European Journal of Law Reform, Issue 2 2019
Keywords consultation, deeply rooted traditions and customs, ‘Positive Deviant’ approach, post-legislative scrutiny
Authors Gitta Zacharia
AbstractAuthor's information

    The Uganda Parliament Department of Research Services has, over the past 4 years, carried out a number of post-legislative scrutiny studies. This article, taking the case of a post-legislative scrutiny done on Uganda’s Prohibition of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) Act 2010, explores the links between pre- and post-legislative scrutiny, and from a practical perspective, argues that although pre-legislative scrutiny can improve the quality of legislation, it is subject to the circumstances and nature of the legislation, and furthermore complexity could increase as legislation is delegated for implementation at local levels. It also argues that both pre- and pro-legislative scrutiny play a complimentary role and should pro-legislative scrutiny alone cannot address the complexity of implementing the law.


Gitta Zacharia
Gitta Zacharia is Legal Research Officer, Department of Research Services, Parliament of Uganda. The author would like to acknowledge and thank the Department of Research Services and the leadership of the Uganda Parliament for their contribution and support towards this article.

Franklin De Vrieze
Franklin De Vrieze is Senior Governance Adviser, Westminster Foundation for Democracy Editor of the Special Issue of EJLR on Post-Legislative Scrutiny.
Article

Judging Reformers and Reforming Judges

Journal European Journal of Law Reform, Issue 1 2019
Keywords law reform, common law, judges, United Kingdom Supreme Court, legal reasoning
Authors James Lee
AbstractAuthor's information

    This article examines the practice and limits of judicial law reform. In particular, I consider the question of when initiation of a reform is appropriate for the judiciary as opposed to the legislature, an issue which has been a matter of controversy amongst the Justices of the United Kingdom Supreme Court. This question is assessed in the light of the institutional and constitutional competences of the courts, particularly with respect to the structure of common law reasoning. It is also argued that it is important to have regard to perspectives of the relevant judges, in understanding the individual and collective approaches to the judicial development of the law.


James Lee
James Lee is Reader in English Law and PC Woo Research Fellow 2016-2017 at The Dickson Poon School of Law, King’s College London, and Associate Academic Fellow of the Honourable Society of the Inner Temple; Senior Visiting Fellow, Gilbert + Tobin Centre of Public Law, University of New South Wales; and Visiting Professor, Hong Kong University. I am grateful to Enrico Albanesi, Mark Lunney, Jonathan Teasdale and all those who attended the Law Reform Workshop at the Institute of Advanced Legal Studies in November 2017 and a Kirby Seminar at the School of Law at the University of New England at which drafts of this article were presented. I thank both PC Woo & Co and the Faculty of Law at UNSW for the generous support for the project of which this article forms part. All views, and any errors, are my own.
Article

Plain Language

A Promising Tool for Quality Legislation

Journal European Journal of Law Reform, Issue 4 2018
Keywords plain language, clarity, precision, accessibility, interpretation
Authors Kally K.L. Lam LLB
AbstractAuthor's information

    The hypothesis of this article is that plain language drafting with innovative drafting techniques can improve the quality of legislation. Further to this, the article tries to prove that quality legislation can also make the law more accessible to its general audience. With regard to quality, the article assesses plain language drafting with innovative drafting techniques using Helen Xanthaki’s criteria of quality in legislation, i.e. that it should be clear, precise and unambiguous. With regard to accessibility, it is defined broadly as to include readability. I will first assess whether plain language drafting with innovative drafting techniques can meet the expectations of its general audience and second discuss whether legislation drafted in plain language with innovative techniques passes the usability tests.


Kally K.L. Lam LLB
Kally K.L. Lam, LLB (University of Hong Kong), LLM (University of London) is Solicitor (Hong Kong).
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

Three Tiers, Exceedingly Persuasive Justifications and Undue Burdens

Searching for the Golden Mean in US Constitutional Law

Journal European Journal of Law Reform, Issue 2-3 2018
Keywords Equal protection, franchise, fundamental rights, intermediate scrutiny, rationality review, reproductive rights, right to vote, strict scrutiny, substantive due process, undue burden, US constitutional law
Authors Barry Sullivan
AbstractAuthor's information

    When government action is challenged on equal protection grounds in the US, conventional wisdom holds that the courts will analyse constitutionality under one of three standards of review: rational basis, intermediate scrutiny and strict scrutiny. In substantive due process cases, two standards are applied: rational basis and strict scrutiny. In fact, careful study shows that the levels of scrutiny are actually more plastic than conventional wisdom would suggest and have shifted over time. In addition, courts sometimes confuse matters by appearing to introduce new tests, as when Justice Ginsburg characterized the government’s burden in Virginia v. United States, 518 U.S. 515 (1996) in terms of “an exceedingly persuasive justification”. Finally, while the Court originally applied strict scrutiny review to reproductive rights in Roe v. Wade, 410 U.S. 113 (1973), the Court has subsequently applied an ‘undue burden’ test in that area. A similar trend can be seen in voting rights cases. While the Court long ago characterized the right to vote as “fundamental … because preservative of all rights”, Yick Wo v. Hopkins, 118 U.S. 356, 370 (1886), and the modern Court initially applied strict scrutiny to voting rights, the Court has now moved away from strict scrutiny, just as it has in the reproductive rights area. This erosion of constitutional protection for voting rights is the central concern of this article. The focus here is on the way these tests have evolved with respect to limitations on the right to vote. The article begins with a description of the three-tiered paradigm and then considers the US Supreme Court’s development of the ‘undue burden’ test as a substitute for the strict scrutiny standard in the reproductive rights jurisprudence. The article then considers the Court’s analogous move away from strict scrutiny in voting rights cases. That move is particularly troubling because overly deferential review may subvert democratic government by giving elected officials enormous power to frame electoral rules in a way that potentially games the system for their own benefit. Building on existing scholarship with respect to reproductive rights, this article suggests a possible way forward, one that may satisfy the Court’s concerns with the need for regulation of the electoral process while also providing the more robust protection needed to protect the right to participate meaningfully in the electoral process.


Barry Sullivan
Cooney & Conway Chair in Advocacy and Professor of Law, Loyola University Chicago School of Law. The author is grateful to Jeffrey W. Gordon, Pilar Mendez and Tara Russo for expert research assistance, to Julienne Grant, Loyola University Chicago School of Law Reference Librarian, for additional research assistance, and to Michael Kaufman, Alfred S. Konefsky, Juan Perea, H. Jefferson Powell, Henry Rose, and Winnifred Fallers Sullivan for many helpful comments on an earlier draft. The author also wishes to thank the Cooney & Conway Chair Fund and the Loyola University School of Law Faculty Research Fund. The usual dispensation 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.
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