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Article

Access_open Text-mining for Lawyers: How Machine Learning Techniques Can Advance our Understanding of Legal Discourse

Journal Erasmus Law Review, Issue 1 2021
Keywords text mining, machine learning, law, natural language processing
Authors Arthur Dyevre
AbstractAuthor's information

    Many questions facing legal scholars and practitioners can be answered only by analysing and interrogating large collections of legal documents: statutes, treaties, judicial decisions and law review articles. I survey a range of novel techniques in machine learning and natural language processing – including topic modelling, word embeddings and transfer learning – that can be applied to the large-scale investigation of legal texts


Arthur Dyevre
Arthur Dyevre is Professor at the KU Leuven Centre for Empirical Jurisprudence, Leuven, Belgium. arthur.dyevre@kuleuven.be.
Article

Access_open Teaching Technology to (Future) Lawyers

Journal Erasmus Law Review, Issue 1 2021
Keywords legal education, law and technology, legal analytics, technology education, technological literacy
Authors Mikołaj Barczentewicz
AbstractAuthor's information

    The article offers a reflection on how applications of computer technology (including data analytics) are and may be taught to (future) lawyers and what are the benefits and limitations of the different approaches. There is a growing sense among legal professionals and law teachers that the technological changes in the practice of law are likely to promote the kind of knowledge and skills that law graduates often do not possess today. Teaching computer technology can be done in various ways and at various depths, and those different ways and levels have different cost and benefit considerations. The article discusses four models of teaching technology: (1) teaching basic technological literacy, (2) more advanced but general technology teaching, (3) teaching computer programming and quantitative methods and (4) teaching a particular aspect of technology – other than programming (e.g. cybersecurity). I suggest that there are strong reasons for all current and future lawyers to acquire proficiency in effective uses of office and legal research software and standard means of online communication and basic cybersecurity. This can be combined with teaching of numerical and informational literacy. I also claim that advanced technology topics, like computer programming, should be taught only to the extent that this is justified by the direct need for such skills and knowledge in students’ future careers, which I predict to be true for only a minority of current lawyers and law students.


Mikołaj Barczentewicz
Mikołaj Barczentewicz is the Research Director, Surrey Law and Technology Hub, as well as Senior Lecturer (Associate Professor) in Law, University of Surrey School of Law. He is also a Research Associate of the University of Oxford Centre for Technology and Global Affairs.
Article

Access_open Big Data Ethics: A Life Cycle Perspective

Journal Erasmus Law Review, Issue 1 2021
Keywords big data, big data analysis, data life cycle, ethics, AI
Authors Simon Vydra, Andrei Poama, Sarah Giest e.a.
AbstractAuthor's information

    The adoption of big data analysis in the legal domain is a recent but growing trend that highlights ethical concerns not just with big data analysis, as such, but also with its deployment in the legal domain. This article systematically analyses five big data use cases from the legal domain utilising a pluralistic and pragmatic mode of ethical reasoning. In each case we analyse what happens with data from its creation to its eventual archival or deletion, for which we utilise the concept of ‘data life cycle’. Despite the exploratory nature of this article and some limitations of our approach, the systematic summary we deliver depicts the five cases in detail, reinforces the idea that ethically significant issues exist across the entire big data life cycle, and facilitates understanding of how various ethical considerations interact with one another throughout the big data life cycle. Furthermore, owing to its pragmatic and pluralist nature, the approach is potentially useful for practitioners aiming to interrogate big data use cases.


Simon Vydra
Simon Vydra is a Researcher at the Institute for Public Administration, Leiden University, the Netherlands.

Andrei Poama
Andrei Poama is Assistant Professor at the Institute for Public Administration, Leiden University, the Netherlands.

Sarah Giest
Sarah Giest is Assistant Professor at the Institute for Public Administration, Leiden University, the Netherlands.

Alex Ingrams
Alex Ingrams is Assistant Professor at the Institute for Public Administration, Leiden University, the Netherlands.

Bram Klievink
Bram Klievink is Professor of Digitization and Public Policy at the Institute for Public Administration, Leiden University, the Netherlands.
Article

Access_open Changes in the Medical Device’s Regulatory Framework and Its Impact on the Medical Device’s Industry: From the Medical Device Directives to the Medical Device Regulations

Journal Erasmus Law Review, Issue 2 2019
Keywords Medical Device Directive, Medical Device Regulation, regulatory, European Union, reform, innovation, SPCs, policy
Authors Magali Contardi
AbstractAuthor's information

    Similar to pharmaceutical products, medical devices play an increasingly important role in healthcare worldwide by contributing substantially to the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of diseases. From the patent law perspective both, pharmaceutical products and a medical apparatus, product or device can be patented if they meet the patentability requirements, which are novelty, inventiveness and entail industrial applicability. However, regulatory issues also impact on the whole cycle of the innovation. At a European level, enhancing competitiveness while ensuring public health and safety is one of the key objectives of the European Commission. This article undertakes literature review of the current and incoming regulatory framework governing medical devices with the aim of highlighting how these major changes would affect the industry at issue. The analysis is made in the framework of an on-going research work aimed to determine whether SPCs are needed for promoting innovation in the medical devices industry. A thorough analysis the aforementioned factors affecting medical device’s industry will allow the policymakers to understand the root cause of any optimal patent term and find appropriate solutions.


Magali Contardi
PhD candidate; Avvocato (Italian Attorney at Law).
Article

Access_open Waste Away

Examining Systemic Drivers of Global Waste Trafficking Based on a Comparative Analysis of Two Dutch Cases

Journal Erasmus Law Review, Issue 4 2019
Keywords environmental crime, waste industry, shipbreaking, waste trafficking, environmental enforcement
Authors Karin van Wingerde and Lieselot Bisschop
AbstractAuthor's information

    The increasing volume of waste generated globally is one of the most prominent environmental issues we face today. Companies responsible for the treatment or disposal of waste are therefore among the key actors in fostering a sustainable future. Yet the waste industry has often been characterised as a criminogenic one, causing environmental harm which disproportionately impacts the world’s most vulnerable regions and populations. In this article, we illustrate how companies operating in global supply chains exploit legal and enforcement asymmetries and market complexities to trade waste with countries where facilities for environmentally sound treatment and disposal of waste are lacking. We draw on two contemporary cases of corporate misconduct in the Global South by companies with operating headquarters in the Global North: Seatrade and Probo Koala. We compare these cases building on theories about corporate and environmental crime and its enforcement. This explorative comparative analysis aims to identify the key drivers and dynamics of illegal waste dumping, while also exploring innovative ways to make the waste sector more environmentally responsible and prevent the future externalisation of environmental harm.


Karin van Wingerde
Karin van Wingerde is Professor Corporate Crime and Governance, Department of Criminology, Erasmus School of Law, Erasmus University Rotterdam.

Lieselot Bisschop
Lieselot Bisschop is Professor Public and Private Interests, Department of Criminology and Erasmus Initiative on Dynamics of Inclusive Prosperity, Erasmus School of Law, Erasmus University Rotterdam.
Article

Access_open The Brussels International Business Court: Initial Overview and Analysis

Journal Erasmus Law Review, Issue 1 2019
Keywords international jurisdiction, English, court language, Belgium, business court
Authors Erik Peetermans and Philippe Lambrecht
AbstractAuthor's information

    In establishing the Brussels International Business Court (BIBC), Belgium is following an international trend to attract international business disputes to English-speaking state courts. The BIBC will be an autonomous business court with the competence to settle, in English, disputes between companies throughout Belgium. This article focuses on the BIBC’s constitutionality, composition, competence, proceedings and funding, providing a brief analysis and critical assessment of each of these points. At the time of writing, the Belgian Federal Parliament has not yet definitively passed the Bill establishing the BIBC, meaning that amendments are still possible.


Erik Peetermans
Erik Peetermans is a legal adviser at the Federation of Enterprises in Belgium (FEB).

Philippe Lambrecht
Philippe Lambrecht is the Director-Secretary General at the Federation of Enterprises in Belgium (FEB).
Article

Access_open The Emergence of International Commercial Courts in India: A Narrative for Ease of Doing Business?

Journal Erasmus Law Review, Issue 1 2019
Keywords Commercial contracts, Enforcement, Jurisdiction, Specialized courts, India
Authors Sai Ramani Garimella and M.Z. Ashraful
AbstractAuthor's information

    The liberal globalised order has brought increased focus on the regulation of international commerce, and especially dispute resolution. Enforcement of contracts has been a concern largely owing to the insufficiencies of the legal systems, especially relating to the institutional structure, and it holds true for India as well. The commercial courts mechanism – international and domestic – with innovative features aimed at providing expedited justice is witnessing much traction. India, similar to many other jurisdictions, legislated in favour of specialized dispute resolution mechanisms for commercial disputes that could help improve the procedures for enforcement of contracts. This research attempts to critique the comparable strengths and the reform spaces within the Indian legislation on commercial courts. It parses the status of commercial dispute resolution in India especially in the context of cross-border contracts and critiques India’s attempt to have specialised courts to address commercial dispute resolution.


Sai Ramani Garimella
Sai Ramani Garimella, PhD, is assistant professor of the faculty of legal studies at the South Asian University in New Delhi.

M.Z. Ashraful
M.Z. Ashraful is the research student at South Asian University in New Delhi.
Article

Access_open The Conduit between Technological Change and Regulation

Journal Erasmus Law Review, Issue 3 2018
Keywords technology, socio-technological change, money, windmill, data
Authors Marta Katarzyna Kołacz and Alberto Quintavalla
AbstractAuthor's information

    This article discusses how the law has approached disparate socio-technological innovations over the centuries. Precisely, the primary concern of this paper is to investigate the timing of regulatory intervention. To do so, the article makes a selection of particular innovations connected with money, windmills and data storage devices, and analyses them from a historical perspective. The individual insights from the selected innovations should yield a more systematic view on regulation and technological innovations. The result is that technological changes may be less momentous, from a regulatory standpoint, than social changes.


Marta Katarzyna Kołacz
Marta Katarzyna Kołacz, Ph.D. Candidate in the Department of Private Law, Erasmus School of Law, Erasmus University Rotterdam, The Netherlands.

Alberto Quintavalla
Alberto Quintavalla, LL.M., Ph.D. Candidate in the Rotterdam Institute of Law and Economics, Erasmus School of Law, Erasmus University Rotterdam, The Netherlands.
Article

Access_open Right to Access Information as a Collective-Based Approach to the GDPR’s Right to Explanation in European Law

Journal Erasmus Law Review, Issue 3 2018
Keywords automated decision-making, right to access information, right to explanation, prohibition on discrimination, public information
Authors Joanna Mazur
AbstractAuthor's information

    This article presents a perspective which focuses on the right to access information as a mean to ensure a non-discriminatory character of algorithms by providing an alternative to the right to explanation implemented in the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). I adopt the evidence-based assumption that automated decision-making technologies have an inherent discriminatory potential. The example of a regulatory means which to a certain extent addresses this problem is the approach based on privacy protection in regard to the right to explanation. The Articles 13-15 and 22 of the GDPR provide individual users with certain rights referring to the automated decision-making technologies. However, the right to explanation not only may have a very limited impact, but it also focuses on individuals thus overlooking potentially discriminated groups. Because of this, the article offers an alternative approach on the basis of the right to access information. It explores the possibility of using this right as a tool to receive information on the algorithms determining automated decision-making solutions. Tracking an evolution of the interpretation of Article 10 of the Convention for the Protection of Human Right and Fundamental Freedoms in the relevant case law aims to illustrate how the right to access information may become a collective-based approach towards the right to explanation. I consider both, the potential of this approach, such as its more collective character e.g. due to the unique role played by the media and NGOs in enforcing the right to access information, as well as its limitations.


Joanna Mazur
Joanna Mazur, M.A., PhD student, Faculty of Law and Administration, Uniwersytet Warszawski.
Article

Access_open Fostering Worker Cooperatives with Blockchain Technology: Lessons from the Colony Project

Journal Erasmus Law Review, Issue 3 2018
Keywords blockchain, collaborative economy, cooperative governance, decentralised governance, worker cooperatives
Authors Morshed Mannan
AbstractAuthor's information

    In recent years, there has been growing policy support for expanding worker ownership of businesses in the European Union. Debates on stimulating worker ownership are a regular feature of discussions on the collaborative economy and the future of work, given anxieties regarding the reconfiguration of the nature of work and the decline of standardised employment contracts. Yet, worker ownership, in the form of labour-managed firms such as worker cooperatives, remains marginal. This article explains the appeal of worker cooperatives and examines the reasons why they continue to be relatively scarce. Taking its cue from Henry Hansmann’s hypothesis that organisational innovations can make worker ownership of firms viable in previously untenable circumstances, this article explores how organisational innovations, such as those embodied in the capital and governance structure of Decentralised (Autonomous) Organisations (D(A)Os), can potentially facilitate the growth of LMFs. It does so by undertaking a case study of a blockchain project, Colony, which seeks to create decentralised, self-organising companies where decision-making power derives from high-quality work. For worker cooperatives, seeking to connect globally dispersed workers through an online workplace, Colony’s proposed capital and governance structure, based on technological and game theoretic insight may offer useful lessons. Drawing from this pre-figurative structure, self-imposed institutional rules may be deployed by worker cooperatives in their by-laws to avoid some of the main pitfalls associated with labour management and thereby, potentially, vitalise the formation of the cooperative form.


Morshed Mannan
Morshed Mannan, LLM (Adv.), PhD Candidate, Company Law Department, Institute of Private Law, Universiteit Leiden.
Article

Access_open Privatising Law Enforcement in Social Networks: A Comparative Model Analysis

Journal Erasmus Law Review, Issue 3 2018
Keywords user generated content, public and private responsibilities, intermediary liability, hate speech and fake news, protection of fundamental rights
Authors Katharina Kaesling
AbstractAuthor's information

    These days, it appears to be common ground that what is illegal and punishable offline must also be treated as such in online formats. However, the enforcement of laws in the field of hate speech and fake news in social networks faces a number of challenges. Public policy makers increasingly rely on the regu-lation of user generated online content through private entities, i.e. through social networks as intermediaries. With this privat-ization of law enforcement, state actors hand the delicate bal-ancing of (fundamental) rights concerned off to private entities. Different strategies complementing traditional law enforcement mechanisms in Europe will be juxtaposed and analysed with particular regard to their respective incentive structures and consequential dangers for the exercise of fundamental rights. Propositions for a recommendable model honouring both pri-vate and public responsibilities will be presented.


Katharina Kaesling
Katharina Kaesling, LL.M. Eur., is research coordinator at the Center for Advanced Study ‘Law as Culture’, University of Bonn.
Article

Access_open Empirical Legal Research in Europe: Prevalence, Obstacles, and Interventions

Journal Erasmus Law Review, Issue 2 2018
Keywords empirical legal research, Europe, popularity, increase, journals
Authors Gijs van Dijck, Shahar Sverdlov and Gabriela Buck
AbstractAuthor's information

    Empirical Legal research (ELR) has become well established in the United States, whereas its popularity in Europe is debatable. This article explores the popularity of ELR in Europe. The authors carried out an empirical analysis of 78 European-based law journals, encompassing issues from 2008-2017. The findings demonstrate that a supposed increase of ELR is questionable (at best).
    Moreover, additional findings highlight:

    • An increase for a few journals, with a small number of other journals showing a decrease over time;

    • A higher percentage of empirical articles for extra-legal journals than for legal journals (average proportion per journal is 4.6 percent for legal journals, 18.9 percent for extra-legal journals);

    • Criminal justice journals, environmental journals, and economically oriented journals being more likely to publish empirical articles than other journals;

    • More prestigious journals being more likely to publish empirical articles than less-prestigious journals;

    • Older journals being more likely to publish empirical work than younger journals, but not at an increasing rate;

    • Journals being legal/extra-legal, journals in a specific field, journal ranking, or the age of the journal not making it more (or less) likely that the journal will publish empirical articles at an increasing (or decreasing) rate.
      Considering the lack of convincing evidence indicating an increase of ELR, we identify reasons for why ELR is seemingly becoming more popular but not resulting in more empirical research in Europe. Additionally, we explore interventions for overcoming the obstacles ELR currently faces.


Gijs van Dijck
Professor of Private Law at Maastricht University, the Netherlands.

Shahar Sverdlov
Law student at the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, the Netherlands.

Gabriela Buck
Law student at Maastricht University, the Netherlands.

    Indigenous claims have challenged a number of orthodoxies within state legal systems, one of them being the kinds of proof that can be admissible. In Canada, the focus has been on the admissibility and weight of oral traditions and histories. However, these novel forms are usually taken as alternative means of proving a set of facts that are not in themselves “cultural”, for example, the occupation by a group of people of an area of land that constitutes Aboriginal title. On this view, maps are a neutral technology for representing culturally different interests within those areas. Through Indigenous land use studies, claimants have been able to deploy the powerful symbolic capital of cartography to challenge dominant assumptions about “empty” land and the kinds of uses to which it can be put. There is a risk, though, that Indigenous understandings of land are captured or misrepresented by this technology, and that what appears neutral is in fact deeply implicated in the colonial project and occidental ideas of property. This paper will explore the possibilities for an alternative cartography suggested by digital technologies, by Indigenous artists, and by maps beyond the visual order.


Kirsten Anker Ph.D.
Associate Professor, McGill University Faculty of Law, Canada. Many thanks to the two anonymous reviewers for their frank and helpful feedback.
Article

Access_open A World Apart? Private Investigations in the Corporate Sector

Journal Erasmus Law Review, Issue 4 2016
Keywords Corporate security, private investigations, private troubles, public/private differentiation
Authors Clarissa Meerts
AbstractAuthor's information

    This article explores the investigative methods used by corporate security within organisations concerned about property misappropriation by their own staff and/or others. The research methods are qualitative: interviews, observations and case studies carried out between October 2012 and November 2015. The findings include that, even though corporate investigators do not have the formal investigative powers enjoyed by police and other public agencies, they do have multiple methods of investigation at their disposal, some of which are less used by public investigative agencies, for example the in-depth investigation of internal systems. Corporate investigators also rely heavily on interviews, the investigation of documentation and financial administration and the investigation of communication devices and open sources. However, there are many additional sources of information (for example, site visits or observations), which might be available to corporate investigators. The influences from people from different backgrounds, most notably (forensic) accountants, (former) police officers, private investigators and lawyers, together with the creativity that is necessary (and possible) when working without formal investigative powers, make corporate security a diverse field. It is argued that these factors contribute to a differentiation between public and private actors in the field of corporate security.


Clarissa Meerts
Clarissa Meerts, MSc., is a PhD student at the Criminology Department of the Erasmus University Rotterdam.
Article

Access_open Cutting Corners or Enhancing Efficiency?

Simplified Procedures and the Israeli Quest to Speed up Justice

Journal Erasmus Law Review, Issue 4 2015
Keywords Israel, austerity, civil procedure, simplified procedures, small claims
Authors Ehud Brosh
AbstractAuthor's information

    Israel was spared the worst of the world financial crisis of 2008-2009. However, austerity concerns are by no means invisible in the developments in the field of civil procedure. These concerns correlate heavily with the long-standing Israeli preoccupation with ‘speeding up’ justice. An array of simplified procedural tracks, aimed at addressing the perceived inadequacy of ‘standard’ procedure, have been developed in Israel over the years. The importance of simplified procedures in the Israeli system cannot be overestimated. Their development illustrates the dialectical tension between the values of ‘efficiency’ and ‘quality’ in the administration of justice. During periods of austerity, the scales are easily (or easier) tipped in favour of efficiency and general or particular simplification of procedure. In times of prosperity, on the other hand, concerns over ‘quality’, access to justice, and truth discovery predominate, and attempts at promoting efficiency and/or simplification at their expense tend to be bogged down. Such attempts also tend to lose their extrinsic legitimacy and are widely viewed as ‘cutting corners’. This is evident in the recent Israeli experience with civil procedure reform.


Ehud Brosh
Ehud Brosh, LL.M., is a research student at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.
Article

Access_open Offer and Acceptance and the Dynamics of Negotiations: Arguments for Contract Theory from Negotiation Studies

Journal Erasmus Law Review, Issue 2 2013
Keywords Contract Formation, Offer and Acceptance, Negotiation, Precontractual, UNIDROIT Principles of International Commercial Contracts
Authors Ekaterina Pannebakker LL.M.
AbstractAuthor's information

    The doctrine of offer and acceptance forms the basis of the rules of contract formation in most western legal systems. However, if parties enter into elaborate negotiations, these rules may become difficult to apply. This paper addresses the application of the doctrine of offer and acceptance to the formation of contract in the context of negotiations. The paper argues that while the doctrine of offer and acceptance is designed to assess the issues related to the substance of the future eventual contract (the substantive constituent of negotiations), these issues overlap within the context of negotiations with the strategic and tactical behaviour of the negotiators (dynamic constituent of negotiations). Analysis of these two constituents can be found in negotiation studies, a field which has developed over the last decades. Using the rules of offer and acceptance of the UNIDROIT Principles of International Commercial Contracts as an example, this paper shows that the demarcation between the substantive and the dynamic constituents of negotiations can be used as the criterion to distinguish between, on the one hand, the documents and conduct forming a contract, and, on the other hand, other precontractual documents and conduct. Furthermore, the paper discusses the possibility of using the structure of negotiation described by negotiation studies as an additional tool in the usual analysis of facts in order to assess the existence of a contract and the moment of contract formation.


Ekaterina Pannebakker LL.M.
PhD candidate, Erasmus School of Law, Erasmus University Rotterdam. I thank Sanne Taekema and Xandra Kramer for their valuable comments on the draft of this article, and the peer reviewers for their suggestions. The usual disclaimer applies.
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