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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.

    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 Keck in Capital? Redefining ‘Restrictions’ in the ‘Golden Shares’ Case Law

Journal Erasmus Law Review, Issue 4 2016
Keywords Keck, selling arrangements, market access, golden shares, capital
Authors Ilektra Antonaki
AbstractAuthor's information

    The evolution of the case law in the field of free movement of goods has been marked by consecutive changes in the legal tests applied by the Court of Justice of the European Union for the determination of the existence of a trade restriction. Starting with the broad Dassonville and Cassis de Dijon definition of MEEQR (measures having equivalent effect to a quantitative restriction), the Court subsequently introduced the Keck-concept of ‘selling arrangements’, which allowed for more regulatory autonomy of the Member States, but proved insufficient to capture disguised trade restrictions. Ultimately, a refined ‘market access’ test was adopted, qualified by the requirement of a ‘substantial’ hindrance on inter-State trade. Contrary to the free movement of goods, the free movement of capital has not undergone the same evolutionary process. Focusing on the ‘golden shares’ case law, this article questions the broad interpretation of ‘capital restrictions’ and seeks to investigate whether the underlying rationale of striking down any special right that could have a potential deterrent effect on inter-State investment is compatible with the constitutional foundations of negative integration. So far the Court seems to promote a company law regime that endorses shareholders’ primacy, lacking, however, the constitutional and institutional legitimacy to decide on such a highly political question. It is thus suggested that a refined test should be adopted that would capture measures departing from ordinary company law and hindering market access of foreign investors, while at the same time allowing Member States to determine their corporate governance systems.


Ilektra Antonaki
Ilektra Antonaki, LL.M., is a PhD candidate at Leiden University, The Netherlands.
Article

Access_open A Law and Economics Approach to Norms in Transnational Commercial Transactions: Incorporation and Internalisation

Journal Erasmus Law Review, Issue 1 2016
Keywords Incorporation and internalisation, transnational commercial transactions, transnational commercial norms
Authors Bo Yuan
AbstractAuthor's information

    In today’s global economy, a noticeable trend is that the traditional state-law-centred legal framework is increasingly challenged by self-regulatory private orders. Commercial norms, commercial arbitration and social sanctions at the international level have become important alternatives to national laws, national courts and legal sanctions at the national level. Consisting of transnational commercial norms, both codified and uncodified, and legal norms, both national and international, a plural regime for the governance of transnational commercial transactions has emerged and developed in the past few decades. This article explores the interaction between various kinds of norms in this regime, identifies the effects of this interaction on the governance of transnational commercial transactions and shows the challenges to this interaction at the current stage. The central argument of this article is that the interaction between social and legal norms, namely incorporation and internalisation, and the three effects derived from incorporation and internalisation, namely systematisation, harmonisation and compliance enhancement, are evident at both the national and international levels. In particular, the emergence of codified transnational commercial norms that are positioned in the middle of the continuum between national legal norms and uncodified transnational commercial norms has brought changes to the interaction within the international dimension. Although the development of codified transnational commercial norms faces several challenges at the moment, it can be expected that these norms will play an increasingly important role in the future governance of transnational commercial transactions.


Bo Yuan
Bo Yuan is a Ph.D. candidate at the Erasmus University Rotterdam, Department of Law and Economics.

    The doctrinal methodology is in a period of change and transition. Realising that the scope of the doctrinal method is too constricting, academic lawyers are becoming eclectic in their use of research method. In this transitional time, legal scholars are increasingly infusing evidence (and methods) from other disciplines into their reasoning to bolster their reform recommendations.
    This article considers three examples of the interplay of the discipline of law with other disciplines in the pursuit of law reform. Firstly the article reviews studies on the extent of methodologies and reformist frameworks in PhD research in Australia. Secondly it analyses a ‘snapshot’ of recently published Australian journal articles on criminal law reform. Thirdly, it focuses on the law reform commissions, those independent government committees that play such an important role in law reform in common law jurisdictions.
    This examination demonstrates that while the doctrinal core of legal scholarship remains intact, legal scholars are endeavouring to accommodate statistics, comparative perspectives, social science evidence and methods, and theoretical analysis, within the legal research framework, in order to provide additional ballast to the recommendations for reform.


Terry Hutchinson
Associate Professor, Faculty of Law, QUT Law School (t.hutchinson@qut.edu.au); Marika Chang (QUT Law School) was the research assistant on this project.
Article

Access_open The Ambivalent Shadow of the Pre-Wilsonian Rise of International Law

Journal Erasmus Law Review, Issue 2 2014
Keywords American Society of International Law, Peace-Through-Law Movement, Harvard Law Library: League of Nations, President Woodrow Wilson, Pre-Wilsonianism
Authors Dr Ignacio de la Rasilla del Moral Ph.D.
AbstractAuthor's information

    The generation of American international lawyers who founded the American Society of International Law in 1906 and nurtured the soil for what has been retrospectively called a 'moralistic-legalistic approach to international relations' remains little studied. A survey of the rise of international legal literature in the United States from the mid-nineteenth century to the eve of the Great War serves as a backdrop to the examination of the boosting effect on international law of the Spanish American War in 1898. An examination of the Insular Cases before the US Supreme Court is then accompanied by the analysis of a number of influential factors behind the pre-war rise of international law in the United States. The work concludes with an examination of the rise of natural law doctrines in international law during the interwar period and the critiques addressed by the realist founders of the field of 'international relations' to the 'moralistic-legalistic approach to international relations'.


Dr Ignacio de la Rasilla del Moral Ph.D.
Ignacio de la Rasilla del Moral is Lecturer in Law at the Brunel Law School of Brunel University, London. In the Spring of 2014 he served as Visiting Research Fellow at the Lauterpacht Research Centre for International Law of the University of Cambridge as recipient of a British Academy/Leverhulme Small Research Grant.
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.

Marios Koutsias
Lecturer in Law, University of Essex.

Chris Willett
Professor of Commercial Law, University of Essex.

Willem van Boom
Professor of Law at Erasmus School of Law, Rotterdam (the Netherlands) and professor of Law at Durham Law School, Durham (England).

Stephen Waddams
Goodman/Schipper Professor of Law, University of Toronto.

Simon Deakin
Centre for Business Research and Faculty of Law, University of Cambridge. E-mail: s.deakin@cbr.cam.ac.uk.

Ann-Sophie Vandenberghe
Ann-Sophie Vandenberghe is Assistant Professor of Law and Economics, Rotterdam Institute of Law and Economics, Erasmus School of Law.

Gerhard Wagner
Dr. Gerhard Wagner LL.M. is Professor of Fundamentals of Private Law at Erasmus University, Rotterdam, as well as, Professor of German and European Private Law and Civil Procedure at the University of Bonn.

Marc A. Loth
Marc Loth is Professor of Jurisprudence and Legal Theory and Dean of the School of Law, Erasmus University Rotterdam.
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