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Access_open A Critical Appraisal of the Role of Retribution in Malawian Sentencing Jurisprudence

Journal Erasmus Law Review, Issue 3 2017
Keywords sentencing, retribution, just deserts, punishment, Malawi
Authors Esther Gumboh
AbstractAuthor's information

    The theory of retribution is a central tenet in Malawian sentencing jurisprudence. Courts have given expression to retribution in various ways, most conspicuously through the recognition of the principle of proportionality as the most important principle in sentencing. Retribution has permeated courts’ consideration of certain sentencing factors such as the seriousness of the offence, family obligations and public opinion. Overall, retribution rightly plays a pivotal role in Malawian sentencing jurisprudence by elevating the principle of proportionality to the most important principle in sentencing. Malawian courts have also noted that whether in pursuit of retribution or utilitarianism, the ultimate objective is to arrive at a sentence that is just and fair in relation to the crime and the offender. This also ensures that the sentence imposed does not offend the prohibition of cruel, inhuman and degrading punishment.


Esther Gumboh
Esther Gumboh is a postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Cape Town, South Africa.
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Access_open Introduction

Journal Erasmus Law Review, Issue 3 2017
Authors Kristin Henrard
Author's information

Kristin Henrard
Kristin Henrard is Professor of fundamental rights and minorities at the Erasmus School of Law, more particularly the Department of International and EU Law. She teaches courses on advanced public international law, international criminal law, human rights and on minorities and fundamental rights.
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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.
Artikel

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

Journal Erasmus Law Review, Issue 2 2016
Keywords Dangerous, sex offenders, human rights, community supervision, punishment
Authors Nicola Padfield
AbstractAuthor's information

    This article explores the legal constraints imposed on the rising number of so-called ‘dangerous’ sex offenders in England and Wales, in particular once they have been released from prison into the community. The main methods of constraint are strict licence conditions, Multi-Agency Public Protection Arrangements and civil protective orders such as Sexual Harm Prevention Orders. ‘Control’ in the community is thus widespread, but is difficult to assess whether it is either effective or necessary without a great deal more research and analysis. Post-sentence ‘punishment’ has been largely ignored by both academic lawyers and criminologists. The article concludes that financial austerity might prove to be as important as the human rights agenda in curbing the disproportionate use of powers of control.


Nicola Padfield
Nicola Padfield, MA, Dip Crim, DES, Reader in Criminal and Penal Justice, University of Cambridge. I thank Michiel van der Wolf for involving me in this project and for his many useful insights and comments.
Artikel

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.
Artikel

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.
Artikel

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.
Artikel

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.
Artikel

Access_open Harmony, Law and Criminal Reconciliation in China: A Historical Perspective

Journal Erasmus Law Review, Issue 1 2016
Keywords Criminal reconciliation, Confucianism, decentralisation, centralisation
Authors Wei Pei
AbstractAuthor's information

    In 2012, China revised its Criminal Procedure Law (2012 CPL). One of the major changes is its official approval of the use of victim-offender reconciliation, or ‘criminal reconciliation’ in certain public prosecution cases. This change, on the one hand, echoes the Confucian doctrine that favours harmonious inter-personal relationships and mediation, while, on the other hand, it deviates from the direction of legal reforms dating from the 1970s through the late 1990s. Questions have emerged concerning not only the cause of this change in legal norms but also the proper position of criminal reconciliation in the current criminal justice system in China. The answers to these questions largely rely on understanding the role of traditional informal dispute resolution as well as its interaction with legal norms. Criminal reconciliation in ancient China functioned as a means to centralise imperial power by decentralizing decentralising its administration. Abolishing or enabling such a mechanism in law is merely a small part of the government’s strategy to react to political or social crises and to maintain social stability. However, its actual effect depends on the vitality of Confucianism, which in turn relies on the economic foundation and corresponding structure of society.


Wei Pei
Wei Pei, Ph.D., is an Associate Professor at the Beihang School of Law in the Beihang University.
Artikel

Access_open Austerity’s Effect on English Civil Justice

Journal Erasmus Law Review, Issue 4 2015
Keywords Austerity, court fees and legal aid, adversarial and inquisitorial process, McKenzie Friends, simplified process
Authors John Sorabji
AbstractAuthor's information

    This article considers the effect of austerity-induced public spending cuts on the English civil justice system. In doing so it initially examines two fundamental changes engendered by the effect austerity has had on civil court fees and legal aid: first, a challenge to the traditional commitment in English procedure to adversarial process, and a concomitant increase in inquisitorial or investigative processes; and secondly, the growth in use of unqualified individuals to act as advocates in court for individual litigants who are unable to afford legal representation. It then turns to consider what, if any, effect austerity has had on simplified processes available in English civil procedure.


John Sorabji
DPhil, Senior Fellow, UCL Judicial Institute, University College, London, email: j.sorabji@ucl.ac.uk.

    The doctrinal methodology is in a period of change and transition. Realising that the scope of the doctrinal method is too constricting, academic lawyers are becoming eclectic in their use of research method. In this transitional time, legal scholars are increasingly infusing evidence (and methods) from other disciplines into their reasoning to bolster their reform recommendations.
    This article considers three examples of the interplay of the discipline of law with other disciplines in the pursuit of law reform. Firstly the article reviews studies on the extent of methodologies and reformist frameworks in PhD research in Australia. Secondly it analyses a ‘snapshot’ of recently published Australian journal articles on criminal law reform. Thirdly, it focuses on the law reform commissions, those independent government committees that play such an important role in law reform in common law jurisdictions.
    This examination demonstrates that while the doctrinal core of legal scholarship remains intact, legal scholars are endeavouring to accommodate statistics, comparative perspectives, social science evidence and methods, and theoretical analysis, within the legal research framework, in order to provide additional ballast to the recommendations for reform.


Terry Hutchinson
Associate Professor, Faculty of Law, QUT Law School (t.hutchinson@qut.edu.au); Marika Chang (QUT Law School) was the research assistant on this project.
Artikel

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.
Artikel

Access_open International Criminal Law and Constitutionalisation

On Hegemonic Narratives in Progress

Journal Erasmus Law Review, Issue 1 2013
Keywords hegemony, constitutionalism, constitutionalisation, international criminal law
Authors Marjan Ajevski
AbstractAuthor's information

    As we move towards constructing narratives regarding the future outlook of global governance, constitutionalisation among them, the hope is that whatever shape this world order takes it will, somehow, forestall or hinder the possibility of a hegemonic order. This article tries to deconstruct the notion of hegemony and claims that as it currently stands it is useless in doing its critical work since every successful narrative will end up being hegemonic because it will employ the ‘hegemonic technique’ of presenting a particular value (or value system), a particular viewpoint, as universal or at least applying to those who do not share it. The only way for a narrative in this discourse not to be hegemonic would be for it to be either truly universal and find a perspective that stems from nowhere and everywhere – a divine perspective – or purely descriptive; the first being an impossibility for fallible beings and the other not worth engaging with since it has nothing to say about how things should be structured or decided in a specific situation.


Marjan Ajevski
Post-Doctoral research fellow part of the MultiRights project – an ERC Advanced Grant on the Legitimacy of Multi-Level Human Rights Judiciary – <www.MultiRights.net>; and PluriCourts, a Research Council of Norway Centre of Excellence – <www.PluriCourts.net>, Norwegian Centre of Human Rights, Faculty of Law, University of Oslo. I can be contacted at marjan.ajevski@nchr.uio.no.
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