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Article

Methods and Materials in Constitutional Law

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

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

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


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

The Problems and Promises of a Legal Constitution

The Constitutional State and History

Journal European Journal of Law Reform, Issue 1 2011
Keywords constitutional state, legitimacy, progressive history, legal constitution, political constitution
Authors Davit Zedelashvili
AbstractAuthor's information

    Nowadays, in the West, especially on the European Continent, the legitimacy of the modern state is once again subject to multifarious challenges. Against this background, the article revives one of the most important, though often overlooked themes of the constitutional theory, the relevance of the concept of progressive history for the legitimacy of the constitutional state. It is suggested, that the reappearance of the progressive history brings the supposedly forgotten themes of the objectivist metaphysics, back into the constitutional theory. The conclusion points that, only the accounts of a legal constitution, which reject the connection with progressive history, have the potential to deal with the problematic consequences that the reemergence of the metaphysically charged concept of progressive history may entail, given the contemporary socio-political conditions, characterized by the value and ideological pluralism.


Davit Zedelashvili
SJD Candidate in Comparative Constitutional Law, Central European University, Budapest.
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

Judicial Activism

Usurpation of Parliament’s and Executive’s Legislative Functions, or a Quest for Justice and Social Transformation

Journal European Journal of Law Reform, Issue 2 2011
Keywords judicial activism, separation of powers, constitutional interpretation
Authors Reyneck Matemba
AbstractAuthor's information

    This article examines the concept of judicial activism in relation to the courts’ role of interpreting legislation, particularly focusing on the courts’ function of interpreting the Constitution. It specifically examines modes of constitutional interpretation obtaining in RSA and Nigeria, by focusing on selected judicial decisions by superior courts in the two countries. It also examines constitutional provisions governing the interpretation of the Constitution (Bill of Rights) and legislation as provided for in the Constitution of RSA and that of Nigeria. It also makes a comparative examination of judicial approaches to the interpretation of socio-economic rights enshrined in the Constitution of each of the two countries, specifically focusing on the rights to health and housing.The article observes that the concept of judicial activism is a necessary tool for attaining justice and achieving social transformation.


Reyneck Matemba
Reyneck Thokozani Matemba is a member of the Malawi Law Society and the Commonwealth Association of Legislative Counsel (CALC) and works as an Assistant Chief Legislative Counsel for the Ministry of Justice, Malawi.
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.
Article

Judicial Review

An Essential Tool for Curbing the Excesses and Abuse of Executive Action in Sierra Leone

Journal European Journal of Law Reform, Issue 2 2011
Keywords delegated legislation, administrative law, judicial review
Authors Kadija Kabba
AbstractAuthor's information

    This essay examines judicial review in executive/administrative action as an essential tool for curbing the excesses and abuse of delegated legislative powers in Sierra Leone based on the valid assumption that there is a system of administrative law due to a developed system of judicial review in Sierra Leone. To examine and establish the facts, focus is laid on judicial review of administrative/ executive action and not on judicial review of primary legislation.This article first and foremost tried to establish that, the practice of delegated legislation from which judicial review ensues is a necessity in any given democratic society.This piece of work in trying to establish its facts, put forward arguments by scholars and writers in support and against the use of judicial review as an essential tool to curb the abuse and excesses of executive’s action. This is juxtaposed in conjunction with cases laws from Sierra Leone dealing with judicial review.The irrefutable fact this article tried to illustrate is that judicial review is important in any society in curtailing the excesses and abuse of executive actions.


Kadija Kabba
Kadija Kabba is a Legal Officer and Legislative Drafter at the Central Bank of Sierra Leone. She holds an LLM form the Universitty of London, A MPhil from the University of Tromsee, Norway, a LLB and BA Degrees from the University of Sierra Leone. She is also a qualified barrister and Socilitor of the High Court of Sierra Leone.

    International commercial law as a body of law that governs international sale transactions has a bright future in the East African Community (EAC) region. As long as international trade is growing so does the relevancy of international commercial law. As a Regional Economic Community, the EAC continues to facilitate trade arrangements between its Partner States to enable them to benefit from greater access to each other’s markets. Regional trade initiatives and economic integration as espoused by the EAC are no doubt integral to international commercial law through their impact on commercial transactions. In particular, the creation of an economic and monetary union is bound to advance international commercial law.This paper posits, therefore, that international commercial law has a favourable future in EAC, and indeed there are many developments that have been embarked on by the EAC to boost its relevancy. As will be illustrated in the paper, key among these developments is the holistic integration approach that has been embraced by the EAC. Commencing with a Customs Union, integration in the EAC has moved to a Common Market, is heading to a Monetary Union, and is ultimately bound to crystallize into a Political Federation. The paper shows that such an ambitious integration process poses both potential opportunities and limitations on the future of international commercial law. The paper highlights what the EAC is doing to harmonise its commercial laws to attain a common investment area and an effective functioning common market. It also explores the implications of this effort on the future of international commercial law and suggests proposals on the way forward.


Stephen Agaba
Principle Legal Officer, East African Community (EAC).
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.

    Conflicts of jurisdiction between a state court and an arbitral tribunal occur in two different scenarios: (a) claimant X institutes a court action and the defendant subsequently commences with arbitration or requests to be referred to arbitration (as envisaged by the 1958 New York Convention on the Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards – NYC); and (b) claimant X commences arbitration and the defendant subsequently challenges in a national court. X should be able to seek a stay of the parallel litigation on the ground of the existence of a valid agreement to arbitrate the dispute, but the duty on the part of South African courts to do so is not clearly legislated, nor is it as well-understood as it deserves to be. Various interests have fallen into disharmony in this area of the law.


Christa Roodt
Doctor of Laws (University of Orange Free State), LL.M (University of South Africa), LL.B. (University of Pretoria).
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