Search result: 74 articles

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Article

Access_open The Conduit between Technological Change and Regulation

Journal Erasmus Law Review, Issue 3 2018
Keywords technology, socio-technological change, money, windmill, data
Authors Marta Katarzyna Kołacz and Alberto Quintavalla
AbstractAuthor's information

    This article discusses how the law has approached disparate socio-technological innovations over the centuries. Precisely, the primary concern of this paper is to investigate the timing of regulatory intervention. To do so, the article makes a selection of particular innovations connected with money, windmills and data storage devices, and analyses them from a historical perspective. The individual insights from the selected innovations should yield a more systematic view on regulation and technological innovations. The result is that technological changes may be less momentous, from a regulatory standpoint, than social changes.


Marta Katarzyna Kołacz
Marta Katarzyna Kołacz, Ph.D. Candidate in the Department of Private Law, Erasmus School of Law, Erasmus University Rotterdam, The Netherlands.

Alberto Quintavalla
Alberto Quintavalla, LL.M., Ph.D. Candidate in the Rotterdam Institute of Law and Economics, Erasmus School of Law, Erasmus University Rotterdam, The Netherlands.
Article

Access_open Privatising Law Enforcement in Social Networks: A Comparative Model Analysis

Journal Erasmus Law Review, Issue 3 2018
Keywords user generated content, public and private responsibilities, intermediary liability, hate speech and fake news, protection of fundamental rights
Authors Katharina Kaesling
AbstractAuthor's information

    These days, it appears to be common ground that what is illegal and punishable offline must also be treated as such in online formats. However, the enforcement of laws in the field of hate speech and fake news in social networks faces a number of challenges. Public policy makers increasingly rely on the regu-lation of user generated online content through private entities, i.e. through social networks as intermediaries. With this privat-ization of law enforcement, state actors hand the delicate bal-ancing of (fundamental) rights concerned off to private entities. Different strategies complementing traditional law enforcement mechanisms in Europe will be juxtaposed and analysed with particular regard to their respective incentive structures and consequential dangers for the exercise of fundamental rights. Propositions for a recommendable model honouring both pri-vate and public responsibilities will be presented.


Katharina Kaesling
Katharina Kaesling, LL.M. Eur., is research coordinator at the Center for Advanced Study ‘Law as Culture’, University of Bonn.
Article

Access_open Armed On-board Protection of Dutch Vessels: Not Allowed Yet But Probably Forthcoming

Journal Erasmus Law Review, Issue 4 2018
Keywords vessel protection, private armed guards, state monopoly on force, masters position, state control
Authors Paul Mevis and Sari Eckhardt
AbstractAuthor's information

    This article provides an overview of the developments about the armed on-board protection of Dutch vessels under Dutch law. The Dutch position has changed over the years. In 2011, the starting point was that private security companies (PSCs) are not to be allowed. It was expected that adequate protection of Dutch vessels could be provided by vessel protection detachments (VPDs). Although not considered as an absolute statutory bar, the state monopoly on force was considered the main argument against PSCs. After optimising the use of VPDs and given the development in other countries, the approach changed into a ‘VPS, unless …’-approach. Under the new Protection of Merchant Shipping Act that is expected to come into force in the second half of 2019, PSCs can be employed only if no VPS is available. This article gives an overview of the argumentation in this change of view over the years. It also explores the headlines, criteria and procedures of the new law and some other topics, including the position of the master under the upcoming law. In line with the other country reports, it enables the comparative study in the last article of this special issue.


Paul Mevis
Paul Mevis is professor of criminal law and criminal procedure at Erasmus University Rotterdam.

Sari Eckhardt
Sari Eckhardt holds a master’s degree in criminal law and has worked as a student assistant at the Rotterdam Erasmus University’s Department of Criminal Law and is currently working at De Bont Advocaten.
Article

Access_open Armed On-board Protection of German Ships (and by German Companies)

Journal Erasmus Law Review, Issue 4 2018
Keywords German maritime security, private armed security, privately contracted armed security personnel, anti-piracy-measures, state oversight
Authors Tim R. Salomon
AbstractAuthor's information

    Germany reacted to the rise of piracy around the Horn of Africa not only by deploying its armed forces to the region, but also by overhauling the legal regime concerning private security providers. It introduced a dedicated licensing scheme mandatory for German maritime security providers and maritime security providers wishing to offer their services on German-flagged vessels. This legal reform resulted in a licensing system with detailed standards for the internal organisation of a security company and the execution of maritime security services. Content wise, the German law borrows broadly from internationally accepted standards. Despite deficits in state oversight and compliance control, the licensing scheme sets a high standard e.g. by mandating that a security team must consist of a minimum of four security guards. The lacking success of the scheme suggested by the low number of companies still holding a license may be due to the fact that ship-owners have traditionally been reluctant to travel high-risk areas under the German flag. Nevertheless, the German law is an example of a national regulation that has had some impact on the industry at large.


Tim R. Salomon
The author is a legal adviser to the German Federal Armed Forces (Bundeswehr) and currently seconded to the German Federal Constitutional Court.
Article

Access_open On-board Protection of Merchant Vessels from the Perspective of International Law

Journal Erasmus Law Review, Issue 4 2018
Keywords piracy, international law, law of the sea, on-board protection of merchant vessels, use of force
Authors Birgit Feldtmann
AbstractAuthor's information

    The power to regulate on-board protection of merchant vessels lies with the flag state. However, the national models of regulation are not developed in a unilateral vacuum. In fact, the whole concept of flag state jurisdiction and legislative power has to be understood and exercised on the national level in close relation with the general regime of the international law of the sea. The aim of the article is therefore two-fold: first, it aims to provide a background for the country reports in this special issue by giving a brief insight into the problem of piracy in the twenty-first century and the international approaches towards this problem. Here the article also provides an insight into the legal background by presenting the concept of piracy in the law of the sea and connected law enforcement powers. Thus, this part of the article provides the overall context in which the discussions concerning on-board protection and the development of national regulations have occurred. Second, the article analyses the issue of on-board protection from the perspective of the legal framework in international law, as well as relevant international soft-law instruments, influencing the development on the national level. On-board protection of vessels as such is not regulated in the international law; however, international law provides a form of general legal setting, in which flags states navigate. Thus, this article aims to draw a picture of the international context in which flags states develop their specific legal approach.


Birgit Feldtmann
Birgit Feldtmann is professor (mso) at the Department of Law, Aalborg University.
Article

Access_open Armed On-board Protection of Italian Ships: From an Apparent Hybrid Model to a Regulated Rise of Private Contractors

Journal Erasmus Law Review, Issue 4 2018
Keywords maritime security services, Italian hybrid system, military and private personnel, use of force, relation with the shipmaster
Authors Giorgia Bevilacqua
AbstractAuthor's information

    The sharp increase of piracy attacks in the last two decades was followed by a parallel increase of demand in the maritime security sector. A plenty of flag States around the world have started to authorize the deployment of armed security guards, either military or private, aboard commercial ships. In 2011, Italy also introduced the possibility of embarking armed security services to protect Italian flagged ships sailing in dangerous international waters. Like the other flag States’ legal systems, the newly adopted Italian legislation aims to preserve the domestic shipping industry which was particularly disrupted by modern-day pirates. On the other hand, the doubling of approaches of the Italian legal and regulatory framework, initially privileging military personnel and then opting for the private solution, took the author to investigate the main relevant features of the Italian model of regulation and to analyze the recent developments of the domestic legal practice on counterpiracy armed security services, focusing on the role that customary and treaty obligations of international law played for the realization at national level of on-board armed protection of Italian ships. The use of lethal force at sea and the relationship between the shipmaster and the security guards will receive specific attention in this article.


Giorgia Bevilacqua
Researcher at the Università degli Studi della Campania Luigi Vanvitelli.
Article

Access_open Armed On-board Protection of Danish Vessels Authorisation and Use of Force in Self-defence in a Legal Perspective

Journal Erasmus Law Review, Issue 4 2018
Keywords piracy, private security companies (PSC), privately contracted armed security personnel (PCASP), use of force, Denmark
Authors Christian Frier
AbstractAuthor's information

    This article examines the legal issues pertaining to the use of civilian armed guards on board Danish-flagged ships for protection against piracy. The Danish model of regulation is interesting for several reasons. Firstly, the Danish Government was among the first European flag States to allow and formalise their use in a commercial setting. Secondly, the distribution of assignments between public authorities and private actors stands out as very pragmatic, as ship owners and contracting private security companies are empowered with competences which are traditionally considered as public administrative powers. Thirdly, the lex specialis framework governing the authorisation and use of force in self-defence is non-exhaustive, thus referring to lex generalis regulation, which does not take the special circumstances surrounding the use of armed guards into consideration. As a derived effect the private actors involved rely heavily on soft law and industry self-regulation instrument to complement the international and national legal framework.


Christian Frier
Christian Frier is research assistant at the Department of Law, University of Southern Denmark. He obtained his PhD in Law in March 2019.
Article

Access_open Empirical Legal Research in Europe: Prevalence, Obstacles, and Interventions

Journal Erasmus Law Review, Issue 2 2018
Keywords empirical legal research, Europe, popularity, increase, journals
Authors Gijs van Dijck, Shahar Sverdlov and Gabriela Buck
AbstractAuthor's information

    Empirical Legal research (ELR) has become well established in the United States, whereas its popularity in Europe is debatable. This article explores the popularity of ELR in Europe. The authors carried out an empirical analysis of 78 European-based law journals, encompassing issues from 2008-2017. The findings demonstrate that a supposed increase of ELR is questionable (at best).
    Moreover, additional findings highlight:

    • An increase for a few journals, with a small number of other journals showing a decrease over time;

    • A higher percentage of empirical articles for extra-legal journals than for legal journals (average proportion per journal is 4.6 percent for legal journals, 18.9 percent for extra-legal journals);

    • Criminal justice journals, environmental journals, and economically oriented journals being more likely to publish empirical articles than other journals;

    • More prestigious journals being more likely to publish empirical articles than less-prestigious journals;

    • Older journals being more likely to publish empirical work than younger journals, but not at an increasing rate;

    • Journals being legal/extra-legal, journals in a specific field, journal ranking, or the age of the journal not making it more (or less) likely that the journal will publish empirical articles at an increasing (or decreasing) rate.
      Considering the lack of convincing evidence indicating an increase of ELR, we identify reasons for why ELR is seemingly becoming more popular but not resulting in more empirical research in Europe. Additionally, we explore interventions for overcoming the obstacles ELR currently faces.


Gijs van Dijck
Professor of Private Law at Maastricht University, the Netherlands.

Shahar Sverdlov
Law student at the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, the Netherlands.

Gabriela Buck
Law student at Maastricht University, the Netherlands.
Article

Access_open Evidence-Based Regulation and the Translation from Empirical Data to Normative Choices: A Proportionality Test

Journal Erasmus Law Review, Issue 2 2018
Keywords evidence-based, regulation, proportionality, empirical law studies, law and society studies
Authors Rob van Gestel and Peter van Lochem
AbstractAuthor's information

    Studies have shown that the effects of scientific research on law and policy making are often fairly limited. Different reasons can be given for this: scientists are better at falsifying hypothesis than at predicting the future, the outcomes of academic research and empirical evidence can be inconclusive or even contradictory, the timing of the legislative cycle and the production of research show mismatches, there can be clashes between the political rationality and the economic or scientific rationality in the law making process et cetera. There is one ‘wicked’ methodological problem, though, that affects all regulatory policy making, namely: the ‘jump’ from empirical facts (e.g. there are too few organ donors in the Netherlands and the voluntary registration system is not working) to normative recommendations of what the law should regulate (e.g. we need to change the default rule so that everybody in principle becomes an organ donor unless one opts out). We are interested in how this translation process takes place and whether it could make a difference if the empirical research on which legislative drafts are build is more quantitative type of research or more qualitative. That is why we have selected two cases in which either type of research played a role during the drafting phase. We use the lens of the proportionality principle in order to see how empirical data and scientific evidence are used by legislative drafters to justify normative choices in the design of new laws.


Rob van Gestel
Rob van Gestel is professor of theory and methods of regulation at Tilburg University.

Peter van Lochem
Dr. Peter van Lochem is jurist and sociologist and former director of the Academy for Legislation.

    In May 2017, the Ogiek indigenous community of Kenya successfully challenged the denial of their land and associated rights before the African Court of Human and Peoples Rights (‘the Court’). In the first indigenous peoples’ rights case considered the Court, and by far the largest ever case it has had to consider, the Court found violations of Articles 1, 2, 8, 14, 17 (2) and (3), 21 and 22 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights (‘the African Charter’). It therefore created a major legal precedent. In addition, the litigation itself and Ogiek’s participation in the various stages of the legal process provided a model for community engagement, through which the Ogiek were empowered to better understand and advocate for their rights. This article will first explain the history of the case and the Court’s findings, and then move on to examine in further detail methods employed to build the Ogiek’s capacity throughout, and even beyond, the litigation.


Lucy Claridge
Legal Director, Minority Rights Group International.

    This paper examines three Inter-American Court (IACtHR) cases on behalf of the Enxet-Sur and Sanapana claims for communal territory in Paraguay. I argue that while the adjudication of the cases was successful, the aftereffects of adjudication have produced new legal geographies that threaten to undermine the advances made by adjudication. Structured in five parts, the paper begins with an overview of the opportunities and challenges to Indigenous rights in Paraguay followed by a detailed discussion of the adjudication of the Yakye Axa, Sawhoyamaxa, and Xákmok Kásek cases. Next, I draw from extensive ethnographic research investigating these cases in Paraguay to consider how implementation actually takes place and with what effects on the three claimant communities. The paper encourages a discussion between geographers and legal scholars, suggesting that adjudication only leads to greater social justice if it is coupled with effective and meaningful implementation.


Joel E. Correia Ph.D.
Postdoctoral Research Associate in the Center for Latin American Studies at the University of Arizona.

    In the process of adjudication and litigation, indigenous peoples are usually facing a very complex and demanding process to prove their rights to their lands and ancestral territories. Courts and tribunals usually impose a very complex and onerous burden of proof on the indigenous plaintiffs to prove their rights over their ancestral territories. To prove their rights indigenous peoples often have to develop map of their territories to prove their economic, cultural, and spiritual connections to their territories. This article reflects on the role played by the mapping of indigenous territories in supporting indigenous peoples’ land claims. It analyses the importance of mapping within the process of litigation, but also its the impact beyond the courtroom.


Jeremie Gilbert PhD
Jeremie Gilbert is professor of Human Rights Law, University of Roehampton.

Ben Begbie-Clench
Ben Begdie-Clench is a consultant working with San communities in southern Africa.
Article

Access_open The Peer Review Process of the Global Forum on Transparency and Exchange of Information for Tax Purposes

A Critical Assessment on Authority and Legitimacy

Journal Erasmus Law Review, Issue 2 2017
Keywords Global Forum on Transparency and Exchange of Information, exercise of regulatory authority, due process requirements, peer review reports, legitimacy
Authors Leo E.C. Neve
AbstractAuthor's information

    The Global Forum on transparency and exchange of information for tax purposes has undertaken peer reviews on the implementation of the global standard of exchange of information on request, both from the perspective of formalities available and from the perspective of actual implementation. In the review reports Global Forum advises jurisdictions on required amendments of regulations and practices. With these advices, the Global Forum exercises regulatory authority. The article assesses the legitimacy of the exercise of such authority by the Global Forum and concludes that the exercise of such authority is not legitimate for the reason that the rule of law is abused by preventing jurisdictions to adhere to due process rules.


Leo E.C. Neve
Leo Neve is a doctoral student at the Erasmus School of Law, Rotterdam.
Article

Access_open Administering Justice and Serving the People

The Tension between the Objective of Judicial Efficiency and Informal Justice in Canadian Access to Justice Initiatives

Journal Erasmus Law Review, Issue 3 2017
Keywords access to justice, procedural law, courts, civil justice reform, comparative law
Authors Catherine Piché
AbstractAuthor's information

    Canada has a complex system of courts that seek to serve Canadians in view of the traditional objectives of civil justice – principally accessibility, efficiency, fairness, efficacy, proportionality and equality. The Canadian court system is generally considered by its users to work well and to have legitimacy. Yet, researchers have found that ‘there is a tendency for people involved in a civil case to become disillusioned about the ability of the system to effect a fair and timely resolution to a civil justice problem’. This article will discuss the ways in which reforms of procedural law and civil justice have originated and continue to be made throughout Canada, both nationally and provincially, as well as the trends and influences in making these reforms. With hundreds of contemporary procedural reforms having been discussed, proposed and/or completed since the first days of Canadian colonisation on a national basis and in the Canadian provinces and territory, providing a detailed analysis will prove challenging. This article will nonetheless provide a review of civil justice and procedural reform issues in Canada, focusing principally, at the provincial level, on the systems of Ontario and Quebec. Importantly, I will seek to reconcile the increasing willingness to have an economically efficient civil justice and the increased power of judges in managing cases, with our court system’s invasion of ADR and its prioritisation of informal modes of adjudication.


Catherine Piché
Dr. Prof. Catherine Piché, Université de Montreal.
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 Corporate Taxation and BEPS: A Fair Slice for Developing Countries?

Journal Erasmus Law Review, Issue 1 2017
Keywords Fairness, international tax, legitimacy, BEPS, developing countries
Authors Irene Burgers and Irma Mosquera
AbstractAuthor's information

    The aim of this article is to examine the differences in perception of ‘fairness’ between developing and developed countries, which influence developing countries’ willingness to embrace the Base Erosion and Profit Shifting (BEPS) proposals and to recommend as to how to overcome these differences. The article provides an introduction to the background of the OECD’s BEPS initiatives (Action Plan, Low Income Countries Report, Multilateral Framework, Inclusive Framework) and the concerns of developing countries about their ability to implement BEPS (Section 1); a non-exhaustive overview of the shortcomings of the BEPS Project and its Action Plan in respect of developing countries (Section 2); arguments on why developing countries might perceive fairness in relation to corporate income taxes differently from developed countries (Section 3); and recommendations for international organisations, governments and academic researchers on where fairness in respect of developing countries should be more properly addressed (Section 4).


Irene Burgers
Irene Burgers is Professor of International and European Tax Law, Faculty of Law, and Professor of Economics of Taxation, Faculty of Business and Economics, University of Groningen.

Irma Mosquera
Irma Mosquera, Ph.D. is Senior Research Associate at the International Bureau of Fiscal Documentation IBFD and Tax Adviser Hamelink & Van den Tooren.
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 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.
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