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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 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 Is the CJEU discriminating in age discrimination cases?

Journal Erasmus Law Review, Issue 1 2020
Keywords age discrimination, old people, young people, complete life view, fair innings argument
Authors Beryl ter Haar
AbstractAuthor's information

    Claims have been made that the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) is more lenient in accepting age discriminating measures affecting older people than in those affecting younger people. This claim is scrutinised in this article, first, by making a quantitative analysis of the outcomes of the CJEU’s case law on age discrimination cases, followed by a qualitative analysis of the line of reasoning of the CJEU in these cases and concluding with an evaluation of the Court’s reasoning against three theoretical approaches that set the context for the assessment of the justifications of age discrimination: complete life view, fair innings argument and typical anti-discrimination approach. The analysis shows that the CJEU relies more on the complete life view approach to assess measures discriminating old people and the fair innings argument approach to assess measures discriminating young people. This results in old people often having to accept disadvantageous measures and young workers often being treated more favourably.


Beryl ter Haar
Beryl ter Haar is assistant professor and academic coordinator of the Advanced LL.M. Global and European Labour Law at Leiden University and visiting professor at the University of Warsaw.
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 Modern Intellectual Property Governance and Openness in Europe: A Long and Winding Road?

Journal Erasmus Law Review, Issue 2 2019
Keywords Intellectual Property, governance, data sharing
Authors Nikos Koutras
AbstractAuthor's information

    In the last decade a trend towards more ‘openness’ in terms of collaborations and access to knowledge has been observed in many different sectors and contexts. Along the spectrum of openness one can find many different varieties, such as open innovation, co-creation, open science (combined with open access and open data) and open source. Even traditionally rather ‘closed’ actors, such as publishing houses and the pharmaceutical industry, are gradually catching up and are trying to develop mechanisms to cope with this trend towards openness. Both public and private actors encounter challenges in combining this trend towards openness with the management of intellectual property rights (IPRs). Although a strong willingness may exist to collaborate, open up and share knowledge and data, IPRs often create boundaries and limitations towards cutting-edge collaborations and initiatives for openness and sharing. Over time, companies, universities, public research organisations, etc. have developed certain models to allow for openness while safeguarding ways to protect their IPRs. Yet the legal framework is often lagging behind and does not appear to reflect the socio-economic trend towards openness; in many jurisdictions, changes to IP legislation have rather focused on strengthening of the rights of IP owners. But this is not necessarily a problem as stakeholders tend to find workarounds in their day-to-day practice. This special issue aims to further the discussion about modern governance of IPRs in Europe and to explore different perspectives on how openness could be operationalised within the context of IP protection.


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

Access_open Text and Data Mining in the EU ‘Acquis Communautaire’ Tinkering with TDM & Digital Legal Deposit

Journal Erasmus Law Review, Issue 2 2019
Keywords Web harvesting, data analysis, text & data mining, TDM, computational text
Authors Maria Bottis, Marinos Papadopoulos, Christos Zampakolas e.a.
AbstractAuthor's information

    Text and Data Mining (hereinafter, TDM) issue for the purpose of scientific research or for any other purpose which is included in the provisions of the new EU Directive on Copyright in the Digital Single Market (hereinafter, DSM). TDM is a term that includes Web harvesting and Web Archiving activities. Web harvesting and archiving pertains to the processes of collecting from the web and archiving of works that reside on the Web. In the following analysis we will elaborate briefly upon provisions in EU Copyright law which were discussed during the proposal for a new Directive on Copyright in the DSM as well as provisions which are included in the text of art.3 and art.4 of the new Directive 2019/790/EU per TDM. In addition, the following analysis presents legislation in very few EU Member States which pertains to TDM and preceded the rulings of Directive 2019/790/EU. Digital legal deposit remarkable examples from EU Member States are also presented in this paper. The example of Australia is also presented below hereto because it is one of the oldest and most successful worldwide. The National Library of Australia’s digital legal deposit is state-of-the-art.


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

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

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

Paraskevi Ganatsiou
Educator, MA, BA, Coordinator of Educational Projects in the Prefecture of Ionian Islands, Corfu, Greece.

    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 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 International Commercial Courts in France: Innovation without Revolution?

Journal Erasmus Law Review, Issue 1 2019
Keywords international commercial court, dispute resolution, business court, Brexit, judicial system
Authors Alexandre Biard
AbstractAuthor's information

    In 2018, in the wake of Brexit, the French legal profession took several important measures to strengthen the competitiveness of France and the French legal system, and to make Paris an attractive go-to-point for businesses when the latter have to deal with international commercial litigation. When taking a closer look at it, Brexit is only the top of the iceberg, and has mostly served as a catalyst. Reasons explaining the development of international commercial courts in France are manifold. They are consequences of long-standing efforts aimed at boosting the French judicial marketplace to adapt it to the requirements of globalization and to the expectations of multinational corporations. The setting-up of the French international business courts has made several procedural adjustments necessary. Although the latter undoubtedly represent clear innovations, they however do not constitute a full-blown revolution. France has indeed decided to maximize already-existing procedural rules, combined with a new organisational format inspired by the Common Law tradition. If it remains too early to draw clear conclusions on the impact of these new developments, it is essential to keep our ears to the ground, and to be forward-looking. We should carefully consider the possible side-effects on the French justice system considered as a whole, and in particular wonder whether these international commercial courts might in the future open the door to broader far-reaching evolutions within the judicial system. Finally, the multiplication of international business courts across Europe nowadays triggers some questions concerning the role and potential added value of an EU initiative in this domain.


Alexandre Biard
Postdoctoral researcher, Erasmus University Rotterdam.
Article

Access_open The Conduit between Technological Change and Regulation

Journal Erasmus Law Review, Issue 3 2018
Keywords technology, socio-technological change, money, windmill, data
Authors Marta Katarzyna Kołacz and Alberto Quintavalla
AbstractAuthor's information

    This article discusses how the law has approached disparate socio-technological innovations over the centuries. Precisely, the primary concern of this paper is to investigate the timing of regulatory intervention. To do so, the article makes a selection of particular innovations connected with money, windmills and data storage devices, and analyses them from a historical perspective. The individual insights from the selected innovations should yield a more systematic view on regulation and technological innovations. The result is that technological changes may be less momentous, from a regulatory standpoint, than social changes.


Marta Katarzyna Kołacz
Marta Katarzyna Kołacz, Ph.D. Candidate in the Department of Private Law, Erasmus School of Law, Erasmus University Rotterdam, The Netherlands.

Alberto Quintavalla
Alberto Quintavalla, LL.M., Ph.D. Candidate in the Rotterdam Institute of Law and Economics, Erasmus School of Law, Erasmus University Rotterdam, The Netherlands.
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 ‘A Continuous Process of Becoming’: The Relevance of Qualitative Research into the Storylines of Law

Journal Erasmus Law Review, Issue 2 2018
Keywords storylines of law, qualitative research, law in action, law in books
Authors Danielle Antoinette Marguerite Chevalier
AbstractAuthor's information

    The maxim ‘law in books and law in action’ relays an implicit dichotomy, and though the constitutive nature of law is nowadays commonly professed, the reflex remains to use law in books as an autonomous starting point. Law however, it is argued in this article, has a storyline that commences before its institutional formalisation. Law as ‘a continuous process of becoming’ encompasses both law in books and law in action, and law in action encompasses timelines both before and after the formal coming about of law. To fully understand law, it is necessary to understand the entire storyline of law. Qualitative studies in law and society are well equipped to offer valuable insights on the facets of law outside the books. The insights are not additional to doctrinal understanding, but part and parcel of it. To illustrate this, an ethnographic case study of local bylaws regulating an ethnically diverse public space of everyday life is expanded upon. The case study is used to demonstrate the insights qualitative data yields with regard to the dynamics in which law comes about, and how these dynamics continue for law in action after law has made the books. This particular case study moreover exemplifies how law is one of many truths in the context in which it operates, and how formalised law is reflective of the power constellations that have brought it forth.


Danielle Antoinette Marguerite Chevalier
Dr. mr. Danielle Antoinette Marguerite Chevalier, PhD, is assistant professor at Leiden University, The Netherlands.

Peter Mascini
Erasmus University Rotterdam, Erasmus School of Law. Corresponding author. Sanders building, 7 West, P.O. Box 1738, 3000 DR, Rotterdam, The Netherlands, pmascini@gmail.com.

Wibo van Rossum
Erasmus University Rotterdam, Erasmus School of Law.
Article

Access_open Making Sense of the Law and Society Movement

Journal Erasmus Law Review, Issue 2 2018
Keywords law and society, sociology of law, sociolegal, empirical legal studies
Authors Daniel Blocq and Maartje van der Woude
AbstractAuthor's information

    This article aims to deepen scholarly understanding of the Law and Society Movement (L&S) and thereby strengthen debates about the relation between Empirical Legal Studies (ELS) and L&S. The article departs from the observation that ELS, understood as an initiative that emerged in American law schools in the early 2000s, has been quite successful in generating more attention to the empirical study of law and legal institutions in law schools, both in- and outside the US. In the early years of its existence, L&S – another important site for the empirical study of law and legal institutions – also had its center of gravity inside the law schools. But over time, it shifted towards the social sciences. This article discusses how that happened, and more in general explains how L&S became ever more diverse in terms of substance, theory and methods.


Daniel Blocq
Daniel Blocq is assistant professor at Leiden Law School.

Maartje van der Woude
Maartje van der Woude is professor at Leiden Law School.
Article

Access_open Empirical Legal Research in Europe: Prevalence, Obstacles, and Interventions

Journal Erasmus Law Review, Issue 2 2018
Keywords empirical legal research, Europe, popularity, increase, journals
Authors Gijs van Dijck, Shahar Sverdlov and Gabriela Buck
AbstractAuthor's information

    Empirical Legal research (ELR) has become well established in the United States, whereas its popularity in Europe is debatable. This article explores the popularity of ELR in Europe. The authors carried out an empirical analysis of 78 European-based law journals, encompassing issues from 2008-2017. The findings demonstrate that a supposed increase of ELR is questionable (at best).
    Moreover, additional findings highlight:

    • An increase for a few journals, with a small number of other journals showing a decrease over time;

    • A higher percentage of empirical articles for extra-legal journals than for legal journals (average proportion per journal is 4.6 percent for legal journals, 18.9 percent for extra-legal journals);

    • Criminal justice journals, environmental journals, and economically oriented journals being more likely to publish empirical articles than other journals;

    • More prestigious journals being more likely to publish empirical articles than less-prestigious journals;

    • Older journals being more likely to publish empirical work than younger journals, but not at an increasing rate;

    • Journals being legal/extra-legal, journals in a specific field, journal ranking, or the age of the journal not making it more (or less) likely that the journal will publish empirical articles at an increasing (or decreasing) rate.
      Considering the lack of convincing evidence indicating an increase of ELR, we identify reasons for why ELR is seemingly becoming more popular but not resulting in more empirical research in Europe. Additionally, we explore interventions for overcoming the obstacles ELR currently faces.


Gijs van Dijck
Professor of Private Law at Maastricht University, the Netherlands.

Shahar Sverdlov
Law student at the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, the Netherlands.

Gabriela Buck
Law student at Maastricht University, the Netherlands.
Article

Access_open Evidence-Based Regulation and the Translation from Empirical Data to Normative Choices: A Proportionality Test

Journal Erasmus Law Review, Issue 2 2018
Keywords evidence-based, regulation, proportionality, empirical law studies, law and society studies
Authors Rob van Gestel and Peter van Lochem
AbstractAuthor's information

    Studies have shown that the effects of scientific research on law and policy making are often fairly limited. Different reasons can be given for this: scientists are better at falsifying hypothesis than at predicting the future, the outcomes of academic research and empirical evidence can be inconclusive or even contradictory, the timing of the legislative cycle and the production of research show mismatches, there can be clashes between the political rationality and the economic or scientific rationality in the law making process et cetera. There is one ‘wicked’ methodological problem, though, that affects all regulatory policy making, namely: the ‘jump’ from empirical facts (e.g. there are too few organ donors in the Netherlands and the voluntary registration system is not working) to normative recommendations of what the law should regulate (e.g. we need to change the default rule so that everybody in principle becomes an organ donor unless one opts out). We are interested in how this translation process takes place and whether it could make a difference if the empirical research on which legislative drafts are build is more quantitative type of research or more qualitative. That is why we have selected two cases in which either type of research played a role during the drafting phase. We use the lens of the proportionality principle in order to see how empirical data and scientific evidence are used by legislative drafters to justify normative choices in the design of new laws.


Rob van Gestel
Rob van Gestel is professor of theory and methods of regulation at Tilburg University.

Peter van Lochem
Dr. Peter van Lochem is jurist and sociologist and former director of the Academy for Legislation.

    In May 2017, the Ogiek indigenous community of Kenya successfully challenged the denial of their land and associated rights before the African Court of Human and Peoples Rights (‘the Court’). In the first indigenous peoples’ rights case considered the Court, and by far the largest ever case it has had to consider, the Court found violations of Articles 1, 2, 8, 14, 17 (2) and (3), 21 and 22 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights (‘the African Charter’). It therefore created a major legal precedent. In addition, the litigation itself and Ogiek’s participation in the various stages of the legal process provided a model for community engagement, through which the Ogiek were empowered to better understand and advocate for their rights. This article will first explain the history of the case and the Court’s findings, and then move on to examine in further detail methods employed to build the Ogiek’s capacity throughout, and even beyond, the litigation.


Lucy Claridge
Legal Director, Minority Rights Group International.
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