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Editorial

Access_open Legal Control on Social Control of Sex Offenders in the Community: A European Comparative and Human Rights Perspective

Journal Erasmus Law Review, Issue 2 2016
Keywords social control, folk devils, moral panic, dangerousness, sex offenders
Authors Michiel van der Wolf (Issue Editor)
AbstractAuthor's information

    This paper provides first of all the introduction to this special issue on ‘Legal constraints on the indeterminate control of “dangerous” sex offenders in the community: A European comparative and human rights perspective’. The issue is the outcome of a study that aims at finding the way legal control can not only be an instrument but also be a controller of social control. It is explained what social control is and how the concept of moral panic plays a part in the fact that sex offenders seem to be the folk devils of our time and subsequently pre-eminently the target group of social control at its strongest. Further elaboration of the methodology reveals why focussing on post-sentence (indeterminate) supervision is relevant, as there are hardly any legal constraints in place in comparison with measures of preventive detention. Therefore, a comparative approach within Europe is taken on the basis of country reports from England and Wales, France, Germany, The Netherlands and Spain. In the second part of the paper, the comparative analysis is presented. Similar shifts in attitudes towards sex offenders have led to legislation concerning frameworks of supervision in all countries but in different ways. Legal constraints on these frameworks are searched for in legal (sentencing) theory, the principles of proportionality and least intrusive means, and human rights, mainly as provided in the European Convention on Human Rights to which all the studied countries are subject. Finally, it is discussed what legal constraints on the control of sex offenders in the community are (to be) in place in European jurisdictions, based on the analysis of commonalities and differences found in the comparison.


Michiel van der Wolf (Issue Editor)
Ph.D., LL.M, M.Sc., Reader in Criminal Law (Theory) and Forensic Psychiatry at the Erasmus School of Law; Member of the Editorial Board of the Erasmus Law Review.
Article

Access_open Legal Constraints on the Indeterminate Control of ‘Dangerous’ Sex Offenders in the Community: The Spanish Perspective

Journal Erasmus Law Review, Issue 2 2016
Keywords Supervised release, supervision, sex offenders, dangerousness, safety measures, societal upheaval, proportionality
Authors Lucía Martínez Garay and Jorge Correcher Mira
AbstractAuthor's information

    This article presents an overview of the legal regime provided in the Spanish system of criminal sanctions regarding the control of dangerous sex offenders in the community. It focuses on the introduction, in 2010, of a post-prison safety measure named supervised release. We describe the context of its introduction in the Spanish Criminal Code, considering the influence of societal upheaval concerning dangerous sex offenders in its development, and also the historical and theoretical features of the Spanish system of criminal sanctions. We also analyse the legal framework of supervised release, the existing case law about it and how the legal doctrine has until now assessed this measure. After this analysis, the main aim of this article consists in evaluating the effectiveness and the proportionality of the measure, according to the principle of minimal constraints and the rehabilitative function of the criminal sanctions in Spanish law, stated in Article 25.2 of the Spanish Constitution.


Lucía Martínez Garay
Lucía Martínez Garay is a Senior Lecturer at the University of Valencia, Department of Criminal Law.

Jorge Correcher Mira
Jorge Correcher Mira, Ph.D., is an Assistant Lecturer at the University of Valencia, Department of Criminal Law.
Article

Access_open Legal Constraints on the Indeterminate Control of ‘Dangerous’ Sex Offenders in the Community: The German Perspective

Journal Erasmus Law Review, Issue 2 2016
Keywords Supervision, twin track system, principle of proportionality, human rights, violent and sex offenders
Authors Bernd-Dieter Meier
AbstractAuthor's information

    After release from prison or a custodial preventive institution, offenders may come under supervision in Germany, which means that their conduct is controlled for a period of up to five years or even for life by a judicial supervising authority. Supervision is terminated if it can be expected that even in the absence of further supervision the released person will not commit any further offences. From the theoretical point of view, supervision is not considered a form of punishment in Germany, but a preventive measure that is guided by the principle of proportionality. After a presentation of the German twin track system of criminal sanctions and a glimpse at sentencing theory, the capacity of the principle of proportionality to guide and control judicial decisions in the field of preventive sanctions is discussed. The human rights perspective plays only a minor role in the context of supervision in Germany.


Bernd-Dieter Meier
Prof. Dr. Bernd-Dieter Meier is the Chair in Criminal Law and Criminology at the Law Faculty of Leibniz University Hannover.
Article

Access_open Legal Constraints on the Indeterminate Control of ‘Dangerous’ Sex Offenders in the Community: The Dutch Perspective

Journal Erasmus Law Review, Issue 2 2016
Keywords Dutch penal law, preventive supervision, dangerous offenders, human rights, social rehabilitation
Authors Sanne Struijk and Paul Mevis
AbstractAuthor's information

    In the Netherlands, the legal possibilities for post-custodial supervision have been extended considerably in recent years. A currently passed law aims to further increase these possibilities specifically for dangerous (sex) offenders. This law consists of three separate parts that may all result in life-long supervision. In the first two parts, the supervision is embedded in the conditional release after either a prison sentence or the safety measure ‘ter beschikking stelling’ (TBS). This paper focuses on the third part of the law, which introduces an independent supervisory safety measure as a preventive continuation of both a prison sentence and the TBS measure. Inevitably, this new independent sanction raises questions about legitimacy and necessity, on which this paper reflects from a human rights perspective. Against the background of the existing Dutch penal law system, the content of the law is thoroughly assessed in view of the legal framework of the Council of Europe and the legal principles of proportionality and less restrictive means. In the end, we conclude that the supervisory safety measure is not legitimate nor necessary (yet). Apart from the current lack of (empirical evidence of) necessity, we state that there is a real possibility of an infringement of Article 5(4) ECHR and Article 7 ECHR, a lack of legitimising supervision ‘gaps’ in the existing penal law system, and finally a lack of clear legal criteria. Regardless of the potential severity of violent (sex) offenses, to simply justify this supervisory safety measure on the basis of ‘better safe than sorry’ is not enough.


Sanne Struijk
Sanne Struijk, Ph.D., is an Associate Professor at the Erasmus School of Law.

Paul Mevis
Paul Mevis is a Professor at the Erasmus School of Law.
Article

Access_open Legal Constraints on the Indeterminate Control of ‘Dangerous’ Sex Offenders in the Community: The French Perspective

Journal Erasmus Law Review, Issue 2 2016
Keywords Preventive detention, mandatory supervision, sex offenders, retrospective penal laws, legality principle
Authors Martine Herzog-Evans
AbstractAuthor's information

    France literally ‘discovered’ sexual abuse following neighbour Belgium’s Dutroux case in the late 1990s. Since then, sex offenders have been the focus of politicians, media and law-makers’ attention. Further law reforms have aimed at imposing mandatory supervision and treatment, and in rare cases, preventive detention. The legal framework for mandatory supervision and detention is rather complex, ranging from a mixed sentence (custodial and mandatory supervision and treatment upon release or as a stand-alone sentence) to so-called ‘safety measures’, which supposedly do not aim at punishing an offence, but at protecting society. The difference between the concepts of sentences and safety measures is nevertheless rather blurry. In practice, however, courts have used safety measures quite sparingly and have preferred mandatory supervision as attached to a sentence, notably because it is compatible with cardinal legal principles. Procedural constraints have also contributed to this limited use. Moreover, the type of supervision and treatment that can thus be imposed is virtually identical to that of ordinary probation. It is, however, noteworthy that a higher number of offenders with mental health issues who are deemed ‘dangerous’ are placed in special psychiatric units, something that has not drawn much attention on the part of human rights lawyers.


Martine Herzog-Evans
Martine H-Evans, PhD, is a Professor at the Department of Law, Universite de Reims Champagne-Ardenne.
Article

Access_open The Right to Mental Health in the Digital Era

Journal Erasmus Law Review, Issue 3 2016
Keywords E-health, e-mental health, right to health, right to mental health
Authors Fatemeh Kokabisaghi, Iris Bakx and Blerta Zenelaj
AbstractAuthor's information

    People with mental illness usually experience higher rates of disability and mortality. Often, health care systems do not adequately respond to the burden of mental disorders worldwide. The number of health care providers dealing with mental health care is insufficient in many countries. Equal access to necessary health services should be granted to mentally ill people without any discrimination. E-mental health is expected to enhance the quality of care as well as accessibility, availability and affordability of services. This paper examines under what conditions e-mental health can contribute to realising the right to health by using the availability, accessibility, acceptability and quality (AAAQ) framework that is developed by the Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights. Research shows e-mental health facilitates dissemination of information, remote consultation and patient monitoring and might increase access to mental health care. Furthermore, patient participation might increase, and stigma and discrimination might be reduced by the use of e-mental health. However, e-mental health might not increase the access to health care for everyone, such as the digitally illiterate or those who do not have access to the Internet. The affordability of this service, when it is not covered by insurance, can be a barrier to access to this service. In addition, not all e-mental health services are acceptable and of good quality. Policy makers should adopt new legal policies to respond to the present and future developments of modern technologies in health, as well as e-Mental health. To analyse the impact of e-mental health on the right to health, additional research is necessary.


Fatemeh Kokabisaghi
Fatemeh Kokabisaghi, Iris Bakx and Blerta Zenelaj are Ph.D. candidates at the Institute of Health Policy and Management, Erasmus University Rotterdam. All authors contributed equally.

Iris Bakx
Fatemeh Kokabisaghi, Iris Bakx and Blerta Zenelaj are Ph.D. candidates at the Institute of Health Policy and Management, Erasmus University Rotterdam. All authors contributed equally.

Blerta Zenelaj
Fatemeh Kokabisaghi, Iris Bakx and Blerta Zenelaj are Ph.D. candidates at the Institute of Health Policy and Management, Erasmus University Rotterdam. All authors contributed equally.
Article

Access_open The Impact of the Economic Downturn in the Spanish Civil Justice System

Journal Erasmus Law Review, Issue 4 2015
Keywords judiciary, judge-made justice, court fees, legal aid, ADR-methods
Authors Laura Carballo Piñeiro and Jordi Nieva Fenoll
AbstractAuthor's information

    The Spanish justice system has been shaken by the economic downturn as many other institutions have. This article addresses in the first place some statistical data that shed light as regards to the number of judges and the costs and length of the procedure in Spain. These figures help to understand, in the second place, the impact of austerity measures on the judiciary, namely, the freeze on the hiring of judges and the establishing of high court fees. While they mainly concern the supply side of justice services, others such cost reductions in legal aid have had, in the third place, an impact on the demand side, driving many citizens to social exclusion and to resorting to self-defence mechanisms. The final part of this article addresses some remedies that may alleviate judiciary’s workload, but that fall short of doing it. All in all, the Spanish justice system seems to require a holistic approach to patch up edges, but one in which the role of judge-made justice in a democratic society has to be central again.


Laura Carballo Piñeiro
Laura Carballo Piñeiro is Associate Professor of Private International Law at the Common Law Department of the University of Santiago de Compostela.

Jordi Nieva Fenoll
Jordi Nieva Fenoll is Professor of Procedure Law at the Administrative and Procedure Law Department of the University of Barcelona.
Article

Access_open Towards Context-Specific Directors' Duties and Enforcement Mechanisms in the Banking Sector?

Journal Erasmus Law Review, Issue 2 2013
Keywords banking sector, directors' duties, financial crisis, context-specific doctrines, public enforcement
Authors Wasima Khan LL.M.
AbstractAuthor's information

    The global financial crisis gives reason to revisit the debate on directors’ duties in corporate law, mainly with regard to the context of banks. This article explores the need, rationale and the potential for the introduction of context-specific directors’ duties and enforcement mechanisms in the banking sector in the Netherlands from a comparative perspective.
    Chiefly, two legal strategies can be derived from the post-crisis developments and calls for legal reforms for the need and rationale to sharpen directors’ duties in the context of the banking sector in order to meet societal demands. The two strategies consist in shifting the scope of directors’ duties (i) towards clients’ interests and (ii) towards the public interest.
    Subsequently, this article explores the potential for context-specific directors’ duties and accompanying enforcement mechanisms. Firstly, it is argued that the current legal framework allows for the judicial development -specific approach. Secondly, such context-specific directors’ duties should be enforced through public-enforcement mechanisms to enhance the accountability of bank directors towards the public interest but currently there are too much barriers for implementation in practice.
    In conclusion, this article argues that there is indeed a need, rationale and potential for context-specific directors’ duties; yet there are several major obstacles for the implementation of accompanying public-enforcement mechanisms. As a result, the introduction of context-specific directors’ duties in the banking sector may as yet entail nothing more than wishful thinking because it will merely end in toothless ambitions if the lack of accompanying enforcement mechanisms remains intact.


Wasima Khan LL.M.
PhD Candidate at the Erasmus School of Law, Erasmus University Rotterdam. The author wishes to express her gratitude for valuable comments on an earlier draft of this article from Prof. Vino Timmerman and Prof. Bastiaan F. Assink at the Erasmus School of Law, Erasmus University Rotterdam, as well as the Journal‘s editors and peer reviewers. Any errors remain those of the author.

Wim Huisman
Wim Huisman is Professor of Criminology at the Vrije Universiteit of Amsterdam.

Monique Koemans
Monique Koemans MA. MSc is a Ph.D. fellow at the University of Leiden.
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