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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 Suprema Lex of Malta

A Forgotten Law in Legislative Drafting, Statutory Interpretation and Law Making?

Journal European Journal of Law Reform, Issue 4 2018
Keywords Maltese Law, legislative drafting, statutory interpretation, law making, supreme law
Authors Kevin Aquilina
AbstractAuthor's information

    Although the Constitution of Malta is the supreme law of the land, yet, in practice, the three principal organs of the state – the legislature, executive and judiciary – have, in certain respects exemplified in this article, tended to close their eyes to the provisions of the supreme law of the land to such an extent that legislation, government action and judicial pronouncements have breached the basic law. Without attempting to be all-inclusive, the article discusses a few illustrations where this has been the case and reflects upon this institutional behaviour where the Constitution is not upheld as the supreme law of Malta but is instead derided and disparaged. Consequently, fundamental principles of state governance such as the tenets of a democratic society and the rule of law end up being threatened and imperilled by those same institutions which are called upon to respect them. Nevertheless, the Constitution proclaims itself supreme over any other law and the organs it establishes, including the three principal organs of the state which are assaulting it, and embodies within its fold the rule of law which at the current state of play is passing through a critical phase in the state of Malta.


Kevin Aquilina
Professor Kevin Aquilina is Dean of the Faculty of Laws at the University of Malta.
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.
Article

Federalization through Rights in the EU

A Legal Opportunities Approach

Journal European Journal of Law Reform, Issue 2-3 2018
Keywords EU Charter of Fundamental Rights, Federalization, Integration, Legal change, Legal opportunities, Litigation, Scope of application
Authors Marie-Pierre Granger
AbstractAuthor's information

    While academic contributions abound on the reach and impact of the European Union (EU) system of fundamental rights protection, and notably on the desirability of a more or less extensive control of Member States’ actions in light of the rights protected by the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights, there have been few attempts to explain the dynamics of integration-through-rights in the EU. This article proposes an explanatory framework inspired by a legal opportunities approach, which emphasizes the relevance of national and EU legal opportunities, and interactions between them, in determining the actual scope and pace of federalization through rights in the EU. It suggests that the weaker the legal opportunities for fundamental rights protection are at the domestic level, the greater the federalizing pressure is, and call for more empirical comparative studies to test this framework out.


Marie-Pierre Granger
Associate Professor, Central European University, Budapest. The development of the conceptual framework proposed in this article was inspired by empirical studies on France and Hungary carried out within the EU-funded project ‘bEUcitizen: barriers towards EU Citizenship’ under the FP7 programme (Grant agreement 320294). 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

The Architecture of American Rights Protections

Texts, Concepts and Institutions

Journal European Journal of Law Reform, Issue 2-3 2018
Keywords American constitutional development, American legal history, Architecture, Bill of Rights, Congress, constitutional interpretation, constitutionalism, discrimination, due process, equal protection, equality, institutions, statutes, U.S. Constitution, 14th Amendment
Authors Howard Schweber
AbstractAuthor's information

    This article examines the architecture of American rights protections. The term ‘architecture’ is used to convey the sense of a structure system with points of entry, channels of proceeding, and different end points. This structural understanding is applied to the historical development of national rights protections in the United States in three senses: textual, conceptual and institutional. The development of these three structured systems – architectures – of rights reveals dimensions of the strengths, limitations and distinctive character of the American rights protections in theory and in practice.


Howard Schweber
Professor of Political Science and affiliate faculty member of the Law School, Legal Studies, and Integrated Liberal Studies at University of Wisconsin-Madison. 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

Rights in the Australian Federation

Journal European Journal of Law Reform, Issue 2-3 2018
Keywords Australian Constitution, bill of rights, constitutional rights, democracy, federalism, freedom of interstate trade, freedom of religion, implied rights, judicial independence, property rights, right to trial by jury, separation of powers
Authors Nicholas Aroney and James Stellios
AbstractAuthor's information

    The Australian Constitution is unique among constitutional instruments. It was primarily designed to federate self-governing British colonies within the British constitutional tradition and to establish institutions of federal government. As such, the constitutional instrument does not contain an entrenched bill of rights. Yet Australia has been a stable federal democracy since its establishment in 1901 and, by international standards, it is consistently assessed as maintaining high levels of personal freedom, political rights, civil liberties and the rule of law. This article considers the place of rights in the Australian federation against Australian constitutional history and its constitutional context.


Nicholas Aroney
Nicholas Aroney is Professor of Constitutional Law, The University of Queensland. The support of Australian Research Council grant FT100100469 is gratefully acknowledged. Thanks are also due to Terry East for his very capable research assistance. James Stellios is Professor, Law School, Australian National University. Part of this article benefited from the Australian Research Council’s Discovery Projects funding scheme: DP140101218. Part of this article benefited from the Australian Research Council’s Discovery Projects funding scheme: DP140101218. 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.

James Stellios
Article

The Harmonization Potential of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union

Journal European Journal of Law Reform, Issue 2-3 2018
Keywords application of EU law, Article 51 of the Charter, Charter of Fundamental Rights of the EU, Court of Justice, jurisdiction of the Court of Justice, market freedoms, spontaneous harmonization
Authors Filippo Fontanelli and Amedeo Arena
AbstractAuthor's information

    This article discusses two underrated and connected aspects that determine the applicability of the EU Charter on Fundamental Rights to Member State measures. First, the Charter can be a decisive standard of review for domestic measures only when they are covered by EU law but are not precluded by it. In this respect, the distinction between non-preclusion and non-application of EU law has been overlooked by legal scholarship. Second, because the scope of application of EU law and that of the Charter are identical, the latter suffers from the same uncertainties as the former. This article concludes that the entry into force of the Charter has exposed the blurred contours of the application of EU law, in particular in the area of the market freedoms. As a result, a certain spontaneous harmonization of human rights protection has emerged.


Filippo Fontanelli
Respectively, Senior Lecturer in International Economic Law, University of Edinburgh; and Associate Professor, Università degli Studi di Napoli ‘Federico II’. The work is the outcome of both authors’collaboration. Amedeo Arena drafted sections A to C, Filippo Fontanelli drafted sections D to G.

Amedeo Arena
A previous version of this work appeared in M. Andenas, T. Bekkedal & L. Pantaleo (Eds.), The Reach of Free Movement, Springer, TMC Asser Press, 2017, p. 293-312. 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.
Editorial

The EU Bill of Rights’ Diagonal Application to Member States

Comparative Perspectives of Europe’s Human Rights Deficit

Journal European Journal of Law Reform, Issue 2-3 2018
Authors Csongor István Nagy
Author's information

Csongor István Nagy
Professor of law and head of the Department of Private International Law at the University of Szeged, research chair and the head of the Federal Markets ‘Momentum’ Research Group of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences and an attorney-at-law admitted to the Budapest Bar. He serves as a recurrent visiting Professor at the Central European University (Budapest/New York), the Riga Graduate School of Law (Latvia) and the Sapientia University of Transylvania (Romania). 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

The Sovereign Strikes Back

A Judicial Perspective on Multi-Layered Constitutionalism in Europe

Journal European Journal of Law Reform, Issue 2-3 2018
Keywords Constitutional identity, constitutionalism, fragmentation, globalization, multilayered constitution, sovereignty, trust
Authors Renáta Uitz and András Sajó
AbstractAuthor's information

    The supranational web of public law is often described as a new constitutionalism. It emerged in a globalized world together with global markets. In the course of the multilayered constitutional experiment, the old, national constitutional framework had lost its ability to deliver on the key features associated with constitutionalism: limiting the exercise of political powers and preventing the arbitrary exercise thereof. In the multilayered era it has become difficult to pinpoint the centre of authority. Ultimately, someone needs to govern, if not for other reasons, at least to avoid chaos. Is it possible to have the guarantees of freedom, rule of law and efficiency that a constitutional democracy seems to provide in a system where there is no sovereign with authority?


Renáta Uitz
Renáta Uitz is Professor, Chair of the Comparative Constitutional Law Program, Department of Legal Studies, Central European University, Budapest.

András Sajó
András Sajo is University Professor, Central European University, Budapest. 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

Access_open The Application of European Constitutional Values in EU Member States

The Case of the Fundamental Law of Hungary

Journal European Journal of Law Reform, Issue 2-3 2018
Keywords Article 2 and 7 TEU, democratic backsliding, Hungary, infringement procedure, rule-of-law mechanism
Authors Gábor Halmai
AbstractAuthor's information

    This article deals with the backsliding of liberal democracy in Hungary, after 2010, and also with the ways in which the European Union (EU) has coped with the deviations from the shared values of rule of law and democracy in one of its Member States. The article argues that during the fight over the compliance with the core values of the EU pronounced in Article 2 TEU with the Hungarian government, the EU institutions so far have proven incapable of enforcing compliance, which has considerably undermined not only the legitimacy of the Commission but also that of the entire rule-of-law oversight.


Gábor Halmai
Professor and Chair of Comparative Constitutional Law, European University Institute, Department of Law, Florence. 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

Incorporation Doctrine’s Federalism Costs

A Cautionary Note for the European Union

Journal European Journal of Law Reform, Issue 2-3 2018
Keywords Bill of Rights, Charter of Fundamental Rights, diversity of human flourishing, federalism, incorporation, individual liberty, jurisdictional competition
Authors Lee J. Strang
AbstractAuthor's information

    In this article, I first briefly describe the U.S. Supreme Court’s decades-long process of incorporating the federal Bill of Rights against the states. Second, I argue that incorporation of the Bill of Rights has come with significant costs to federalism in the United States. Third, I suggest that the American experience provides a cautionary note for the European Union as it grapples with the question of whether and to what extent to apply the Charter of Fundamental Rights to its constituent nations. I end by identifying options available to the European Union to avoid at least some of this harm to federalism while, at the same time, securing some of the benefit that might be occasioned by incorporating the Charter.


Lee J. Strang
John W. Stoepler Professor of Law and Values, University of Toledo College of Law. Thank you to Csongor Istvan Nagy for organizing and hosting this conference, and to the conference participants for their thoughtful comments and criticisms. Thank you as well to Michael Stahl for his valuable research assistance. 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

Promoting Legislative Objectives Throughout Diverse Sub-National Jurisdictions

Journal European Journal of Law Reform, Issue 1 2018
Keywords devolution, informal jurisdiction, rule of law, disparate impacts, participatory problem-solving, intransitive law, legislative standardization
Authors Lorna Seitz
AbstractAuthor's information

    This article outlines an approach, derived from Ann and Robert Seidman’s Institutionalist Legislative Drafting Theory and Methodology (ILTAM), for drafting laws and developing implementing policies and programmes to realize legislative objectives and promote necessary behavioural change throughout a jurisdiction despite significant sub-jurisdictional socio-economic differences. ILTAM can serve as a powerful tool for catalysing the development of situationally appropriate programmes to initiate and sustain behavioural change in furtherance of legislative objectives. The article begins by discussing the movement towards legislative standardization, and its benefits and failings. It then introduces the concept of informal jurisdictions, and highlights modifications to ILTAM that improve the methodology’s efficacy in devising solutions that work in those jurisdictions. The article then describes the power of intransitive law as a mechanism for catalysing progress towards shared objectives in a manner that allows for localized approaches, promotes governmental responsiveness, brings innovation, and maximizes participatory governance. Lastly, it describes the importance that Ann and Robert Seidman placed on institutionalizing on-going monitoring, evaluation and learning processes; and describes how intransitive drafting techniques can focus implementation on motivating behavioural change while systematically identifying needed policy and law reforms in response to suboptimal legislative outcomes.


Lorna Seitz
The Legis Institute. Seitz earned her JD from Boston University (BU), where she served as Editor-in-Chief of Professor Seidman’s Legislative Clinics. After graduating, Seitz served as the Director of the BU/ICLAD Legislative Distance Drafting Program for several years, taught in the BU Legislative Clinics (and overseas) alongside Professor Seidman, and served as principal for the International Consortium for Law and Development (a non-profit co-founded by the Seidmans) from 2004-2014. Seitz co-founded The Legis Institute to realize the combined potential of ILTAM and 21st Century technology to overcome barriers to inclusive, responsive, evidence-based policy and law development and governance.
Article

From Legal Imposition to Legal Invitation

From Transplants to Mutual Learning, Benchmarks and Best-Practice-Inspiration

Journal European Journal of Law Reform, Issue 1 2018
Keywords legal transplants, comparative constitutional law, endurance of constitutions, transposition of EU directives, Councils for the Judiciary
Authors Wim J.M. Voermans
AbstractAuthor's information

    Ever since Alan Watson published his thought-provoking book on legal transplant, legal scholars seem to have imported their own ‘do-institutions-matter’ debate. Strong positions have been taken in the debate on the possibility of legal transplants. Some deem context-free legal transplants impossible or at least unwarranted, whereas others rally for a more liberal stance. Bob and Ann Seidman were always working at the heart of this most topical, scholarly debate – one of the most interesting debates on the crossroads of law and (political) societies in our age of globalization. This article tries to get at the heart of the debate on legal transplants, which is rooted in the immediate wake of decolonization and the ideological strife during the Cold War. Since then the world has changed dramatically. We now live in the age of globalization and possibilities for mass communication, information sharing and cooperation in ways unfathomable 40 years ago. This has undoubtedly had an impact on how jurisdictions learn and borrow legal concepts, rules and solutions from one another. Have these new developments and experiences outdated the legal-transplant debate or is it still relevant? The article argues that Bob and Ann Seidman’s position in the debate is still very relevant for present-day practices of legal borrowing and legal transplants. Key to this is their notion of contextual legal-legitimacy.


Wim J.M. Voermans
Wim Voermans is professor of Constitutional and Administrative Law at Leiden University, Director of the Institute of Public Law at Leiden Law School and vice-President of the International Association for Legislation (IAL).
Article

The Reliability of Evidence in Evidence-Based Legislation

Journal European Journal of Law Reform, Issue 1 2018
Keywords evidence-based legislation, Institutional Legislative Theory and Methodology (ILTAM), reliable evidence, Professor Robert Seidman
Authors Sean J. Kealy and Alex Forney
AbstractAuthor's information

    As evidence-based legislation develops, and as technology puts more information at our fingertips, there should be a better understanding of what exactly constitutes reliable evidence. Robert and Ann Seidman devoted their professional careers to developing the evidence-based Institutional Legislative Theory and Methodology and teaching it to legislative drafters around the world. Although ILTAM was firmly grounded in – and driven by – evidence, the question becomes what evidence is reliable and a worthy input for the methodology. Further, how can the drafter avoid the misuses of evidence such as confirmation bias and naïve beliefs? We aim to give a guide for using evidence by offering examples of evidence-based legislation in practice and through a proposed hierarchy of evidence from most to least reliable:

    1. Experiments within the jurisdiction / lessons from other jurisdictions.

    2. Information on a topic or issue that was formally requested by the legislature or produced to the legislature under oath or under the penalties of perjury.

    3. Studies / information provided by a government agency.

    4. Expert or scientific studies.

    5. Economic or mathematical models and statistics.

    6. Information provided by special interests.

    7. Stories, apocrypha and uncorroborated tales.


    We hope that this hierarchy provides a starting point for discussion to refine and improve evidence-based legislation.


Sean J. Kealy
Sean J. Kealy is a Clinical Associate Professor of Law, Director of the Legislative Clinics, Boston University School of Law. This article expands upon a concept that he first wrote about in Designing Legislation (APKN, 2011). Professor Kealy wishes to thank Professor Richard Briffault, Joseph P. Chamberlain Professor of Legislation at Columbia Law School, and Professor William W. Buzbee, Georgetown Law School, for reading and commenting on this article at the American Association of Law Schools 2017 Conference.

Alex Forney
Alex Forney earned his Juris Doctor, Boston University School of Law, 2016.
Article

Implementing Agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development in Africa

Is It Time to Shift the Paradigm on Law and Development?

Journal European Journal of Law Reform, Issue 1 2018
Keywords Agenda 2030, Law and Development, Sustainable Development Goals, Rule of Law, Professor Robert Seidman, Institutionalist Legislative Theory and Methodology, Goal 16, Jurisprudence of Development
Authors Elizabeth Bakibinga-Gaswaga
AbstractAuthor's information

    This article discusses the relevance of Law and Development theories to the successful implementation or attainment of goals set out in Agenda 2030 in Africa. It zeros in on Sustainable Development Goal 16 and the role of rule of law to development. This article focuses on the work of the Law and Development movement and highlights the contribution of Prof. Robert Seidman to law and development for decades in newly independent African states. It examines the application of the Institutionalist Legislative Theory and Methodology, including the strengths and flaws, and makes recommendations on relevant lessons for rule of law practitioners, especially in terms of developing institutions and legal frameworks, promoting law and development research and building capacity through legal education. While this article does not provide recommendations on the best law and development model or theory, it raises some pertinent issues and makes practical recommendations on the way forward in the short to medium term.


Elizabeth Bakibinga-Gaswaga
Legal Adviser on the rule of law at The Commonwealth Secretariat. Former Vice President of Commonwealth Association of Legislative Counsel (CALC).
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