Search result: 104 articles

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Article

Access_open A Comparative Perspective on the Protection of Hate Crime Victims in the European Union

New Developments in Criminal Procedures in the EU Member States

Journal Erasmus Law Review, Issue 3 2021
Keywords hate crime, victims, victim rights, procedural justice, EU Member States, criminal procedure
Authors Suzan van der Aa, Robin Hofmann and Jacques Claessen
AbstractAuthor's information

    Hate crime victims involved in a criminal procedure experience difficulties that are different from problems encountered by other victims. In trying to meet the specific procedural needs of hate crime victims many EU Member States have introduced protective measures and services in criminal proceedings, but the adopted approaches are widely disparate. By reporting the results of an EU-wide comparative survey into hate crime victims within national criminal procedures the authors aim to: (1) make an inventory of the national (legal) definitions of hate crime and the protection measures available (on paper) for hate crime victims; and (2) critically discuss certain national choices, inter alia by juxtaposing the procedural measures to the procedural needs of hate crime victims to see if there are any lacunae from a victimological perspective. The authors conclude that the Member States should consider expanding their current corpus of protection measures in order to address some of the victims’ most urgent needs.


Suzan van der Aa
Suzan van der Aa, PhD, is Professor of Criminal Law at Maastricht University, the Netherlands.

Robin Hofmann
Robin Hofmann is Assistant Professor at Maastricht University, the Netherlands.

Jacques Claessen
Jacques Claessen is Professor at Maastricht University, the Netherands.
Article

Access_open Ruled by Fear or Safety-Related Empowerment

The Experience and Meaning of Penal Protection Orders in Intimate Partner Violence in the Netherlands

Journal Erasmus Law Review, Issue 3 2021
Keywords intimate partner violence, stalking, protection orders, empowerment, safety, well-being
Authors Irma W.M. Cleven
AbstractAuthor's information

    This study uses a novel approach to understand the experience and meaning of unsafety and the contribution of penal protection orders to victim empowerment in cases of intimate partner violence (IPV). In ten in-depth interviews, IPV survivors reflect on their relationship with their ex-partner and the previous years in which the order against their ex-partner was issued, including its role within the wider process of coming to terms with IPV victimisation and moving on. Depending on expectations of protection orders (POs) enforcement and deterrence, POs enhance one’s safety-related self-efficacy and result in a sense of empowerment. Its meaning can be understood in terms of one’s power from the ex-partner, power to act, status vis-à-vis the offender and the wider community, care/help of the CJS, and unity/togetherness with the wider community. Several implications for theoretical and empirical research and practice are discussed.


Irma W.M. Cleven
Irma W.M. Cleven, MSc, is PhD Candidate at the Department of Criminology of the Erasmus University Rotterdam, the Netherlands.
Article

Access_open Victims’ Fundamental Need for Safety and Privacy and the Role of Legislation and Empirical Evidence

Journal Erasmus Law Review, Issue 3 2021
Keywords needs for safety, victim impact statements, legislation, Empirical Legal Studies, privacy protection
Authors Marijke Malsch
AbstractAuthor's information

    Various laws, guidelines and other types of regulation have been created that introduced new rights worldwide for victims of crime. Many of these rights focus on active victims who wish to step into the open and to orally express their views and experiences in court. Rights and wishes to remain in the background and to preserve one’s privacy received less attention. This article focuses primarily on the wishes of victims that reveal their intention to not play an active role in the criminal process, and on victims who fear an invasion of their safety and privacy. According to the literature, such wishes and needs can be considered to be fundamental. The article questions the empirical basis for the present victim legislation: are the new laws that have been created over the decades founded on empirically established victim needs, or on presumed victim needs? The article concludes with a plea for a more extensive use of empirical findings that shed light on victim wishes in the legislation and the criminal process.


Marijke Malsch
Marijke Malsch is Professor of Empirical Legal Studies at Open Universiteit Netherlands.
Article

Access_open Dutch Penal Protection Orders in Practice

A Study of Aims and Outcomes

Journal Erasmus Law Review, Issue 3 2021
Keywords enforcement practice, victim safety, street level bureaucracy, criminal justice chain, penal protection orders
Authors Tamar Fischer and Sanne Struijk
AbstractAuthor's information

    Penal protection orders (PPOs) aim to protect initial victims from repeat victimisation and in a broader sense from any danger for his or her dignity or psychological and sexual integrity and may therefore be important instruments for victim safety. However, knowledge on the actual practice of the PPOs and the successes, dilemmas and challenges involved is scarce. In this article, we describe the legal framework and actual enforcement practice of Dutch PPOs. The theoretical framework leading our explorative analyses regards Lipsky’s notion of ‘street-level bureaucracy’ and the succeeding work of Maynard & Musheno and Tummers on coping strategies and agency narratives of frontline workers. Using interview data from criminal justice professionals, victims and offenders, we describe the conditions of the enforcement practice and answer the question which coping mechanisms and types of agencies the professionals tend to apply in order to meet the legislative aims and to protect victims as effectively as possible. Results show that the five conditions described by Lipsky are clearly present. So far, in almost all situations the process of monitoring violations is reactive and because knowledge on risk indicators for violent escalation is still limited, it is difficult for frontline workers to decide how many and what type of resources should be invested in which cases. This results in a ‘moving away from clients’ strategy. However, within this context in which reactive enforcement is the default, we also found several examples of coping that represent ‘moving towards clients’ strategies.


Tamar Fischer
Tamar Fischer is Associate Professor of Criminology at the Erasmus Universiteit Rotterdam, the Netherlands.

Sanne Struijk
Sanne Struijk is Professor of Penal Sanctions Law and associate professor of Criminal Law at the Erasmus University Rotterdam, the Netherlands.

Sanne Struijk
Sanne Struijk is Professor of Penal Sanctions Law, Erasmus School of Law, Rotterdam, the Netherlands, and also Endowed Professor Penology and Penitentiary Law, Rijksuniversiteit Groningen, Groningen, the Netherlands.
Article

Access_open Is It All That Fishy? A Critical Review of the Concerns Surrounding Third Party Litigation Funding in Europe

Journal Erasmus Law Review, Issue 4 2021
Keywords access to justice, third-party litigation fund, collective redress, Europe, conflicts of interest
Authors Adrian Cordina
AbstractAuthor's information

    Virtually all major jurisdictions worldwide, including those in Europe, have been facing constrained budgets in civil justice and increasing litigation volume, delays, complexity and costs in the last few decades. This makes it difficult, or impossible, for certain individuals and entities to pursue meritorious claims, be it individually or collectively, posing a significant challenge to access to justice. With third-party funding (TPF) of litigation frequently touted as a promising private funding solution to this problem, this article explores the question of how and why the proliferation of TPF has been viewed with a considerable degree of caution in Europe, and questions to what extent this caution is warranted. The scale of the civil justice crisis in Europe, the shift from public to private funding and the purported benefits of TPF are first briefly investigated. The article then proceeds to critically examine, including from a law-and-economics perspective, the main sources of concern leading to the scepticism shown towards TPF in Europe, which is still largely unregulated. These sources are the commodification of justice, conflicts of interest and funder capital inadequacy. Particular reference is made to the regulatory frameworks of the jurisdictions of England and Wales, the Netherlands and Germany in Europe, and at the European Union level, to the Representative Actions Directive. It concludes by restating the potential benefits and complexity of this industry and the importance of distinguishing and analysing the arguments most commonly raised against it in the literature, policy and jurisprudence.


Adrian Cordina
Adrian Cordina, LLM, is a PhD candidate at the department of Private Law of the Erasmus School of Law, Erasmus University Rotterdam, the Netherlands.
Article

Access_open In Data We Trust? Quantifying the Costs of Adjudication in the EU Justice Scoreboard

Journal Erasmus Law Review, Issue 4 2021
Keywords access to justice, costs of justice, EU Justice Scoreboard, empirical legal research
Authors Adriani Dori
AbstractAuthor's information

    Affordable and timely judicial proceedings by independent courts are essential for an effective justice system. They are also a precondition for the protection of the rule of law in the EU and for an integrated internal market. Among the tools the European Commission adopts in this field, the EU Justice Scoreboard is key to understanding the empirical basis of the European judicial policies. Created in 2013, it provides annual data on efficiency, quality and independence of member states’ courts. The Scoreboard considers costly judicial proceedings as an obstacle to access to justice. It accordingly benchmarks member states’ performance with various indicators. In the Commission’s view, different national legal traditions should not prevent comparative assessment of member state judicial systems. However, the idiosyncrasies of national systems and the heterogeneity of national judicial statistics inevitably affect this empirical monitoring exercise. A closer look at the Scoreboard data shows that adjudication costs cannot be evaluated through quantitative metrics without contextualisation. This article focuses on the Scoreboard data on judicial costs, from both the supply and the demand side of judicial services. It critically reviews the fact-finding process that supports the preparation of the Scoreboard as well as the data this document displays. In so doing, it tests whether the Scoreboard conveys reliable and comparable information. This analysis is all the more important as the Scoreboard often supports academic analyses on the performance of justice and policy proposals by regulators and lawmakers.


Adriani Dori
Adriani Dori, LL.M., is an Academic Researcher at the Erasmus School of Law, Erasmus University Rotterdam, the Netherlands.
Article

Access_open Shifting Costs in American Discovery

A Critical Appraisal

Journal Erasmus Law Review, Issue 4 2021
Keywords discovery in litigation, access to justice, costs budget, civil procedure, American rule on fees and costs, costs shifting
Authors Jay Tidmarsh
AbstractAuthor's information

    This article examines proposals to reduce the cost of American discovery. It focuses on recent proposals and rules amendments to shift the entire cost of discovery to the party requesting discovery and then examines the idea of mandatorily shifting discovery costs in all cases. The article identifies a number of potential flaws with mandatory cost shifting. It then evaluates several proposals that might achieve the same end with fewer side effects, finding that two of them deserve consideration and, ideally, real-world experimentation.


Jay Tidmarsh
Jay Tidmarsh is the Judge James J. Clynes, Jr. Professor of Law at The University of Notre Dame Law School, Indiana, USA.
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 Mechanisms for Correcting Judicial Errors in Germany

Journal Erasmus Law Review, Issue 4 2020
Keywords criminal proceedings, retrial in favour of the convicted, retrial to the disadvantage of the defendant, Germany, judicial errors
Authors Michael Lindemann and Fabienne Lienau
AbstractAuthor's information

    The article presents the status quo of the law of retrial in Germany and gives an overview of the law and practice of the latter in favour of the convicted and to the disadvantage of the defendant. Particularly, the formal and material prerequisites for a successful petition to retry the criminal case are subject to a detailed presentation and evaluation. Because no official statistics are kept regarding successful retrial processes in Germany, the actual number of judicial errors is primarily the subject of more or less well-founded estimates by legal practitioners and journalists. However, there are a few newer empirical studies devoted to different facets of the subject. These studies will be discussed in this article in order to outline the state of empirical research on the legal reality of the retrial procedure. Against this background, the article will ultimately highlight currently discussed reforms and subject these to a critical evaluation as well. The aim of the recent reform efforts is to add a ground for retrial to the disadvantage of the defendant for cases in which new facts or evidence indicate that the acquitted person was guilty. After detailed discussion, the proposal in question is rejected, inter alia for constitutional reasons.


Michael Lindemann
Michael Lindemann is Professor for Criminal Law, Criminal Procedure and Criminology at the Faculty of Law of Bielefeld University, Germany.

Fabienne Lienau
Fabienne Lienau is Research Assistant at the Chair held by Michael Lindemann.
Article

Access_open The Right to Claim Innocence in Poland

Journal Erasmus Law Review, Issue 4 2020
Keywords wrongful convictions, right to claim innocence, reopening of criminal proceedings, miscarriage of justice, revision of final judgment
Authors Wojciech Jasiński Ph.D., habilitation and Karolina Kremens Ph.D.
AbstractAuthor's information

    Wrongful convictions and miscarriages of justice, their reasons and effects, only rarely become the subject of academic debate in Poland. This article aims at filling this gap and providing a discussion on the current challenges of mechanisms available in Polish law focused on the verification of final judgments based on innocence claims. While there are two procedures designed to move such judgment: cassation and the reopening of criminal proceedings, only the latter aims at the verification of new facts and evidence, and this work remains focused exactly on that issue. The article begins with a case study of the famous Komenda case, which resulted in a successful innocence claim, serving as a good, though rare, example of reopening a case and acquitting the convict immediately and allows for discussing the reasons that commonly stand behind wrongful convictions in Poland. Furthermore, the article examines the innocence claim grounds as regulated in the Polish criminal procedure and their interpretation under the current case law. It also presents the procedure concerning the revision of the case. The work additionally provides the analysis of the use of innocence claim in practice, feeding on the statistical data and explaining tendencies in application for revision of a case. It also presents the efforts of the Polish Ombudsman and NGOs to raise public awareness in that field. The final conclusions address the main challenges that the Polish system faces concerning innocence claims and indicates the direction in which the system should go.


Wojciech Jasiński Ph.D., habilitation
Wojciech Jasiński is Assistant Professor in the Department of Criminal Procedure of the University of Wroclaw, Poland. orcid.org/0000-0002-7427-1474

Karolina Kremens Ph.D.
Karolina Kremens is Assistant Professor in the Department of Criminal Procedure of the University of Wroclaw, Poland. orcid.org/0000-0002-2132-2645
Article

Access_open The Challenges for England’s Post-Conviction Review Body

Deference to Juries, the Principle of Finality and the Court of Appeal

Journal Erasmus Law Review, Issue 4 2020
Keywords wrongful conviction, criminal justice, Criminal Cases Review Commission, Court of Appeal, discretion
Authors Carolyn Hoyle
AbstractAuthor's information

    Since 1997, the Criminal Cases Review Commission of England, Wales and Northern Ireland has served as a state-funded post-conviction body to consider claims of wrongful conviction for those who have exhausted their rights to appeal. A meticulous organisation that has over its lifetime referred over 700 cases back to the Court of Appeal, resulting in over 60% of those applicants having their convictions quashed, it is nonetheless restricted in its response to cases by its own legislation. This shapes its decision-making in reviewing cases, causing it to be somewhat deferential to the original jury, to the principle of finality and, most importantly, to the Court of Appeal, the only institution that can overturn a wrongful conviction. In mandating such deference, the legislation causes the Commission to have one eye on the Court’s evolving jurisprudence but leaves room for institutional and individual discretion, evidenced in some variability in responses across the Commission. While considerable variability would be difficult to defend, some inconsistency raises the prospects for a shift towards a less deferential referral culture. This article draws on original research by the author to consider the impact of institutional deference on the work of the Criminal Cases Review Commission and argues for a slightly bolder approach in its work


Carolyn Hoyle
Carolyn Hoyle is Professor of Criminology at the Faculty of Law, University of Oxford, UK.
Article

Access_open Exoneration in Sweden

Is It Not about Time to Reform the Swedish Model?

Journal Erasmus Law Review, Issue 4 2020
Keywords wrongful convictions, extraordinary legal remedy, exoneration, exoneration in Sweden
Authors Dennis Martinsson
AbstractAuthor's information

    This article reviews exoneration in Sweden, with a focus on the procedure of applying for exoneration. First, it highlights some core features of Swedish criminal procedural law, necessary to understand exoneration in the Swedish context. Secondly, it outlines the possibilities in Swedish law to apply for exoneration, both in favour of a convicted person and to the disadvantage of a previously acquitted defendant. Thirdly, it identifies some challenges with the current Swedish model of administering applications for exoneration. Fourthly, it argues that the current system should be reformed by introducing into Swedish law a review committee that administers applications for exoneration.


Dennis Martinsson
Dennis Martinsson is Assistant Professor in the Department of Law of Stockholm University in Sweden.
Article

Access_open A European Approach to Revision in Criminal Matters?

Journal Erasmus Law Review, Issue 4 2020
Authors Joost Nan, Nina Holvast and Sjarai Lestrade
Author's information

Joost Nan
Joost Nan is Associate Professor at the Erasmus University Rotterdam.

Nina Holvast
Nina Holvast is Assistant Professor at the Erasmus Universiteit Rotterdam.

Sjarai Lestrade
Sjarai Lestrade is Assistant Professor at the Radboud University Nijmegen.
Article

Access_open Between Legal Certainty and Doubt

The Developments in the Procedure to Overturn Wrongful Convictions in the Netherlands

Journal Erasmus Law Review, Issue 4 2020
Keywords revision law, post-conviction review, wrongful convictions, miscarriages of justice, criminal law, empirical research
Authors Nina Holvast, Joost Nan and Sjarai Lestrade
AbstractAuthor's information

    The Dutch legislature has recently (2012) altered the legislation for post-conviction revision of criminal cases. The legislature aimed to improve the balance between the competing interests of individual justice and the finality of verdicts, by making post-conviction revision more accessible. In this article we describe the current legal framework for revising cases. We also study how the revision procedure functions in practice, by looking at the types and numbers of (successful) requests for further investigations and applications for revision. We observe three challenges in finding the right balance in the revision process in the Netherlands. These challenges concern: 1) the scope of the novum criterion (which is strict), 2) the appropriate role of an advisory committee (the ACAS) in revision cases (functioning too much as a pre-filter for the Supreme Court) and, 3) the difficulties that arise due to requiring a defence council when requesting a revision (e.g., financial burdens).


Nina Holvast
Nina Holvast is Assistant Professor at the Erasmus Universiteit Rotterdam.

Joost Nan
Joost Nan is Associate Professor at the Erasmus University Rotterdam.

Sjarai Lestrade
Sjarai Lestrade is Assistant Professor at the Radboud University Nijmegen.
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 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.
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