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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.
Editorial

Access_open Computational Methods for Legal Analysis

The Way Forward?

Journal Erasmus Law Review, Issue 1 2021
Keywords computational legal analysis, empirical legal studies, natural language processing, machine learning
Authors Elena Kantorowicz-Reznichenko
AbstractAuthor's information

    Computational analysis can be seen as the most recent innovation in the field of Empirical Legal Studies (ELS). It concerns the use of computer science and big data tools to collect, analyse and understand the large and unstructured data, such as for instance (legal) text. Given that the text is now the object of analysis, but the methods are (largely) quantitative, it lies in the intersection between doctrinal analysis and ELS. It brings with it not only a great potential to scale up research and answer old research questions, but also to reveal uncovered patterns and address new questions. Despite a slowly growing number of legal scholars who are already applying such methods, it is underutilised in the field of law. Furthermore, given that this method comes from social and computer sciences, many legal scholars are not even aware of its existence and potential. Therefore, the purpose of this special issue is not only to introduce these methods to lawyers and discuss possibilities of their application, but also to pay special attention to the challenges, with a specific emphasis on the ethical issues arising from using ‘big data’ and the challenge of building capacity to use such methods in law schools. This editorial briefly explains some of the methods which belong to the new movement of Computational Legal Analysis and provides examples of their application. It then introduces those articles included in this special issue. Finally, it provides a personal note on the way forward for lawyers within the movement of Computational Legal Analysis


Elena Kantorowicz-Reznichenko
Elena Kantorowicz-Reznichenko is Professor of Quantitative Empirical Legal Studies at the Rotterdam Institute of Law and Economics, Erasmus School of Law, Erasmus University, Rotterdam.
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
Ioanna Tourkochoriti is 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 The Promotion of Equality and Prevention of Unfair Discrimination Act 4 of 2000: Proposals for Legislative Reform to Promote Equality through Schools and the Education System

Journal Erasmus Law Review, Issue 3 2020
Keywords Transformative pedagogy, equality legislation, promotion of equality, law reform, using law to change hearts and minds
Authors Anton Kok, Lwando Xaso, Annalize Steenekamp e.a.
AbstractAuthor's information

    In this article, we focus on how the education system can be used to promote equality in the context of changing people’s hearts and minds – values, morals and mindsets. The duties contained in the Promotion of Equality and Prevention of Unfair Discrimination Act 4 of 2000 (‘Equality Act’) bind private and public schools, educators, learners, governing bodies and the state. The Equality Act calls on the state and all persons to promote substantive equality, but the relevant sections in the Equality Act have not been given effect yet, and are therefore currently not enforceable. We set out how the duty to promote equality should be concretised in the Equality Act to inter alia use the education system to promote equality in schools; in other words, how should an enforceable duty to promote equality in schools be fashioned in terms of the Equality Act. Should the relevant sections relating to the promotion of equality come into effect in their current form, enforcement of the promotion of equality will take the form of obliging schools to draft action plans and submit these to the South African Human Rights Commission. We deem this approach inadequate and therefore propose certain amendments to the Equality Act to allow for a more sensible monitoring of schools’ duty to promote equality. We explain how the duty to promote equality should then play out practically in the classroom to facilitate a change in learners’ hearts and minds.


Anton Kok
Anton Kok is Professor of Jurisprudence at the Faculty of Law of the University of Pretoria.

Lwando Xaso
Lwando Xaso is an independent lawyer, writer and historian.

Annalize Steenekamp
Annalize Steenekamp, LLM, is a Multidisciplinary Human Rights graduate from the University of Pretoria.

Michelle Oelofse
Michelle Oelofse is an Academic associate and LLM candidate at the University of Pretoria.
Article

Access_open The Relationship between Empirical Legal Studies and Doctrinal Legal Research

Journal Erasmus Law Review, Issue 2 2020
Keywords empirical legal studies, legal research methods, doctrinal legal research, new legal realism, critical legal studies, law and policy
Authors Gareth Davies
AbstractAuthor's information

    This article considers how empirical legal studies (ELS) and doctrinal legal research (DLR) interact. Rather than seeing them as competitors that are methodologically independent and static, it suggests that they are interdependent activities, which may each be changed by interaction with the other, and that this change brings both opportunities and threats. For ELS, the article argues that DLR should properly be understood as part of its theoretical framework, yet in practice little attention is given to doctrine in empirical work. Paying more attention to DLR and legal frames generally would help ELS meet the common criticism that it is under-theorised and excessively policy oriented. On the other hand, an embrace of legal thinking, particularly of critical legal thinking, might lead to loss of status for ELS in policy circles and mainstream social science. For DLR, ELS offers a chance for it to escape the threat of insular sterility and irrelevance and to participate in a founded commentary on the world. The risk, however, is that in tailoring legal analysis to what can be empirically researched legal scholars become less analytically ambitious and more safe, and their traditionally important role as a source of socially relevant critique is weakened. Inevitably, in offering different ways of moving to normative conclusions about the law, ELS and DLR pose challenges to each other, and meeting those challenges will require sometimes uncomfortable self-reflection.


Gareth Davies
Gareth Davies is Professor of European Law at the Faculty of Law of the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam.
Article

Access_open Basel IV Postponed: A Chance to Regulate Shadow Banking?

Journal Erasmus Law Review, Issue 2 2020
Keywords Basel Accords, EU Law, shadow banking, financial stability, prudential regulation
Authors Katarzyna Parchimowicz and Ross Spence
AbstractAuthor's information

    In the aftermath of the 2007 global financial crisis, regulators have agreed a substantial tightening of prudential regulation for banks operating in the traditional banking sector (TBS). The TBS is stringently regulated under the Basel Accords to moderate financial stability and to minimise risk to government and taxpayers. While prudential regulation is important from a financial stability perspective, the flipside is that the Basel Accords only apply to the TBS, they do not regulate the shadow banking sector (SBS). While it is not disputed that the SBS provides numerous benefits given the net credit growth of the economy since the global financial crisis has come from the SBS rather than traditional banking channels, the SBS also poses many risks. Therefore, the fact that the SBS is not subject to prudential regulation is a cause of serious systemic concern. The introduction of Basel IV, which compliments Basel III, seeks to complete the Basel framework on prudential banking regulation. On the example of this set of standards and its potential negative consequences for the TBS, this paper aims to visualise the incentives for TBS institutions to move some of their activities into the SBS, and thus stress the need for more comprehensive regulation of the SBS. Current coronavirus crisis forced Basel Committee to postpone implementation of the Basel IV rules – this could be perceived as a chance to complete the financial regulatory framework and address the SBS as well.


Katarzyna Parchimowicz
Katarzyna Parchimowicz, LLM. Finance (Frankfurt), is PhD candidate at the University of Wrocław, Poland, and Young Researcher at the European Banking Institute, Frankfurt, Germany.

Ross Spence
Ross Spence, EURO-CEFG, is PhD Fellow at Leiden University Law School, and Young Researcher at the European Banking Institute and Research Associate at the Amsterdam Centre for Law and Economics.
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).
Article

Access_open Access and Reuse of Machine-Generated Data for Scientific Research

Journal Erasmus Law Review, Issue 2 2019
Keywords machine-generated data, Internet of Things, scientific research, personal data, GDPR
Authors Alexandra Giannopoulou
AbstractAuthor's information

    Data driven innovation holds the potential in transforming current business and knowledge discovery models. For this reason, data sharing has become one of the central points of interest for the European Commission towards the creation of a Digital Single Market. The value of automatically generated data, which are collected by Internet-connected objects (IoT), is increasing: from smart houses to wearables, machine-generated data hold significant potential for growth, learning, and problem solving. Facilitating researchers in order to provide access to these types of data implies not only the articulation of existing legal obstacles and of proposed legal solutions but also the understanding of the incentives that motivate the sharing of the data in question. What are the legal tools that researchers can use to gain access and reuse rights in the context of their research?


Alexandra Giannopoulou
Institute for Information Law (IViR) – University of Amsterdam.

    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 The Dutch International Responsible Business Conduct Agreements

Effective Initiatives?

Journal Erasmus Law Review, Issue 4 2019
Keywords IRBC Agreements, effectiveness, OECD due diligence, access to remedy
Authors Martijn Scheltema
AbstractAuthor's information

    This contribution analyses the effectiveness of the Dutch International Responsible Business Conduct (IRBC) agreements and suggests some avenues for improvement. Several challenges in connection with effectiveness have been identified in evaluations of the IRBC agreements, and these are used as a starting point for the analysis. The focus is on three themes: (i) uptake, leverage and collaboration; (ii) implementation of OECD due diligence including monitoring and (iii) access to remedy. This contribution shows that low uptake may not be a sign of ineffectiveness per se, although in terms of leverage a sufficient number of participants or collaboration between agreements seems important. In connection with due diligence, it is recommended to align the implementation of OECD due diligence. Furthermore, an effective monitoring mechanism by a secretariat, as is currently implemented in the Textile agreement only, is most likely to bring about material changes in business behaviour. Other types of supervision seem less effective. Access to remedy poses a challenge in all IRBC agreements. It is recommended that the expectations the agreements have on access to remedy be clarified, also in connection with the role of signatories to the agreements in cases where they are directly linked to human rights abuse. Furthermore, it is recommended that a dispute resolution mechanism be introduced that enables complaints for external stakeholders against business signatories, comparable to that of the Textile agreement. However, rather than implementing separate mechanisms in all agreements, an overarching mechanism for all agreements should be introduced.


Martijn Scheltema
Martijn Scheltema is Professor of Private law at Erasmus School of Law, Erasmus University Rotterdam.
Article

Access_open The New Dutch Model Investment Agreement

On the Road to Sustainability or Keeping up Appearances?

Journal Erasmus Law Review, Issue 4 2019
Keywords Dutch model BIT, foreign direct investment, bilateral investment treaties, investor-to-state dispute settlement, sustainable development goals
Authors Alessandra Arcuri and Bart-Jaap Verbeek
AbstractAuthor's information

    In 2019, the Dutch government presented a New Model Investment Agreement that seeks to contribute to the sustainability and inclusivity of future Dutch trade and investment policy. This article offers a critical analysis of the most relevant parts of the revised model text in order to appraise to what extent it could promote sustainability and inclusivity. It starts by providing an overview of the Dutch BIT (Bilateral Investment Treaty) programme, where the role of the Netherlands as a favourite conduit country for global FDI is highlighted. In the article, we identify the reasons why the Netherlands became a preferred jurisdiction for foreign investors and the negative implications for governments and their policy space to advance sustainable development. The 2019 model text is expressly set out to achieve a fairer system and to protect ‘sustainable investment in the interest of development’. While displaying a welcome engagement with key values of sustainable development, this article identifies a number of weaknesses of the 2019 model text. Some of the most criticised substantive and procedural provisions are being reproduced in the model text, including the reiteration of investors’ legitimate expectation as an enforceable right, the inclusion of an umbrella clause, and the unaltered broad coverage of investments. Most notably, the model text continues to marginalise the interests of investment-affected communities and stakeholders, while bestowing exclusive rights and privileges on foreign investors. The article concludes by hinting at possible reforms to better align existing and future Dutch investment treaties with the sustainable development goals.


Alessandra Arcuri
Alessandra Arcuri is Professor at Erasmus School of Law and Erasmus Initiative Dynamics of Inclusive Prosperity, Erasmus University Rotterdam.

Bart-Jaap Verbeek
Bart-Jaap Verbeek is Researcher at Stichting Onderzoek Multinationale Ondernemingen (SOMO) and PhD Candidate Political Science at the Radboud University.
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.
Article

Access_open SMART Reflections on Policy Coherence, Legal Developments in the Netherlands and the Case for EU Harmonisation

Afterword to Erasmus Law Review Special Issue Towards Responsible Business Conduct in Global Value Chains

Journal Erasmus Law Review, Issue 4 2019
Keywords sustainability, business, global value chains, planetary boundaries, sustainable corporate governance
Authors Beate Sjåfjell and Jeroen Veldman
AbstractAuthor's information

    The EU-funded project Sustainable Market Actors for Responsible Trade (SMART, 2016-2020), undertook an interdisciplinary and multilevel regulatory analysis of the barriers and possibilities for securing the contribution of private and public market actors to a sustainable future. Jurisdiction-specific contributions were an essential part of this broad regulatory analysis. This afterword reflects on the Dutch contributions included in this Special Issue, emphasising the urgency of securing policy coherence for sustainable business. The afterword highlights how individual initiatives by national legislators such as those of the Netherlands can be inspiring examples, while they also bring with them challenges including questions of scope and of legal certainty for businesses, specifically with regard to cross-border operations and activities. This leaves business with the difficult task of figuring out the various requirements and expectations and may lead to regulatory competition between EU member states. The afterword therefore concludes with a call for EU harmonisation, to give sustainability-oriented business a level playing field and provide legal certainty both for decision-makers in business and for those affected by the conduct of business across global value chains.


Beate Sjåfjell
Beate Sjåfjell is Professor, University of Oslo, Faculty of Law; Adjunct Professor, Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Faculty of Economics and Management. Coordinator of the now concluded H2020-funded project Sustainable Market Actors for Responsible Trade (SMART, 2016-2020), grant agreement 693642. Acknowledgment: This article draws on joint research in the SMART Project, and I am grateful to the whole team, and, in the context of this special issue, especially Jeroen Veldman for his leadership on the Dutch contribution to the project.

Jeroen Veldman
Jeroen Veldman is Visiting Associate Professor at Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University Rotterdam, Visiting Associate Professor at Mines Paristech, Interdisciplinary Institute for Innovation, Paris and Section Editor Corporate Governance at the Journal of Business Ethics.
Article

Access_open Commercial Litigation in Europe in Transformation: The Case of the Netherlands Commercial Court

Journal Erasmus Law Review, Issue 1 2019
Keywords international business courts, Netherlands Commercial Court, choice of court, recognition and enforcements of judgements
Authors Eddy Bauw
AbstractAuthor's information

    The judicial landscape in Europe for commercial litigation is changing rapidly. Many EU countries are establishing international business courts or have done so recently. Unmistakably, the approaching Brexit has had an effect on this development. In the last decades England and Wales – more precise, the Commercial Court in London - has built up a leading position as the most popular jurisdiction for resolving commercial disputes. The central question for the coming years will be what effect the new commercial courts in practice will have on the current dominance of English law and the leading position of the London court. In this article I address this question by focusing on the development of a new commercial court in the Netherlands: the Netherlands Commercial Court (NCC).


Eddy Bauw
Professor of Private Law and Administration of Justice at Molengraaff Institute for Private Law and Montaigne Centre for Rule of Law and Administration of Justice, Utrecht University. Substitute judge at the Court of Appeal of Arnhem-Leeuwarden and the Court of Appeal of The Hague.
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.
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