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Article

Access_open Imagining the Rule of Law in Nineteenth-Century Britain: Liberal Society and the Dialectic of the Clan

Journal Erasmus Law Review, Issue 3/4 2013
Keywords clan, rule of law, Albert Venn Dicey, Walter Scott, legal memory
Authors Dr. Mark S. Weiner
AbstractAuthor's information

    In this essay, I provide a historical and theoretical framework for understanding the imaginative relation between the liberal rule of law and the kin-based form of socio-legal organization I call ‘the rule of the clan’ – a classic example of law created ‘from below’. Specifically, I believe that a culturalist disciplinary perspective reveals that the modern liberal state and its more centralized rule of law always stand in an ironic, dialectical relation to the rule of the clan as a legal form. Liberal society, that is, nurtures itself through an anti-liberal utopian imaginary. This article provides an intellectual history backdrop for theorizing that dialectical relationship by examining two contrasting ways in which nineteenth-cen‍tu‍ry British intellectuals imagined the rule of law. Following the work of Charles Taylor and, more specifically in the legal field, Paul Kahn, my goal is to depict a social imaginary of modern liberalism that has been neglected within contemporary liberal theory – and, in doing so, pro‍vi‍de a way to appreciate the cultural foundations of liberal legality. The article considers the stories that nineteenth-century British intellectuals told about the relation between the rule of law and the rule of the clan as a way to think about the rule of law today. It thus tacks between three different shores: the world of legal pluralism (the rule of the clan), the world of nineteenth-cen‍tu‍ry British analysis of the rule of the clan and the contemporary relation between culture and modern liberal society.


Dr. Mark S. Weiner
Mark S. Weiner is author of Black Trials: Citizenship from the Beginnings of Slavery to the End of Caste (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2004), recipient of the Silver Gavel Award of the American Bar Association, and Americans without Law: The Racial Boundaries of Citizenship (New York: New York University Press, 2006), winner of the President’s Book Award of the Social Science History Association. He received an A.B. in American Studies from Stanford University; a Ph.D. in American Studies from Yale University; and a J.D. from Yale Law School. He blogs at Worlds of Law (www.worldsoflaw.com).
Article

Access_open A Turn to Legal Pluralism in Rule of Law Promotion?

Journal Erasmus Law Review, Issue 3/4 2013
Keywords legal pluralism, rule of law promotion, legal reform, customary law, non-state legal systems, donor policy
Authors Dr.mr Ronald Janse
AbstractAuthor's information

    Over the past 25 years, international organizations, NGOs and (mostly Western) states have spent considerable energy and resources on strengthening and reforming legal systems in developing countries. The results of these efforts have generally been disappointing, despite occasional successes. Among donors, one of most popular explanations of this failure in recent years is that rule of law promotion has wrongly focused almost exclusively on strengthening the formal legal system. Donors have therefore decided to 'engage' with informal justice systems. The turn to legal plu‍ra‍lism is to be welcomed for various reasons. But it is also surprising and worrisome. It is surprising because legal pluralism in developing countries was a fact of life before rule of law promotion began. What made donors pursuing legal reform blind to this reality for so long? It is worrisome because it is not self-evident that the factors which have contributed to such cognitive blindness have disappeared overnight. Are donors really ready to refocus their efforts on legal pluralism and 'engage' with informal justice systems? This paper, which is based on a review of the literature on donor engamenet with legal pluralism in so-called conflict affected and fragile states, is about these questions. It argues that 7 factors have been responsible for donor blindness regarding legal pluralism. It questions whether these factors have been addressed.


Dr.mr Ronald Janse
Ronald Janse is Associate Professor of Law, University of Amsterdam, The Netherlands.
Article

Access_open Unity in Multiplicity: Shared Cultural Understandings on Marital Life in a Damascus Catholic and Muslim Court

Journal Erasmus Law Review, Issue 3/4 2013
Keywords Syria, personal status law, Eastern Catholic law, patriarchal family, marital obligations
Authors Esther Van Eijk Ph.D.
AbstractAuthor's information

    Family relations in Syria are governed by a plurality of personal status laws and courts. This plurality manifests itself on a variety of levels, including statutory, communal and individual. In this article, the author argues that, albeit this plurality, Syrian personal status law is also characterised by the prevalence of shared, gendered norms and views on marital life. Based on fieldwork conducted in a Catholic and a shar’iyya personal status courts in Damascus in 2009, the author examines the shared cultural understandings on marital relationships that were found in these courts, and as laid down – most importantly – in the respective Catholic and Muslim family laws. The article maintains that the patriarchal family model is preserved and reinforced by the various personal status laws and by the various actors which operated in the field of personal status law. Finally, two Catholic case studies are presented and analysed to demonstrate the importance and attachment to patriarchal gender norms in the Catholic first instance court of Damascus.


Esther Van Eijk Ph.D.
Esther Van Eijk is a postdoc researcher at Maastricht University, The Netherlands. She recently defended (September 2013) her Ph.D. thesis entitled ‘Family Law in Syria: A Plurality of Laws, Norms, and Legal Practices’ at Leiden University, the Netherlands. This study is based on her PhD fieldwork (including interviews and participant observation) conducted in March-April 2008, and October 2008-July 2009 in Syria.
Article

Access_open At the Crossroads of National and European Union Law. Experiences of National Judges in a Multi-level Legal Order

Journal Erasmus Law Review, Issue 3/4 2013
Keywords national judges, legal pluralism, application of EU law, legal consciousness, supremacy and direct effect of EU law
Authors Urszula Jaremba Ph.D.
AbstractAuthor's information

    The notion and theory of legal pluralism have been witnessing an increasing interest on part of scholars. The theory that originates from the legal anthropological studies and is one of the major topical streams in the realm of socio-legal studies slowly but steady started to become a point of departure for other disciplines. Unavoidably it has also gained attention from the scholars in the realm of the law of the European Union. It is the aim of the present article to illustrate the legal reality in which the law of the Union and the national laws coexist and intertwine with each other and, subsequently, to provide some insight on the manner national judges personally construct their own understanding of this complex legal architecture and the problems they come across in that respect. In that sense, the present article not only illustrates the new, pluralistic legal environment that came into being with the founding of the Communities, later the European Union, but also adds another dimension to this by presenting selected, empirical data on how national judges in several Member States of the EU individually perceive, adapt to, experience and make sense of this reality of overlapping and intertwining legal orders. Thus, the principal aim of this article is to illustrate how the pluralistic legal system works in the mind of a national judge and to capture the more day-to-day legal reality by showing how the law works on the ground through the lived experiences of national judges.


Urszula Jaremba Ph.D.
Urszula Jaremba, PhD, assistant professor at the Department of European Union Law, School of Law, Erasmus University Rotterdam. I am grateful to the editors of this Special Issue: Prof. Dr. Sanne Taekema and Dr. Wibo van Rossum as well as to the two anonymous reviewers for their useful comments. I am also indebted to Dr. Tobias Nowak for giving me his consent to use the data concerning the Dutch and German judges in this article. This article is mostly based on a doctoral research project that resulted in a doctoral manuscript titled ‘Polish Civil Judges as European Union Law Judges: Knowledge, Experiences and Attitudes’, defended on the 5th of October 2012.

Wibo van Rossum

Sanne Taekema
Article

Access_open Towards Context-Specific Directors' Duties and Enforcement Mechanisms in the Banking Sector?

Journal Erasmus Law Review, Issue 2 2013
Keywords banking sector, directors' duties, financial crisis, context-specific doctrines, public enforcement
Authors Wasima Khan LL.M.
AbstractAuthor's information

    The global financial crisis gives reason to revisit the debate on directors’ duties in corporate law, mainly with regard to the context of banks. This article explores the need, rationale and the potential for the introduction of context-specific directors’ duties and enforcement mechanisms in the banking sector in the Netherlands from a comparative perspective.
    Chiefly, two legal strategies can be derived from the post-crisis developments and calls for legal reforms for the need and rationale to sharpen directors’ duties in the context of the banking sector in order to meet societal demands. The two strategies consist in shifting the scope of directors’ duties (i) towards clients’ interests and (ii) towards the public interest.
    Subsequently, this article explores the potential for context-specific directors’ duties and accompanying enforcement mechanisms. Firstly, it is argued that the current legal framework allows for the judicial development -specific approach. Secondly, such context-specific directors’ duties should be enforced through public-enforcement mechanisms to enhance the accountability of bank directors towards the public interest but currently there are too much barriers for implementation in practice.
    In conclusion, this article argues that there is indeed a need, rationale and potential for context-specific directors’ duties; yet there are several major obstacles for the implementation of accompanying public-enforcement mechanisms. As a result, the introduction of context-specific directors’ duties in the banking sector may as yet entail nothing more than wishful thinking because it will merely end in toothless ambitions if the lack of accompanying enforcement mechanisms remains intact.


Wasima Khan LL.M.
PhD Candidate at the Erasmus School of Law, Erasmus University Rotterdam. The author wishes to express her gratitude for valuable comments on an earlier draft of this article from Prof. Vino Timmerman and Prof. Bastiaan F. Assink at the Erasmus School of Law, Erasmus University Rotterdam, as well as the Journal‘s editors and peer reviewers. Any errors remain those of the author.
Article

Access_open Human Rights Courts Interpreting Sustainable Development: Balancing Individual Rights and the Collective Interest

Journal Erasmus Law Review, Issue 2 2013
Keywords Operationalizing sustainable development, human rights, individual rights/interests, collective rights/interests, human rights courts
Authors Emelie Folkesson MA
AbstractAuthor's information

    This article uses a generally accepted conceptualisation of sustainable development that can be operationalized in a judicial context. It focuses on the individual and collective dimensions of the environmental, economic and social pillars, as well as the consideration of inter-generational and intra-generational equity. Case law from the European, African and American systems is analysed to reveal if the elements of sustainable development have been incorporated in their jurisprudence. The analysis reveals that the human rights bodies have used different interpretative methods, some more progressive than others, in order to incorporate the elements of sustainable development in the scope of their mandate, even if they do not mention the concept as such. The overall conclusion is that sustainable development has been operationalized through human rights courts to a certain extent. Sometimes, however, a purely individualised approach to human rights creates a hurdle to further advance sustainable development. The conclusion creates the impression that sustainable development is not just a concept on paper, but that it in fact can be operationalized, also in other courts and quasi-courts. Moreover, it shows that the institutional structure of human rights courts has been used in other areas than pure human rights protection, which means that other areas of law might make use of it to fill the gap of a non-existing court structure.


Emelie Folkesson MA
PhD Candidate in public international law, Erasmus University Rotterdam. The author would like to thank Prof. Ellen Hey, Prof. Klaus Heine and two anonymous reviewers for their valuable insights and constructive comments on the drafts of this article. The usual disclaimer applies.
Article

Access_open Revisiting the Humanisation of International Law: Limits and Potential

Obligations Erga Omnes, Hierarchy of Rules and the Principle of Due Diligence as the Basis for Further Humanisation

Journal Erasmus Law Review, Issue 1 2013
Keywords humanisation, constitutionalism, legal positivism, human rights, erga omnes, due diligence, positive obligations, normative hierarchy, proportionality
Authors Dr. Vassilis P. Tzevelekos
AbstractAuthor's information

    The article critically evaluates the theory of the humanisation of international law. First, it argues that despite human rights having impact on (other areas of) international law, this trend has in the past been somewhat inflated. A number of examples are given where human rights have been tested against other objectives pursued by international law, with humanisation revealing its limits and actual dimensions. The second argument consists in identifying and highlighting obligations erga omnes (partes) and the principle of due diligence as two ‘systemic’ tools, that are central to the humanisation of international law. Both these tools form part of modern positive law, but may also make a positive contribution towards the direction of deeper humanisation in international law, having the potential, inter alia, to limit state will, establish occasional material normative hierarchy consisting in conditional priority in the fulfilment of human rights, give a communitarian tone to international law and invite states to be pro-active in the collective protection of their common interests and values. In its conclusions, the article offers a plausible explanation about the paradox it identifies of the limits of the humanisation on the one hand, and its potential for further development on the other. For, it is inherent in international law that the line separating the law from deontology is thin. The process of humanisation needs to be balanced with the other objectives of international law as well as reconciled with the decentralised and sovereignist origins of the pluralistic international legal system.


Dr. Vassilis P. Tzevelekos
Lecturer in Public International Law, University of Hull Law School; Attorney, Athens’ Bar. PhD and M.Res, European University Institute; MA, European Political and Administrative Studies, College of Europe; DEA Droit international public et organisations internationales, Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne; LLB, National and Kapodistrian University of Athens.
Article

Access_open International Criminal Law and Constitutionalisation

On Hegemonic Narratives in Progress

Journal Erasmus Law Review, Issue 1 2013
Keywords hegemony, constitutionalism, constitutionalisation, international criminal law
Authors Marjan Ajevski
AbstractAuthor's information

    As we move towards constructing narratives regarding the future outlook of global governance, constitutionalisation among them, the hope is that whatever shape this world order takes it will, somehow, forestall or hinder the possibility of a hegemonic order. This article tries to deconstruct the notion of hegemony and claims that as it currently stands it is useless in doing its critical work since every successful narrative will end up being hegemonic because it will employ the ‘hegemonic technique’ of presenting a particular value (or value system), a particular viewpoint, as universal or at least applying to those who do not share it. The only way for a narrative in this discourse not to be hegemonic would be for it to be either truly universal and find a perspective that stems from nowhere and everywhere – a divine perspective – or purely descriptive; the first being an impossibility for fallible beings and the other not worth engaging with since it has nothing to say about how things should be structured or decided in a specific situation.


Marjan Ajevski
Post-Doctoral research fellow part of the MultiRights project – an ERC Advanced Grant on the Legitimacy of Multi-Level Human Rights Judiciary – <www.MultiRights.net>; and PluriCourts, a Research Council of Norway Centre of Excellence – <www.PluriCourts.net>, Norwegian Centre of Human Rights, Faculty of Law, University of Oslo. I can be contacted at marjan.ajevski@nchr.uio.no.
Article

Access_open Between a Rock and a Hard Place: Treaty-Based Settlement of Terrorism-Related Disputes in the Era of Active United Nations Security Council Involvement

Journal Erasmus Law Review, Issue 2 2013
Keywords Terrorism, inter-state dispute, international treaties, the United Nations Security Council, the International Court of Justice
Authors Nathanael Tilahun Ali LL.M.
AbstractAuthor's information

    The United Nations Security Council has become a crucial actor in international counterterrorism by not only spurring the taking of preventive and suppressive measures against terrorist individuals and groups, but also by taking actions against states that are said to stand in the way. The Security Council's actions against such states invariably arise from accusations by other states, such as accusations of refusal to extradite suspects of terrorism or responsibility for supporting terrorists. Meanwhile, most such issues of dispute are covered under international treaties relating to terrorism, which provide for political (negotiation) and judicial (arbitration and adjudication) mechanisms of dispute settlement. The Security Council's actions against states in connection with terrorism, therefore, involve (explicit or implicit) factual and legal determinations that affect the legal positions of the disputing states under the applicable international treaties relating to terrorism. The point of departure of this paper is that, in this respect, the Security Council effectively becomes an alternative to the treaty-based dispute-settlement mechanisms. The article centrally contends that the Security Council effectively acts as a more attractive alternative to treaty-based dispute-settlement mechanisms for pursuing terrorism-related (legal) disputes between states, without providing a meaningful platform of disputation that is based on equality of the parties. And the Security Council's relative attractiveness, arising from the discursive and legal superiority its decisions enjoy and the relative convenience and expediency with which those decisions are delivered, entails the rendering of resort to treaty-based dispute-settlement mechanisms of little legal consequence. The point of concern the article aims to highlight is the lack of platform of disputation some states are faced with, trapped between a hostile Security Council that makes determinations and decisions of legal consequence and an unhelpful treaty-based dispute-settlement mechanism.


Nathanael Tilahun Ali LL.M.
PhD Candidate in public international law, Erasmus School of Law. E: ali@law.eur.nl. I would like to thank Prof. Xandra Kramer and Prof. Ellen Hey for their valuable comments on an earlier draft of this article. The usual disclaimer applies.
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