Search result: 43 articles

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Article

Access_open Can Non-discrimination Law Change Hearts and Minds?

Journal Erasmus Law Review, Issue 3 2020
Keywords law and society, social change, discrimination, non-discrimination law, positive action
Authors Anita Böcker
AbstractAuthor's information

    A question that has preoccupied sociolegal scholars for ages is whether law can change ‘hearts and minds’. This article explores whether non-discrimination law can create social change, and, more particularly, whether it can change attitudes and beliefs as well as external behaviour. The first part examines how sociolegal scholars have theorised about the possibility and desirability of using law as an instrument of social change. The second part discusses the findings of empirical research on the social working of various types of non-discrimination law. What conclusions can be drawn about the ability of non-discrimination law to create social change? What factors influence this ability? And can non-discrimination law change people’s hearts and minds as well as their behaviour? The research literature does not provide an unequivocal answer to the latter question. However, the overall picture emerging from the sociolegal literature is that law is generally more likely to bring about changes in external behaviour and that it can influence attitudes and beliefs only indirectly, by altering the situations in which attitudes and opinions are formed.


Anita Böcker
Anita Böcker is associate professor of Sociology of Law at Radboud University, Nijmegen.
Article

Access_open A Positive State Obligation to Counter Dehumanisation under International Human Rights Law

Journal Erasmus Law Review, Issue 3 2020
Keywords Dehumanisation, International Human Rights Law, Positive State obligations, Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities, International Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Racial Discrimination
Authors Stephanie Eleanor Berry
AbstractAuthor's information

    International human rights law (IHRL) was established in the aftermath of the Second World War to prevent a reoccurrence of the atrocities committed in the name of fascism. Central to this aim was the recognition that out-groups are particularly vulnerable to rights violations committed by the in-group. Yet, it is increasingly apparent that out-groups are still subject to a wide range of rights violations, including those associated with mass atrocities. These rights violations are facilitated by the dehumanisation of the out-group by the in-group. Consequently, this article argues that the creation of IHRL treaties and corresponding monitoring mechanisms should be viewed as the first step towards protecting out-groups from human rights violations. By adopting the lens of dehumanisation, this article demonstrates that if IHRL is to achieve its purpose, IHRL monitoring mechanisms must recognise the connection between dehumanisation and rights violations and develop a positive State obligation to counter dehumanisation. The four treaties explored in this article, the European Convention on Human Rights, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities and the International Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Racial Discrimination, all establish positive State obligations to prevent hate speech and to foster tolerant societies. These obligations should, in theory, allow IHRL monitoring mechanisms to address dehumanisation. However, their interpretation of the positive State obligation to foster tolerant societies does not go far enough to counter unconscious dehumanisation and requires more detailed elaboration.


Stephanie Eleanor Berry
Senior Lecturer in International Human Rights Law, University of Sussex.
Article

Access_open How Far Should the State Go to Counter Prejudice?

A Positive State Obligation to Counter Dehumanisation

Journal Erasmus Law Review, Issue 3 2020
Keywords prejudice, soft paternalism, empathy, liberalism, employment discrimination, access to goods and services
Authors Ioanna Tourkochoriti
AbstractAuthor's information

    This article argues that it is legitimate for the state to practice soft paternalism towards changing hearts and minds in order to prevent behaviour that is discriminatory. Liberals accept that it is not legitimate for the state to intervene in order to change how people think because ideas and beliefs are wrong in themselves. It is legitimate for the state to intervene with the actions of a person only when there is a risk of harm to others and when there is a threat to social coexistence. Preventive action of the state is legitimate if we consider the immaterial and material harm that discrimination causes. It causes harm to the social standing of the person, psychological harm, economic and existential harm. All these harms threaten peaceful social coexistence. This article traces a theory of permissible government action. Research in the areas of behavioural psychology, neuroscience and social psychology indicates that it is possible to bring about a change in hearts and minds. Encouraging a person to adopt the perspective of the person who has experienced discrimination can lead to empathetic understanding. This, can lead a person to critically evaluate her prejudice. The paper argues that soft paternalism towards changing hearts and minds is legitimate in order to prevent harm to others. It attempts to legitimise state coercion in order to eliminate prejudice and broader social patterns of inequality and marginalisation. And it distinguishes between appropriate and non-appropriate avenues the state could pursue in order to eliminate prejudice. Policies towards eliminating prejudice should address the rational and the emotional faculties of a person. They should aim at using methods and techniques that focus on persuasion and reduce coercion. They should raise awareness of what prejudice is and how it works in order to facilitate well-informed voluntary decisions. The version of soft paternalism towards changing minds and attitudes defended in this article makes it consistent with liberalism.


Ioanna Tourkochoriti
Lecturer Above the Bar, NUI Galway School of Law.

    The entry into force of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) pushed state obligations to counter prejudice and stereotypes concerning people with disabilities to the forefront of international human rights law. The CRPD is underpinned by a model of inclusive equality, which views disability as a social construct that results from the interaction between persons with impairments and barriers, including attitudinal barriers, that hinder their participation in society. The recognition dimension of inclusive equality, together with the CRPD’s provisions on awareness raising, mandates that states parties target prejudice and stereotypes about the capabilities and contributions of persons with disabilities to society. Certain human rights treaty bodies, including the Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and, to a much lesser extent, the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women, require states to eradicate harmful stereotypes and prejudice about people with disabilities in various forms of interpersonal relationships. This trend is also reflected, to a certain extent, in the jurisprudence of the European Court of Human Rights. This article assesses the extent to which the aforementioned human rights bodies have elaborated positive obligations requiring states to endeavour to change ‘hearts and minds’ about the inherent capabilities and contributions of people with disabilities. It analyses whether these bodies have struck the right balance in elaborating positive obligations to eliminate prejudice and stereotypes in interpersonal relationships. Furthermore, it highlights the convergences or divergences that are evident in the bodies’ approaches to those obligations.


Andrea Broderick
Andrea Broderick is Assistant Professor at the Universiteit Maastricht, the Netherlands.
Article

Access_open On the Eve of Web-Harvesting and Web-Archiving for Libraries in Greece

Journal Erasmus Law Review, Issue 2 2019
Keywords web harvesting, data analysis, text & data mining, TDM: Proposal EU Copyright Directive
Authors Maria Bottis, Marinos Papadopoulos, Christos Zampakolas e.a.
AbstractAuthor's information

    This conference paper submitted on the occasion of the 8th International Conference on Information Law and Ethics (University of Antwerp, December 13-14, 2018) that focused on modern intellectual property governance and openness in Europe elaborates upon the Text and Data Mining (TDM) issue in the field of scientific research, which is still-by the time of composition of this paper-in the process of discussion and forthcoming voting before the European Parliament in the form of provision(s) included in a new Directive on Copyright in the Digital Single Market. TDM is included in the proposal for a Directive of the European parliament and of the Council on copyright in the Digital Single Market-Proposal COM(2016)593 final 2016/0280(COD) that was submitted to the European Parliament.


Maria Bottis
Associate Professor, Department of Archives, Library Science and Museology, Ionian University, Corfu, Greece.

Marinos Papadopoulos
Attorney-at-Law, Independent Researcher, PhD, MSc, JD, Athens, Greece.

Christos Zampakolas
Archivist/Librarian, Independent Researcher, PhD, MA, BA, Ioannina, Greece.

Paraskevi Ganatsiou
Educator, MA, BA, Prefecture of Ionian Islands, Corfu, Greece.
Article

Access_open The Potential of Public Policy on Open Access Repositories

Journal Erasmus Law Review, Issue 2 2019
Keywords public policy, dissemination, governance, open access, repositories
Authors Nikos Koutras
AbstractAuthor's information

    To address the potential of public policy on the governance of OARs it is necessary to define what is meant by public policy and the importance of public policy in designing an efficient governance framework. Critical components are the subject matter of public policy and its objectives. Hence, it is useful to consider declarations, policies and statements in relation to open access practice and examine the efficiency of these arrangements towards the improvement of stakeholders’ engagement in governance of OARs. Secondly, policies relating to dissemination of scientific information via OARs should be examined. In this regard, it is relevant to consider the public policy basis for Intellectual Property (IP) laws that concerning the utility of OARs. Therefore, economic theories relevant with the role of IP laws should be examined. Such examination depicts to what extend these laws facilitate the utility of OARs. In order to specify justifications for the desirability of OARs the objectives of social theories should be also considered. Thus, there is consternation that without legal protection against copying the incentive to create intellectual property will be undermined. As scholarly communication infrastructure evolves, it is necessary to recognize the efforts of the relationship between Intellectual Property Rights (IPRs) and communication technologies in the context of public policy and after engagement with it. After employing such multilevel approach, the paper argues about a socio-economic framework to enhance the governance of OARs through public policy.


Nikos Koutras
Postdoctoral Researcher, Faculty of Law, University of Antwerp.
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).

    This article relies on the premise that to understand the significance of Open Access Repositories (OARs) it is necessary to know the context of the debate. Therefore, it is necessary to trace the historical development of the concept of copyright as a property right. The continued relevance of the rationales for copyright interests, both philosophical and pragmatic, will be assessed against the contemporary times of digital publishing. It follows then discussion about the rise of Open Access (OA) practice and its impact on conventional publishing methods. The present article argues about the proper equilibrium between self-interest and social good. In other words, there is a need to find a tool in order to balance individuals’ interests and common will. Therefore, there is examination of the concept of property that interrelates justice (Plato), private ownership (Aristotle), labour (Locke), growth of personality (Hegel) and a bundle of rights that constitute legal relations (Hohfeld). This examination sets the context for the argument.


Nikos Koutras
Postdoctoral Researcher, Faculty of Law, University of Antwerp.
Article

Access_open Mercosur: Limits of Regional Integration

Journal Erasmus Law Review, Issue 3 2019
Keywords Mercosur, European Union, regionalism, integration, international organisation
Authors Ricardo Caichiolo
AbstractAuthor's information

    This study is focused on the evaluation of successes and failures of the Common Market of the South (Mercosur). This analysis of Mercosur’s integration seeks to identify the reasons why the bloc has stagnated in an incomplete customs union condition, although it was originally created to achieve a common market status. To understand the evolution of Mercosur, the study offers some thoughts about the role of the European Union (EU) as a model for regional integration. Although an EU-style integration has served as a model, it does not necessarily set the standards by which integration can be measured as we analyse other integration efforts. However, the case of Mercosur is emblematic: during its initial years, Mercosur specifically received EU technical assistance to promote integration according to EU-style integration. Its main original goal was to become a common market, but so far, almost thirty years after its creation, it remains an imperfect customs union.
    The article demonstrates the extent to which almost thirty years of integration in South America could be considered a failure, which would be one more in a list of previous attempts of integration in Latin America, since the 1960s. Whether it is a failure or not, it is impossible to envisage EU-style economic and political integration in South America in the foreseeable future. So far, member states, including Brazil, which could supposedly become the engine of economic and political integration in South America, have remained sceptical about the possibility of integrating further politically and economically. As member states suffer political and economic turmoil, they have concentrated on domestic recovery before being able to dedicate sufficient time and energy to being at the forefront of integration.


Ricardo Caichiolo
Ricardo Caichiolo, PhD (Université catholique de Louvain, Belgium) is legal and legislative adviser to the Brazilian Senate and professor and coordinator of the post graduate programs on Public Policy, Government Relations and Law at Ibmec (Instituto Brasileiro de Mercado de Capitais, Brazil).
Article

Access_open Levying VAT in the EU Customs Union: Towards a Single Indirect Tax Area? The Ordeal of Indirect Tax Harmonisation

Journal Erasmus Law Review, Issue 3 2019
Keywords single indirect tax area, VAT action plan, quick fixes, e-commerce package, definitive VAT system
Authors Ben Terra
AbstractAuthor's information

    This contribution deals with the latest proposals regarding levying VAT in the European Union (EU) Customs Union. The present system, which has been in place since 1993 and was supposed to be transitional, splits every cross-border transaction into an exempted cross-border supply and a taxable cross-border acquisition. It is like a customs system, but lacks equivalent controls and is therefore the root of cross-border fraud. After many years of unsuccessful attempts, the Commission abandoned the objective of implementing definitive VAT arrangements based on the principle of taxing all cross-border supplies of goods in the Member State of their origin, under the same conditions that apply to domestic trade including VAT rates. The European Parliament and the Council agreed that the definitive system should be based on the principle of taxation in the Member State of the destination of the goods. After a brief discussion of the VAT Action Plan of 2016 (Section 1), the e-commerce package in the form of Directive (EU) 2017/2455 is dealt with (Section 2), followed by the proposal to harmonise and simplify certain rules in the VAT system and introduce the definitive system, only partially adopted (Section 3). Section 4 deals with the proposal to introduce detailed measures of the definitive VAT system. The proposed harmonisation and simplification of certain rules were meant to become applicable on 1 January 2019, but will become only partially applicable on 2020. It is proposed to make the detailed measures of the definitive VAT system applicable in 2022. It remains to be seen whether the Member States are willing to accept the definitive VAT system at all; hence the subtitle ‘the ordeal of indirect tax harmonisation’.


Ben Terra
Prof. Dr. Dr. h.c. Ben Terra was a professor of tax law at the universities of Amsterdam and Lund and visiting professor at the Universidade Católica in Lisbon.
Article

Access_open The Foundations of the Internal Market: Free Trade Area and Customs Union under Articles 28-31 TFEU

Journal Erasmus Law Review, Issue 3 2019
Keywords free trade area, EU Customs Union, internal market, European Union, Brexit
Authors Stefan Enchelmaier
AbstractAuthor's information

    This contribution places the provisions of the Treaty creating a free trade area and customs union between the Member States (Articles 28-31 TFEU) in their wider context. It then focuses on the interpretation of Article 30 in the jurisprudence of the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU). Throughout, it casts sideways glances at corresponding provisions of General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT). As it turns out, the abolition of customs duties and charges having equivalent effect, and the establishment of a customs union between Member States, were important milestones in the development of European unification. They became overshadowed later by more spectacular developments in the case law on the free movement of goods, persons and services. As a consequence, the importance of the customs provisions is widely underrated. Brexit concentrates the minds in this respect, as an important economy is about to rearrange and even recreate the basic building blocks of its international trading relations.


Stefan Enchelmaier
Stefan Enchelmaier, Dr iur (Bonn) habil (Munich) LLM (Edinb) MA (Oxon) is Professor of European and Comparative Law at Lincoln College, University of Oxford.
Article

Access_open Impact of International Law on the EU Customs Union

Journal Erasmus Law Review, Issue 3 2019
Keywords European Union, customs union, international law, customs legislation, autonomous standards
Authors Achim Rogmann
AbstractAuthor's information

    This contribution examines the various international instruments, in both hard and soft law, that have been established by international organisations such as the WTO and WCO and scrutinises how they have been implemented into EU legislation governing the EU Customs Union, thus demonstrating the substantial influence of international instruments on the Customs Union. As the relevant international instruments affect not only the traditional elements of European customs law, but also the EU’s entire export control regime and the framework of the internal market, this contribution demonstrates, moreover, how the Customs Union functions in a globalised world.


Achim Rogmann
Achim Rogmann, LL.M is professor of law at the Brunswick European Law School at Ostfalia Hochschule fur angewandte Wissenschaften.
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 Requirements upon Agreements in Favour of the NCC and the German Chambers – Clashing with the Brussels Ibis Regulation?

Journal Erasmus Law Review, Issue 1 2019
Keywords international commercial courts, the Netherlands Commercial Court (NCC), Chambers for International Commercial Disputes (Kammern für internationale Handelssachen), Brussels Ibis Regulation, choice of court agreements, formal requirements
Authors Georgia Antonopoulou
AbstractAuthor's information

    In recent years, the Netherlands and Germany have added themselves to the ever-growing number of countries opting for the creation of an international commercial court. The Netherlands Commercial Court (NCC) and the German Chambers for International Commercial Disputes (Kammern für internationale Handelssachen, KfiH) will conduct proceedings entirely in English and follow their own, diverging rules of civil procedure. Aspiring to become the future venues of choice in international commercial disputes, the NCC law and the legislative proposal for the establishment of the KfiH allow parties to agree on their jurisdiction and entail detailed provisions regulating such agreements. In particular, the NCC requires the parties’ express and in writing agreement to litigate before it. In a similar vein, the KfiH legislative proposal requires in some instances an express and in writing agreement. Although such strict formal requirements are justified by the need to safeguard the procedural rights of weaker parties such as small enterprises and protect them from the peculiarities of the NCC and the KfiH, this article questions their compliance with the requirements upon choice of court agreements under Article 25 (1) Brussels Ibis Regulation. By qualifying agreements in favour of the NCC and the KfiH first as functional jurisdiction agreements and then as procedural or court language agreements this article concludes that the formal requirements set by the NCC law and the KfiH proposal undermine the effectiveness of the Brussels Ibis Regulation, complicate the establishment of these courts’ jurisdiction and may thus threaten their attractiveness as future litigation destinations.


Georgia Antonopoulou
PhD candidate at Erasmus School of Law, Rotterdam.
Editorial

Access_open International Business Courts in Europe and Beyond: A Global Competition for Justice?

Journal Erasmus Law Review, Issue 1 2019
Keywords international business courts, justice innovation, justice competition, global commercial litigation, private international law
Authors Xandra Kramer and John Sorabji
Author's information

Xandra Kramer
Xandra Kramer, Professor of Private Law at Erasmus University Rotterdam, and of Private International Law, Utrecht University.

John Sorabji
John Sorabji, Senior Teaching Fellow, UCL, London/Principal Legal Adviser to the Lord Chief Justice and the Master of the Rolls.
Article

Access_open The Court of the Astana International Financial Center in the Wake of Its Predecessors

Journal Erasmus Law Review, Issue 1 2019
Keywords international financial centers, offshore courts, international business courts, Kazakhstan
Authors Nicolás Zambrana-Tévar
AbstractAuthor's information

    The Court of the Astana International Financial Center is a new dispute resolution initiative meant to attract investors in much the same way as it has been done in the case of the courts and arbitration mechanisms of similar financial centers in the Persian Gulf. This paper examines such initiatives from a comparative perspective, focusing on their Private International Law aspects such as jurisdiction, applicable law and recognition and enforcement of judgments and arbitration awards. The paper concludes that their success, especially in the case of the younger courts, will depend on the ability to build harmonious relationships with the domestic courts of each host country.


Nicolás Zambrana-Tévar
LLM (LSE), PhD (Navarra), KIMEP University.
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 Matchmaking International Commercial Courts and Lawyers’ Preferences in Europe

Journal Erasmus Law Review, Issue 1 2019
Keywords choice of court, commercial court, lawyers’ preferences, survey on lawyers, international court
Authors Erlis Themeli
AbstractAuthor's information

    France, Germany, Belgium, and the Netherlands have taken concrete steps to design and develop international commercial courts. Most of the projects claim to be building courts that match the preferences of court users. They also try to challenge England and Wales, which evidence suggests is the most attractive jurisdiction in the EU. For the success of these projects, it is important that their proposed courts corresponds with the expectations of the parties, but also manages to attract some of the litigants that go to London. This article argues that lawyers are the most important group of choice makers, and that their preferences are not sufficiently matched by the new courts. Lawyers have certain litigation service and court perception preferences. And while the new courts improve their litigation service, they do not sufficiently addressed these court perception preferences.


Erlis Themeli
Postdoc, Erasmus School of Law, Erasmus University Rotterdam.
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.
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