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Article

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.
Article

Access_open Evaluating BEPS

Journal Erasmus Law Review, Issue 1 2017
Keywords tax avoidance, tax evasion, benefits principle
Authors Reuven S. Avi-Yonah and Haiyan Xu
AbstractAuthor's information

    This article evaluates the recently completed Base Erosion and Profit Shifting (BEPS) project of the G20 and OECD and offers some alternatives for reform.


Reuven S. Avi-Yonah
Reuven Avi-Yonah is Irwin I. Cohn Professor of Law, the University of Michigan.

Haiyan Xu
Haiyan Xu is Professor of Law, University of International Business & Economics, Beijing; SJD candidate, the University of Michigan.
Article

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.

Jing Hiah
Jing Hiah is PhD candidate at the Department of Criminology, Erasmus University Rotterdam (hiah@law.eur.nl).

Thomas Riesthuis
Thomas Riesthuis is PhD candidate at the Department of Sociology, Theory and Methodology, Erasmus University Rotterdam (riesthuis@law.eur.nl).
Article

Access_open Austerity in Civil Procedure

A Critical Assessment of the Impact of Global Economic Downturn on Civil Justice in Ghana

Journal Erasmus Law Review, Issue 4 2015
Keywords austerity, small claims, civil justice, civil procedure, Ghana civil procedure
Authors Ernest Owusu-Dapaa and Ebenezer Adjei Bediako
AbstractAuthor's information

    The demand for and availability of civil justice procedures for small claims can neither be disentangled nor extricated from the health of the economic climate of the relevant country concerned. In this article, it is argued that despite not being a developed country, Ghana was not completely insulated from the hardships or implementation of austerity measures that were triggered by the global economic meltdown. The inevitability of behavioural changes on the part of the Government of Ghana as lawmaker and provider of the machinery for civil justice on the one hand and small claims litigants as users of the civil procedure on the other hand are also explored in the article. After properly situating the exploration in the relevant economic context, the article makes recommendations regarding how to minimise the impact of the austerity measures on small claims litigants.


Ernest Owusu-Dapaa
Ernest Owusu-Dapaa is Lecturer in Law at the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Kumasi, Ghana. Email: eodapaa@yahoo.com.

Ebenezer Adjei Bediako
Ebenezer Adjei Bediako is Principal Research Assistant at the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Kumasi, Ghana.

Willem H. van Boom
Prof dr. Willem van Boom is a professor of law. As of August 2014, he holds tenure at Leiden Law School.
Article

Access_open A Turn to Legal Pluralism in Rule of Law Promotion?

Journal Erasmus Law Review, Issue 3/4 2013
Keywords legal pluralism, rule of law promotion, legal reform, customary law, non-state legal systems, donor policy
Authors Dr.mr Ronald Janse
AbstractAuthor's information

    Over the past 25 years, international organizations, NGOs and (mostly Western) states have spent considerable energy and resources on strengthening and reforming legal systems in developing countries. The results of these efforts have generally been disappointing, despite occasional successes. Among donors, one of most popular explanations of this failure in recent years is that rule of law promotion has wrongly focused almost exclusively on strengthening the formal legal system. Donors have therefore decided to 'engage' with informal justice systems. The turn to legal plu‍ra‍lism is to be welcomed for various reasons. But it is also surprising and worrisome. It is surprising because legal pluralism in developing countries was a fact of life before rule of law promotion began. What made donors pursuing legal reform blind to this reality for so long? It is worrisome because it is not self-evident that the factors which have contributed to such cognitive blindness have disappeared overnight. Are donors really ready to refocus their efforts on legal pluralism and 'engage' with informal justice systems? This paper, which is based on a review of the literature on donor engamenet with legal pluralism in so-called conflict affected and fragile states, is about these questions. It argues that 7 factors have been responsible for donor blindness regarding legal pluralism. It questions whether these factors have been addressed.


Dr.mr Ronald Janse
Ronald Janse is Associate Professor of Law, University of Amsterdam, The Netherlands.
Artikel

Access_open Revisiting the Humanisation of International Law: Limits and Potential

Obligations Erga Omnes, Hierarchy of Rules and the Principle of Due Diligence as the Basis for Further Humanisation

Journal Erasmus Law Review, Issue 1 2013
Keywords humanisation, constitutionalism, legal positivism, human rights, erga omnes, due diligence, positive obligations, normative hierarchy, proportionality
Authors Dr. Vassilis P. Tzevelekos
AbstractAuthor's information

    The article critically evaluates the theory of the humanisation of international law. First, it argues that despite human rights having impact on (other areas of) international law, this trend has in the past been somewhat inflated. A number of examples are given where human rights have been tested against other objectives pursued by international law, with humanisation revealing its limits and actual dimensions. The second argument consists in identifying and highlighting obligations erga omnes (partes) and the principle of due diligence as two ‘systemic’ tools, that are central to the humanisation of international law. Both these tools form part of modern positive law, but may also make a positive contribution towards the direction of deeper humanisation in international law, having the potential, inter alia, to limit state will, establish occasional material normative hierarchy consisting in conditional priority in the fulfilment of human rights, give a communitarian tone to international law and invite states to be pro-active in the collective protection of their common interests and values. In its conclusions, the article offers a plausible explanation about the paradox it identifies of the limits of the humanisation on the one hand, and its potential for further development on the other. For, it is inherent in international law that the line separating the law from deontology is thin. The process of humanisation needs to be balanced with the other objectives of international law as well as reconciled with the decentralised and sovereignist origins of the pluralistic international legal system.


Dr. Vassilis P. Tzevelekos
Lecturer in Public International Law, University of Hull Law School; Attorney, Athens’ Bar. PhD and M.Res, European University Institute; MA, European Political and Administrative Studies, College of Europe; DEA Droit international public et organisations internationales, Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne; LLB, National and Kapodistrian University of Athens.
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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