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Article

Access_open Sincere Apologies

The Importance of the Offender’s Guilt Feelings

Journal Netherlands Journal of Legal Philosophy, Issue 2 2017
Keywords Sincerity of emotions, Guilt, Feelings, Apology, Offender
Authors Margreet Luth-Morgan
AbstractAuthor's information

    This paper discusses the meaning and the importance of emotions, in particular the sincere guilt feelings of the offender. It is argued that the emotion of guilt reveals important information about the offender’s values and normative position. In the remainder of the paper, special consideration is awarded to the argument concerning ritual apologies, which might contain value even when insincere. This argument is rejected, on two grounds: 1. if the apology ritual does not aim for sincere guilt feelings, then the use of the symbol of apology is not fitting; and 2. if the apology ritual does aim for sincere guilt, then an insincere apology devalues the sincere expression.


Margreet Luth-Morgan
Margreet Luth-Morgan is universitair docent aan Erasmus School of Law, sectie Sociologie, Theorie en Methodologie, Rotterdam.
Article

Access_open Dworkin’s Rights Conception of the Rule of Law in Criminal Law

Should Criminal Law be Extensively Interpreted in Order to Protect Victims’ Rights?

Journal Netherlands Journal of Legal Philosophy, Issue 2 2017
Keywords Klaas Rozemond, Ronald M. Dworkin, Legality in criminal law, Rights conception of the rule of law, Legal certainty
Authors Briain Jansen
AbstractAuthor's information

    The extensive interpretation of criminal law to the detriment of the defendant in criminal law is often problematized in doctrinal theory. Extensive interpretation is then argued to be problematic in the light of important ideals such as democracy and legal certainty in criminal law. In the Dutch discussion of this issue, Klaas Rozemond has argued that sometimes extensive interpretation is mandated by the rule of law in order to protect the rights of victims. Rozemond grounds his argument on a reading of Dworkin’s distinction between the rule-book and the rights conception of the rule of law. In this article, I argue that Dworkin’s rights conception, properly considered, does not necessarily mandate the imposition of criminal law or its extensive interpretation in court in order to protect victims’ rights.


Briain Jansen
Briain Jansen is als promovendus rechtstheorie verbonden aan de Erasmus Universiteit Rotterdam.
Article

Access_open Over verplichte excuses en spreekrecht

Wat is er mis met empirisch-juridisch onderzoek naar slachtoffers?

Journal Netherlands Journal of Legal Philosophy, Issue 2 2017
Keywords empirical legal studies, apologies, procedural justice, humiliation, victim rights
Authors Vincent Geeraets and Wouter Veraart
AbstractAuthor's information

    The central question in this article is whether an empirical-legal approach of victimhood and victim rights could offer a sufficient basis for proposals of legal reform of the legal system. In this article, we choose a normative-critical approach and raise some objections to the way in which part of such research is currently taking place in the Netherlands, on the basis of two examples of research in this field, one dealing with compelled apologies as a possible remedy within civil procedural law and the other with the victim’s right to be heard within the criminal legal procedure. In both cases, we argue, the strong focus on the measurable needs of victims can lead to a relatively instrumental view of the legal system. The legal system must then increasingly be tailored to the wishes and needs of victims. Within this legal-empirical, victim-oriented approach, there is little regard for the general normative principles of our present legal system, in which an equal and respectful treatment of each human being as a free and responsible legal subject is a central value. We argue that results of empirical-legal research should not too easily or too quickly be translated into proposals for legal reform, but first become part of a hermeneutical discussion about norms and legal principles, specific to the normative quality of legal science itself.


Vincent Geeraets
Vincent Geeraets is universitair docent aan de afdeling Rechtstheorie en rechtsgeschiedenis van de Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam.

Wouter Veraart
Wouter Veraart is hoogleraar rechtsfilosofie aan de Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam.
Article

Access_open Belgium and Democratic Constitution-Making: Prospects for the Future?

Journal Netherlands Journal of Legal Philosophy, Issue 1 2017
Keywords constitutional change, democracy, participation, Belgium
Authors Ronald Van Crombrugge
Abstract

    How constitutions are changed – and more importantly: how they should be changed – is the subject of ongoing debate. There seems to be a growing consensus, however, that in order for a constitution to be considered legitimate it is required that it was created through a democratic process. This growing consensus stands in sharp contrast with the Belgian experience of constitutional change as an essentially elite-led process that takes place behind closed doors. This article seeks to explore the possibilities for more democratic forms of constitutional change in Belgium. It does so by evaluating and comparing two examples of democratic constitution-making, namely the constitution-making processes In South Africa (1996) and Iceland (2012). On the basis of these two examples, several concrete suggestions will be made, which are not only relevant for the Belgian case but can be applied more broadly to other countries as well.


Ronald Van Crombrugge
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