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Article

Access_open The Right to Same-Sex Marriage: Assessing the European Court of Human Rights’ Consensus-Based Analysis in Recent Judgments Concerning Equal Marriage Rights

Journal Erasmus Law Review, Issue 3 2017
Keywords same-sex marriage, gay marriage, European consensus, margin of appreciation, consensus-based analysis by the ECtHR
Authors Masuma Shahid
AbstractAuthor's information

    This contribution assesses the consensus-based analysis and reasoning of the European Court of Human Rights in recent judgments concerning equal marriage rights and compares it to the Court’s past jurisprudence on European consensus and the margin of appreciation awarded to Member States regarding the issue of equal marriage rights. The contribution aims to analyse whether there is a parallel to be seen between the rapid global trend of legalisation of same-sex marriage and the development or evolution of the case law of the ECtHR on the same topic. Furthermore, it demonstrates that the Court’s consensus-based analysis is problematic for several reasons and provides possible alternative approaches to the balancing of the Court between, on the one hand, protecting rights of minorities (in this case same-sex couples invoking equal marriage rights) under the European Convention on Human Rights and, on the other hand, maintaining its credibility, authority and legitimacy towards Member States that might disapprove of the evolving case law in the context of same-sex relationships. It also offers insights as to the future of European consensus in the context of equal marriage rights and ends with some concluding remarks.


Masuma Shahid
Lecturer, Department of International and European Union Law, Erasmus School of Law, Rotterdam.
Article

Access_open Religious Freedom of Members of Old and New Minorities: A Double Comparison

Journal Erasmus Law Review, Issue 3 2017
Keywords ECtHR, UNHRC, religious manifestations, religious minorities, empirical analysis
Authors Fabienne Bretscher
AbstractAuthor's information

    Confronted with cases of restrictions of the right to manifest religious beliefs of new religious minorities formed by recent migration movements, the ECtHR and the UNHRC seem to opt for different interpretations and applications of this right, as recent conflicting decisions show. Based on an empirical legal analysis of the two bodies’ decisions on individual complaints, this article finds that these conflicting decisions are part of a broader divergence: While the UNHRC functions as a protector of new minorities against States’ undue interference in their right to manifest their religion, the ECtHR leaves it up to States how to deal with religious diversity brought by new minorities. In addition, a quantitative analysis of the relevant case law showed that the ECtHR is much less likely to find a violation of the right to freedom of religion in cases brought by new religious minorities as opposed to old religious minorities. Although this could be a hint towards double standards, a closer look at the examined case law reveals that the numerical differences can be explained by the ECtHR’s weaker protection of religious manifestations in the public as opposed to the private sphere. Yet, this rule has an important exception: Conscientious objection to military service. By examining the development of the relevant case law, this article shows that this exception bases on a recent alteration of jurisprudence by the ECtHR and that there are similar prospects for change regarding other religious manifestations in the public sphere.


Fabienne Bretscher
PhD candidate at the University of Zurich.
Article

Access_open The Integrity of the Tax System after BEPS: A Shared Responsibility

Journal Erasmus Law Review, Issue 1 2017
Keywords flawed legislation, tax privileges, tax planning, corporate social responsibility, tax professionals
Authors Hans Gribnau
AbstractAuthor's information

    The international tax system is the result of the interaction of different actors who share the responsibility for its integrity. States and multinational corporations both enjoy to a certain extent freedom of choice with regard to their tax behaviour – which entails moral responsibility. Making, interpreting and using tax rules therefore is inevitably a matter of exercising responsibility. Both should abstain from viewing tax laws as a bunch of technical rules to be used as a tool without any intrinsic moral or legal value. States bear primary responsibility for the integrity of the international tax system. They should become more reticent in their use of tax as regulatory instrument – competing with one another for multinationals’ investment. They should also act more responsibly by cooperating to make better rules to prevent aggressive tax planning, which entails a shift in tax payments from very expert taxpayers to other taxpayers. Here, the distributive justice of the tax system and a level playing field should be guaranteed. Multinationals should abstain from putting pressure on states and lobbying for favourable tax rules that disproportionally affect other taxpayers – SMEs and individual taxpayers alike. Multinationals and their tax advisers should avoid irresponsible conduct by not aiming to pay a minimalist amount of (corporate income) taxes – merely staying within the boundaries of the letter of the law. Especially CSR-corporations should assume the responsibility for the integrity of the tax system.


Hans Gribnau
Professor of Tax Law, Fiscal Institute and the Center for Company Law, Tilburg University; Professor of Tax Law, Leiden University, The Netherlands.

    This article sets out to contribute to the special issue devoted to multi-disciplinary legal research by discussing first the limits of purely doctrinal legal research in relation to a particular topic and second the relevant considerations in devising research that (inter alia) draws on non-legal, auxiliary disciplines to ‘fill in’ and guide the legal framework. The topic concerned is the (analysis of the) fundamental rights of minorities.
    The article starts with a long account of the flaws in the current legal analysis of the European Court of Human Rights regarding minorities’ rights, particularly the reduction in its analysis and the related failure to properly identify and weigh all relevant interests and variables. This ‘prelude’ provides crucial insights in the causes of the flaws in the Court’s jurisprudence: lack of knowledge (about the relevant interests and variables) and concerns with the Court’s political legitimacy.
    The article goes on to argue for the need for multi-disciplinary legal research to tackle the lack of knowledge: more particularly by drawing on sociology (and related social sciences) and political philosophy as auxiliary disciplines to identify additional interests and variables for the rights analysis. The ensuing new analytical framework for the analysis of minorities’ rights would benefit international courts (adjudicating on human rights) generally. To operationalise and refine the new analytical framework, the research should furthermore have regard to the practice of (a selection of) international courts and national case studies.


Kristin Henrard
Professor of minorities and fundamental rights at the Erasmus School of Law.
Article

Access_open Expounding the Place of Legal Doctrinal Methods in Legal-Interdisciplinary Research

Experiences with Studying the Practice of Independent Accountability Mechanisms at Multilateral Development Banks

Journal Erasmus Law Review, Issue 3 2015
Authors Andria Naudé Fourie
AbstractAuthor's information

    There is a distinct place for legal doctrinal methods in legal-interdisciplinary research methodologies, but there is value to be had in expounding that place – in developing a deeper understanding, for instance, of what legal doctrinal analysis has to offer, wherein lies its limitations, and how it could work in concert with methods and theories from disciplinary areas other than law. This article offers such perspectives, based on experiences with an ‘advanced’ legal-interdisciplinary methodology, which facilitates a long-term study of the growing body of practice generated by citizen-driven, independent accountability mechanisms (IAMs) that are institutionally affiliated with multilateral development banks. The article demonstrates how legal doctrinal methods have contributed towards the design and development of a multipurpose IAM-practice database. This database constitutes the analytical platform of the research project and also facilitates the integration of various types of research questions, methods and theories.


Andria Naudé Fourie
Research Associate, Erasmus University Rotterdam, School of Law.
Article

Access_open Legal Advice in Police Custody: From Europe to a Local Police Station

Journal Erasmus Law Review, Issue 4 2014
Keywords legal advice, police interrogation, European Union, England and Wales, France
Authors Anna Ogorodova and Taru Spronken
AbstractAuthor's information

    In October 2013, the European Union adopted a Directive, which guarantees, inter alia, the right of access to a lawyer to suspects of criminal offences from the outset of police custody and during police interrogation. However, adoption of the relevant legislation is not sufficient to ensure that this right becomes effective in practice. A range of practical measures will have to be taken by the Member States’ authorities and the legal profession to effectuate the implementation of the right to custodial legal advice. This article aims to identify the practical factors that may influence the implementation of the Directive, based on the findings of a recent normative and empirical study conducted by the authors. The research was carried out in four European jurisdictions (England and Wales, France, the Netherlands and Scotland), and it consisted of analysis of regulations, observations of daily practice in police stations, accompanying lawyers who provided custodial legal advice, and interviews with criminal justice practitioners. The article provides a range of recommendations on the practical measures to be undertaken by the EU Member States and national Bar associations aiming at improving the protection of suspects’ rights in police custody in practice.


Anna Ogorodova
Anna Ogorodova, LLM is PhD researcher at the University of Maastricht.

Taru Spronken
Dr Taru Spronken is Professor of Criminal Law and Criminal Procedure at Maastricht University and Advocate General at the Supreme Court in the Netherlands.
Article

Access_open Legal Assistance and Police Interrogation

(Problematic Aspects of) Dutch Criminal Procedure in Relation to European Union and the Council of Europe

Journal Erasmus Law Review, Issue 4 2014
Keywords Legal assistance, police interrogation, Dutch Criminal Proceedings, EU Directive
Authors Paul Mevis and Joost Verbaan
AbstractAuthor's information

    This paper discusses the rise of a fundamental issue in Dutch criminal proceedings. The presence of a lawyer prior to and during police interrogations has for a long time been a matter open for debate in the Netherlands. Allowing legal assistance during and prior to police interrogations has been researched on several occasions in the previous century and the beginning of this century. In the Netherlands, one of the most important reasons for not admitting legal assistance was and is founded in the confident reliance on the professionalism and integrity of police officers and justice officials in dealing with the interests of suspects. However, after the Salduz case (ECHR 27 November 2008, Appl. No. 36391/02, Salduz v. Turkey), the Dutch government was compelled to draft legal provisions in order to facilitate legal assistance during and prior to police interrogations. The initial drafts still contained a hesitant approach on admitting the lawyer to the actual interrogation. The EU-Directive of November 2013 (Pb EU 2013, L249) set out further reaching standards compelling the Dutch government to create new drafts. In a ruling of April 2014, the Dutch Supreme Court (ECLI:NL:2014:770) argued that the judgements of the ECtHR were too casuistic to derive an absolute right to have a lawyer present during police interrogation. However, they urged the legislator to draft legislation on this matter and warned that its judgement in this could be altered in future caused by legal developments. The Dutch legislator already proposed new draft legislation in February. In this paper it is examined whether the provisions of the new drafts meet the standards as set out in the EU-Directive as well as by the ECtHR.


Paul Mevis
Paul Mevis is Professor of Criminal Law and Criminal Procedure at the Faculty of Law of the Erasmus. He has been a visiting professor at the universities of Münster, Mmabato (South Africa) and in Moldavia, the Ukrain and in Frankfurt an der Oder. Besides his academic activities, Paul Mevis is Honorary Judge at the Criminal Court of Rotterdam and Honorary Judge at the Court of Appeal in Amsterdam, since 1994 and 1998 respectively. He has been parttime Judge at the Court of Arnhem (1990-1994) and is member of the Commission of Supervision of prisons (2006-2008). Paul Mevis is also member of the board of editors of several journals in the field of criminal law and human rights law and commentator for the journal ‘Nederlandse Jurisprudentie’ on criminal cases. He was chairman of the ‘Commissie Strafvordelijke gegevensvergaring in de informatiemaatschappij’ (2000-2001), of which the report has lead to the Bill of the same name. He is a member of the School of Human Rights Research and the Research School on Safety and Security in Society.

Joost Verbaan
Mr. J.H.J. (Joost) Verbaan is an assistant-professor at the Erasmus School of Law of the Erasmus Universiteit Rotterdam. He teaches Criminal Law and Criminal Procedure law. Mr. Verbaan is the Managing Director of the Erasmus Center for Police Studies (ECPS). The ECPS organises courses on criminal and criminal procedure law for law enforcement agencies as well as the prosecution. Mr. Verbaan has been involved in many researches in the practical field of investigation. He has taken part in the research for the Governmental Institute of Scientific Research and Documentation on the effects of the presence of an attorney during the first police interrogation.For the same institute together with professor Mevis he researched the Modalities of Serving in comparative law perspective.He served the secretary of the Committee to draft a new Dutch Antillean Criminal Code and served the secretary of the Committee to draft a new Criminal Code for Aruba, Sint Maarten and Curacao. He served the secretary of the Committee to Draft a common Criminal Procedure Code in the Caribbean regions of Aruba, Curacao , Sint Maarten and the BES-territories. In the republic of Surinam Mr. Verbaan has worked in the legal advisory board of the Committee founded in order to codify a new Criminal Code for the republic of Surinam.

    The Rome I Regulation on the law applicable to contractual obligations contains several provisions aimed explicitly at the protection of ‘weaker’ contracting parties, such as consumers and employees. However, in addition to this, the interests of weaker parties are sometimes also safeguarded through the application of ‘overriding mandatory provisions’, which are superimposed on the law applicable to the contract to protect a fundamental interest of a Member State. This article is an attempt to clarify the extent to which the concept of overriding mandatory provisions may serve as a vehicle for weaker party protection. To do this, it examines the definition and limitations of the concept and its relation to conflict of laws rules based on the protective principle. Finally, the article seeks to establish whether the doctrine of overriding mandatory provisions remains relevant in the case of harmonisation of substantive law at the EU level, for which it will differentiate between full and minimum harmonisation.


Laura Maria van Bochove Ph.D.
Assistant professor in the Department of Private International and Comparative Law at the Erasmus School of Law. The author would like to thank the reviewers for their comments.
Article

Access_open Human Rights Courts Interpreting Sustainable Development: Balancing Individual Rights and the Collective Interest

Journal Erasmus Law Review, Issue 2 2013
Keywords Operationalizing sustainable development, human rights, individual rights/interests, collective rights/interests, human rights courts
Authors Emelie Folkesson MA
AbstractAuthor's information

    This article uses a generally accepted conceptualisation of sustainable development that can be operationalized in a judicial context. It focuses on the individual and collective dimensions of the environmental, economic and social pillars, as well as the consideration of inter-generational and intra-generational equity. Case law from the European, African and American systems is analysed to reveal if the elements of sustainable development have been incorporated in their jurisprudence. The analysis reveals that the human rights bodies have used different interpretative methods, some more progressive than others, in order to incorporate the elements of sustainable development in the scope of their mandate, even if they do not mention the concept as such. The overall conclusion is that sustainable development has been operationalized through human rights courts to a certain extent. Sometimes, however, a purely individualised approach to human rights creates a hurdle to further advance sustainable development. The conclusion creates the impression that sustainable development is not just a concept on paper, but that it in fact can be operationalized, also in other courts and quasi-courts. Moreover, it shows that the institutional structure of human rights courts has been used in other areas than pure human rights protection, which means that other areas of law might make use of it to fill the gap of a non-existing court structure.


Emelie Folkesson MA
PhD Candidate in public international law, Erasmus University Rotterdam. The author would like to thank Prof. Ellen Hey, Prof. Klaus Heine and two anonymous reviewers for their valuable insights and constructive comments on the drafts of this article. The usual disclaimer applies.

Kristin Henrard
Professor of Minority Protection and Associate Professor of Constitutional Law and Human Rights, Erasmus University Rotterdam.

Ellie Palmer
Ellie Palmer is a Senior Lecturer in the School of Law and member of the Human Rights Centre at the University of Essex.

Mónika Ambrus
PhD Candidate, Erasmus School of Law, Rotterdam. I am deeply grateful to Professor J. Gerards, K. Henrard and M. Busstra for their constructive and valuable comments and suggestions. The usual disclaimer applies.

Roel de Lange
Dr. Roel de Lange is Professor of Constitutional and Administrative Law and Director of the Human Rights Research Programme, School of Law, Erasmus University Rotterdam. The author is grateful to Dr. K.A.M. Henrard and to an anonymous reviewer for the Erasmus Law Review.
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