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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 Putting the Dutch Child Labour Due Diligence Act into Perspective

An Assessment of the CLDD Act’s Legal and Policy Relevance in the Netherlands and Beyond

Journal Erasmus Law Review, Issue 4 2019
Keywords Mandatory Due Diligence, Responsible Business Conduct, Child Labour Due Diligence Act
Authors Liesbeth Enneking
AbstractAuthor's information

    In May 2019, the Dutch senate adopted a private member’s bill introducing a due diligence obligation for companies bringing goods or services onto the Dutch market with respect to the use of child labour in their supply chains. The aim of this article is to place this Child Labour Due Diligence (CLDD) Act in the national and international legal context and to discuss its relevance for the broader debate on international responsible business conduct (IRBC) in global value chains. The article shows that the CLDD Act introduces a due diligence obligation in this context that is new to Dutch law, as is the public law supervisor that is to be tasked with its enforcement. However, it does nothing to broaden the possibilities for access to remedies for victims of child labour beyond those already in existence. The article also shows that when compared with 2017 the French Duty of Vigilance Law, which is the only other mandatory due diligence law to have been adopted so far, the CLDD Act stands out in several respects. It is overshadowed, however, by the European parliament’s recent adoption of an ambitious outline for a future EU due diligence directive. Nonetheless, in view of the fact that it remains unclear for now whether the future EU directive on this topic will display the same level of ambition as the current proposal, the CLDD Act will remain relevant from an international perspective also for some time to come.


Liesbeth Enneking
Liesbeth Enneking is Professor of Legal Aspects of International Corporate Social Responsibility at Erasmus School of Law, Erasmus University Rotterdam.
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 Consumer Social Responsibility in Dutch Law

A Case Study on the Role of Consumers in Energy Transition

Journal Erasmus Law Review, Issue 4 2019
Keywords consumer, energy transition, social responsibility, Dutch law, EU law
Authors Katalin Cseres
AbstractAuthor's information

    As our economies continue to focus on growth, competition and maximisation of consumer choice, the global increase in consumption takes vast environmental and social costs and cause irreversible harm to our climate and environment. The urgency of reducing human footprint and to diminish one of the root causes of a declining climate and environment is irrefutable. In the shift that globally has to take place, a decentralised energy system relying on more distributed generation, energy storage and a more active involvement of consumers form a crucial component of renewable energy solutions. The move from a highly centralised to a more decentralised power system involves an increasing amount of small-scale (intermittent) generation from renewable energy which is located closer to the point of final consumption. In order to steer consumption towards sustainability national governments and supranational organisations have adopted policies and corresponding legislation that address individual consumers as rational and active choice-makers who make socially responsible choices when they receive the ‘right’ amount of information. By relying on insights from modern consumption theories with contributions from sociology, this article questions the effectiveness and legitimacy of these ‘consumer-centred’ policies and laws. First, the article argues that the single focus on individual consumer behaviour as a rational and utility maximising market actor fails to take into account the complexity of consumption, which is fundamentally influenced by social norms and its broader institutional setting. Although consumers are willing to consume more sustainably, they are often ‘locked in by circumstances’ and unable to engage in more sustainable consumption practices even if they want to. Second, by relying on evidence from sociological studies the article argues that individual consumers are not the most salient actors in support of sustainable consumption. Even though the urgency of the energy transition and the critical role consumers play in (un)sustainable energy consumption is acknowledged in both the EU and its Member States, their laws and policies remain grounded on goals of economic growth with competitive economies, the sovereignty of consumer choice and wealth maximisation, instead of aiming at slower economic growth or even degrowth, reducing overall resource use and consumption levels and introducing radically different ways of consumption.
    Third, the role of law is underlined as a social institution both as a constraint on the autonomous acts of consumption, dictating the normative frameworks within which the role of consumer is defined, and as a facilitator which consumers might also employ, in order to determine for themselves particular normative parameters within which consumption can occur.
    The Netherlands, which serves as a case study in this article, has reached important milestones in its energy transition policy since 2013. Still, it remains strongly focused on economic rationality and market competitiveness. Even though various models of consumer participation exist and local consumer energy initiatives are flourishing and are recognised as key actors in the energy transition, they remain embedded in institutional, structural and behavioural settings where consumers still face challenging sociocultural barriers to sustainable practices.
    In light of these legal, political and social complexity of energy transition, the article offers a critical analysis of the current Dutch law in its broader legal context of EU law in order to answer the question what the role of (energy) law is in steering consumers towards sustainable energy consumption.


Katalin Cseres
Katalin Cseres is Associate Professor of Law, Amsterdam Centre for European Law & Governance (ACELG), University of Amsterdam.

Sir Geoffrey Vos
Chancellor of the High Court of England and Wales.

    In this paper I propose to analyse the binary notion of personal data and highlight its limits, in order to propose a different conception of personal data. From a risk regulation perspective, the binary notion of personal data is not particularly fit for purpose, considering that data collection and information flows are tremendously big and complex. As a result, the use of a binary system to determine the applicability of EU data protection law may be a simplistic approach. In an effort of bringing physics and law together, certain principles elaborated within the quantum theory are surprisingly applicable to data protection law, and can be used as guidance to shed light on many of today’s data complexities. Lastly, I will discuss the implications and the effects that certain processing operations may have on the possibility of qualifying certain data as personal. In other terms, how the chances to identify certain data as personal is dependent upon the processing operations that a data controller might put in place.


Alessandro El Khoury
Alessandro El Khoury, LLM, Legal and Policy Officer, DG Health & Food Safety, European Commission.

    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 Evaluating BEPS

Journal Erasmus Law Review, Issue 1 2017
Keywords tax avoidance, tax evasion, benefits principle
Authors Reuven S. Avi-Yonah and Haiyan Xu
AbstractAuthor's information

    This article evaluates the recently completed Base Erosion and Profit Shifting (BEPS) project of the G20 and OECD and offers some alternatives for reform.


Reuven S. Avi-Yonah
Reuven Avi-Yonah is Irwin I. Cohn Professor of Law, the University of Michigan.

Haiyan Xu
Haiyan Xu is Professor of Law, University of International Business & Economics, Beijing; SJD candidate, the University of Michigan.

    The article takes as its point of departure some of the author’s multidisciplinary projects. Special attention is given to the question of whether the disciplines united in the various research team members already constituted a kind of ‘inter-discipline’, through which a single object was studied. The issue of how the disciplinary orientations of the research team members occasionally clashed, on methodological issues, is also addressed.
    The outcomes of these and similar multidisciplinary research projects are followed back into legal practice and academic legal scholarship to uncover whether an incorporation problem indeed exists. Here, special attention will be given to policy recommendations and notably proposals for new legislation. After all, according to Van Dijck et al., the typical role model for legal researchers working from an internal perspective on the law is the legislator.
    The author concludes by making a somewhat bold case for reverse incorporation, that is, the need for (traditional) academic legal research to become an integral part of a more encompassing (inter-)discipline, referred to here as ‘conflict management studies’. Key factors that will contribute to the rise of such a broad (inter-)discipline are the changes that currently permeate legal practice (the target audience of traditional legal research) and the changes in the overall financing of academic research itself (with special reference to the Netherlands).


Annie de Roo
Erasmus School of Law, Erasmus University Rotterdam.
Article

Access_open On Fragments and Geometry

The International Legal Order as Metaphor and How It Matters

Journal Erasmus Law Review, Issue 1 2013
Keywords international law, fragmentation, archaeology, Foucault, geometry
Authors Nikolas M. Rajkovic
AbstractAuthor's information

    This article engages the narrative of fragmentation in international law by asserting that legal academics and professionals have failed to probe more deeply into ‘fragmentation’ as a concept and, more specifically, as a spatial metaphor. The contention here is that however central fragmentation has been to analyses of contemporary international law, this notion has been conceptually assumed, ahistorically accepted and philosophically under-examined. The ‘fragment’ metaphor is tied historically to a cartographic rationality – and thus ‘reality’ – of all social space being reducible to a geometric object and, correspondingly, a planimetric map. The purpose of this article is to generate an appreciation among international lawyers that the problem of ‘fragmentation’ is more deeply rooted in epistemology and conceptual history. This requires an explanation of how the conflation of social space with planimetric reduction came to be constructed historically and used politically, and how that model informs representations of legal practices and perceptions of ‘international legal order’ as an inherently absolute and geometric. This implies the need to dig up and expose background assumptions that have been working to precondition a ‘fragmented’ characterization of worldly space. With the metaphor of ‘digging’ in mind, I draw upon Michel Foucault’s ‘archaeology of knowledge’ and, specifically, his assertion that epochal ideas are grounded by layers of ‘obscure knowledge’ that initially seem unrelated to a discourse. In the case of the fragmentation narrative, I argue obscure but key layers can be found in the Cartesian paradigm of space as a geometric object and the modern States’ imperative to assert (geographic) jurisdiction. To support this claim, I attempt to excavate the fragment metaphor by discussing key developments that led to the production and projection of geometric and planimetric reality since the 16th century.


Nikolas M. Rajkovic
Lecturer in International Law at the University of Kent Law School. Contact: n.rajkovic@kent.ac.uk. The research for this article was supported by a Jean Monnet Fellowship from the Global Governance Programme of the Robert Schuman Centre for Advanced Studies, European University Institute. Further support was given for the presentation and discussion of earlier drafts by COST Action IS1003 “International Law between Constitutionalization and Fragmentation”, the Institute for Global Law and Policy of the Harvard Law School, the Kent Law School and the International Studies Association (San Francisco Annual Convention). I am indebted to the helpful feedback of Tanja Aalberts, Katja Freistein, Alexis Galan, Harry Gould, Outi Korhonen, Philipe Liste, Nicholas Onuf, Kerry Rittich, Harm Schepel, Anna Sobczak, Peter Szigeti, Wouter Werner and the two anonymous reviewers.
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