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Article

Access_open How Law Manifests Itself in Australian Aboriginal Art

Journal Erasmus Law Review, Issue 3/4 2013
Keywords legal pluralism, native title, reconciliation, indigenous people of Australia, Aboriginal art
Authors Dr. Agnes T.M. Dr. Schreiner
AbstractAuthor's information

    The article How Law Manifests Itself in Australian Aboriginal Art will discuss two events at the Aboriginal Art Museum Utrecht from the perspective of a meeting between two artistic and legal cultures. The first event, on the art and law of the Spinifex people, will prove to be of a private law nature, whilst the second event, on the art and law of the Wik People, will show characteristics of international public law. This legal anthropological contribution may frustrate a pluralistic perspective with regard to the coexistence of Western law and Aboriginal law on the one hand and of Utrecht's Modern Art Museum and the presented Aboriginal Art on the other. It will show instead the self-evidence of art and law presented and their intertwined connection for the Aboriginal or indigenous peoples of Australia.


Dr. Agnes T.M. Dr. Schreiner
Agnes T.M. Schreiner studied Law and is Lecturer on several themes of the General Jurisprudence at the Law Faculty, University of Amsterdam, The Netherlands. Within the Masterprogram European Private law she teaches the course Anthropology of European Private Law. She received her Ph.D. in 1990. She has specialized in a series of subjects: Law & Media, Law & Arts, Law & Rituals, Law & Culture, Law & Semiotics and Law & Social Sciences.
Article

Access_open From Legal Pluralism to Public Justification

Journal Erasmus Law Review, Issue 3/4 2013
Keywords legal pluralism, diversity and law, law and justification, concept of law
Authors Dr. Emmanuel Melissaris
AbstractAuthor's information

    The paper offers an argument for a conception of legal pluralism, which has some substantive upshots and at least partly alleviates that legal pluralism may regress to rampant relativism. In particular, I will argue that law in its pluralist conception is inextricably linked to the requirement of public justification. This is not by way of appealing to any transcendental normative ideals but as a matter of entailment of the very practice of law. But, perhaps to the disappointment of many, this procedural requirement is the only practical consequence of the concept of law. For thicker, substantive limits to what law can do and for ways in which legal pluralism may be reduced in real contexts one will have to turn to the actual circumstances furnishing the law with content and a different kind of thinking about the law.


Dr. Emmanuel Melissaris
Associate Professor of Law, Law Department, London School of Economics and Political Science. I am grateful to Sanne Taekema and Wibo van Rossum as well as the two anonymous referees for their helpful critical comments. A version of this paper was presented at the School of Law, Queen Mary University of London. I am indebted to all the participants in that seminar and particularly to Roger Cotterrell, Ann Mumford, Maskymilian del Mar, Prakash Shah, Valsamis Mitsilegas, Wayne Morrison, Michael Lobban, Richard Nobles and David Schiff. Many thanks also to Sean Coyle, George Pavlakos, Alexis Galan Avila and Mariano Croce for their valuable comments on earlier drafts of the paper. I am solely responsible for all remaining errors.
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.
Article

Access_open Unity in Multiplicity: Shared Cultural Understandings on Marital Life in a Damascus Catholic and Muslim Court

Journal Erasmus Law Review, Issue 3/4 2013
Keywords Syria, personal status law, Eastern Catholic law, patriarchal family, marital obligations
Authors Esther Van Eijk Ph.D.
AbstractAuthor's information

    Family relations in Syria are governed by a plurality of personal status laws and courts. This plurality manifests itself on a variety of levels, including statutory, communal and individual. In this article, the author argues that, albeit this plurality, Syrian personal status law is also characterised by the prevalence of shared, gendered norms and views on marital life. Based on fieldwork conducted in a Catholic and a shar’iyya personal status courts in Damascus in 2009, the author examines the shared cultural understandings on marital relationships that were found in these courts, and as laid down – most importantly – in the respective Catholic and Muslim family laws. The article maintains that the patriarchal family model is preserved and reinforced by the various personal status laws and by the various actors which operated in the field of personal status law. Finally, two Catholic case studies are presented and analysed to demonstrate the importance and attachment to patriarchal gender norms in the Catholic first instance court of Damascus.


Esther Van Eijk Ph.D.
Esther Van Eijk is a postdoc researcher at Maastricht University, The Netherlands. She recently defended (September 2013) her Ph.D. thesis entitled ‘Family Law in Syria: A Plurality of Laws, Norms, and Legal Practices’ at Leiden University, the Netherlands. This study is based on her PhD fieldwork (including interviews and participant observation) conducted in March-April 2008, and October 2008-July 2009 in Syria.
Article

Access_open At the Crossroads of National and European Union Law. Experiences of National Judges in a Multi-level Legal Order

Journal Erasmus Law Review, Issue 3/4 2013
Keywords national judges, legal pluralism, application of EU law, legal consciousness, supremacy and direct effect of EU law
Authors Urszula Jaremba Ph.D.
AbstractAuthor's information

    The notion and theory of legal pluralism have been witnessing an increasing interest on part of scholars. The theory that originates from the legal anthropological studies and is one of the major topical streams in the realm of socio-legal studies slowly but steady started to become a point of departure for other disciplines. Unavoidably it has also gained attention from the scholars in the realm of the law of the European Union. It is the aim of the present article to illustrate the legal reality in which the law of the Union and the national laws coexist and intertwine with each other and, subsequently, to provide some insight on the manner national judges personally construct their own understanding of this complex legal architecture and the problems they come across in that respect. In that sense, the present article not only illustrates the new, pluralistic legal environment that came into being with the founding of the Communities, later the European Union, but also adds another dimension to this by presenting selected, empirical data on how national judges in several Member States of the EU individually perceive, adapt to, experience and make sense of this reality of overlapping and intertwining legal orders. Thus, the principal aim of this article is to illustrate how the pluralistic legal system works in the mind of a national judge and to capture the more day-to-day legal reality by showing how the law works on the ground through the lived experiences of national judges.


Urszula Jaremba Ph.D.
Urszula Jaremba, PhD, assistant professor at the Department of European Union Law, School of Law, Erasmus University Rotterdam. I am grateful to the editors of this Special Issue: Prof. Dr. Sanne Taekema and Dr. Wibo van Rossum as well as to the two anonymous reviewers for their useful comments. I am also indebted to Dr. Tobias Nowak for giving me his consent to use the data concerning the Dutch and German judges in this article. This article is mostly based on a doctoral research project that resulted in a doctoral manuscript titled ‘Polish Civil Judges as European Union Law Judges: Knowledge, Experiences and Attitudes’, defended on the 5th of October 2012.
Article

Access_open Human Rights Courts Interpreting Sustainable Development: Balancing Individual Rights and the Collective Interest

Journal Erasmus Law Review, Issue 2 2013
Keywords Operationalizing sustainable development, human rights, individual rights/interests, collective rights/interests, human rights courts
Authors Emelie Folkesson MA
AbstractAuthor's information

    This article uses a generally accepted conceptualisation of sustainable development that can be operationalized in a judicial context. It focuses on the individual and collective dimensions of the environmental, economic and social pillars, as well as the consideration of inter-generational and intra-generational equity. Case law from the European, African and American systems is analysed to reveal if the elements of sustainable development have been incorporated in their jurisprudence. The analysis reveals that the human rights bodies have used different interpretative methods, some more progressive than others, in order to incorporate the elements of sustainable development in the scope of their mandate, even if they do not mention the concept as such. The overall conclusion is that sustainable development has been operationalized through human rights courts to a certain extent. Sometimes, however, a purely individualised approach to human rights creates a hurdle to further advance sustainable development. The conclusion creates the impression that sustainable development is not just a concept on paper, but that it in fact can be operationalized, also in other courts and quasi-courts. Moreover, it shows that the institutional structure of human rights courts has been used in other areas than pure human rights protection, which means that other areas of law might make use of it to fill the gap of a non-existing court structure.


Emelie Folkesson MA
PhD Candidate in public international law, Erasmus University Rotterdam. The author would like to thank Prof. Ellen Hey, Prof. Klaus Heine and two anonymous reviewers for their valuable insights and constructive comments on the drafts of this article. The usual disclaimer applies.
Artikel

Access_open Through the Looking Glass of Global Constitutionalism and Global Administrative Law

Different Stories About the Crisis in Global Water Governance?

Journal Erasmus Law Review, Issue 1 2013
Keywords global water governance, global constitutionalism, global administrative law, water crisis, integrated water resources management
Authors Mónika Ambrus
AbstractAuthor's information

    In addition to (or sometimes rather than primarily) attributing it to water scarcity, water crisis has been described as a ‘crisis of governance’; with the word ‘crisis’ also indicating that water governance lacks (full) legitimacy. The article undertakes the task to analyse the current status of global water governance (GWG) from the perspective of two competing theories relating to the legitimacy of global governance, namely global constitutionalism (GC) and global administrative law (GAL). Having mapped the current legal framework of GWG from these two perspectives, it is discussed how these theories might shape GWG and how this shaping could contribute to solving the water crisis. In addition, it is also explored whether reading one of the most accepted proposals for legitimising global water governance, the concept of ‘integrated water resources management’ (IWRM), through the lenses of either GC or GAL would have an impact on how this concept is interpreted, and whether it can be a useful mechanism to address the water crisis. The use of two theories analysing the same subject matter provides interesting insights into global water governance and the nature of the water crisis as well as the relationship between these two theories.


Mónika Ambrus
Assistant professor of public international law at the Erasmus School of Law, Erasmus University Rotterdam.
Artikel

Access_open The Value of Narratives

The India-USA Nuclear Deal in Terms of Fragmentation, Pluralism, Constitutionalisation and Global Administrative Law

Journal Erasmus Law Review, Issue 1 2013
Keywords India-US Nuclear Deal, Nuclear Energy Cooperation, Non-Proliferation Treaty, Fragmentation, Constitutionalisation, Pluralism, Global Administrative Law
Authors Surabhi Ranganathan
AbstractAuthor's information

    ‘Fragmentation’, ‘pluralism’, ‘constitutionalisation’ and ‘global administrative law’ are among the most dominant narratives of international legal order at present. Each narrative makes a descriptive claim about the current state of the international legal order, and outlines a normative vision for this order. Yet we must not lose sight of the conflicts between, and the contingency of these, and other narratives. This article seeks to recover both conflicts and contingency by showing how each may be used to explain a given event: the inauguration of a bilateral civil nuclear cooperation between the United State and India, better known as the ‘India-US nuclear deal’. I explain how the four narratives may be, and were, co-opted at different times to justify or critique the ‘deal’. This exercise serve two purposes: the application of four narratives reveal the various facets of the deal, and by its example the deal illuminates the stakes attached to each of the four narratives. In a final section, I reflect on why these four narratives enjoy their influential status in international legal scholarship.


Surabhi Ranganathan
Junior Research Fellow, King’s College/Lauterpacht Centre for International Law, University of Cambridge.
Artikel

Access_open On Fragments and Geometry

The International Legal Order as Metaphor and How It Matters

Journal Erasmus Law Review, Issue 1 2013
Keywords international law, fragmentation, archaeology, Foucault, geometry
Authors Nikolas M. Rajkovic
AbstractAuthor's information

    This article engages the narrative of fragmentation in international law by asserting that legal academics and professionals have failed to probe more deeply into ‘fragmentation’ as a concept and, more specifically, as a spatial metaphor. The contention here is that however central fragmentation has been to analyses of contemporary international law, this notion has been conceptually assumed, ahistorically accepted and philosophically under-examined. The ‘fragment’ metaphor is tied historically to a cartographic rationality – and thus ‘reality’ – of all social space being reducible to a geometric object and, correspondingly, a planimetric map. The purpose of this article is to generate an appreciation among international lawyers that the problem of ‘fragmentation’ is more deeply rooted in epistemology and conceptual history. This requires an explanation of how the conflation of social space with planimetric reduction came to be constructed historically and used politically, and how that model informs representations of legal practices and perceptions of ‘international legal order’ as an inherently absolute and geometric. This implies the need to dig up and expose background assumptions that have been working to precondition a ‘fragmented’ characterization of worldly space. With the metaphor of ‘digging’ in mind, I draw upon Michel Foucault’s ‘archaeology of knowledge’ and, specifically, his assertion that epochal ideas are grounded by layers of ‘obscure knowledge’ that initially seem unrelated to a discourse. In the case of the fragmentation narrative, I argue obscure but key layers can be found in the Cartesian paradigm of space as a geometric object and the modern States’ imperative to assert (geographic) jurisdiction. To support this claim, I attempt to excavate the fragment metaphor by discussing key developments that led to the production and projection of geometric and planimetric reality since the 16th century.


Nikolas M. Rajkovic
Lecturer in International Law at the University of Kent Law School. Contact: n.rajkovic@kent.ac.uk. The research for this article was supported by a Jean Monnet Fellowship from the Global Governance Programme of the Robert Schuman Centre for Advanced Studies, European University Institute. Further support was given for the presentation and discussion of earlier drafts by COST Action IS1003 “International Law between Constitutionalization and Fragmentation”, the Institute for Global Law and Policy of the Harvard Law School, the Kent Law School and the International Studies Association (San Francisco Annual Convention). I am indebted to the helpful feedback of Tanja Aalberts, Katja Freistein, Alexis Galan, Harry Gould, Outi Korhonen, Philipe Liste, Nicholas Onuf, Kerry Rittich, Harm Schepel, Anna Sobczak, Peter Szigeti, Wouter Werner and the two anonymous reviewers.
Article

Access_open Between a Rock and a Hard Place: Treaty-Based Settlement of Terrorism-Related Disputes in the Era of Active United Nations Security Council Involvement

Journal Erasmus Law Review, Issue 2 2013
Keywords Terrorism, inter-state dispute, international treaties, the United Nations Security Council, the International Court of Justice
Authors Nathanael Tilahun Ali LL.M.
AbstractAuthor's information

    The United Nations Security Council has become a crucial actor in international counterterrorism by not only spurring the taking of preventive and suppressive measures against terrorist individuals and groups, but also by taking actions against states that are said to stand in the way. The Security Council's actions against such states invariably arise from accusations by other states, such as accusations of refusal to extradite suspects of terrorism or responsibility for supporting terrorists. Meanwhile, most such issues of dispute are covered under international treaties relating to terrorism, which provide for political (negotiation) and judicial (arbitration and adjudication) mechanisms of dispute settlement. The Security Council's actions against states in connection with terrorism, therefore, involve (explicit or implicit) factual and legal determinations that affect the legal positions of the disputing states under the applicable international treaties relating to terrorism. The point of departure of this paper is that, in this respect, the Security Council effectively becomes an alternative to the treaty-based dispute-settlement mechanisms. The article centrally contends that the Security Council effectively acts as a more attractive alternative to treaty-based dispute-settlement mechanisms for pursuing terrorism-related (legal) disputes between states, without providing a meaningful platform of disputation that is based on equality of the parties. And the Security Council's relative attractiveness, arising from the discursive and legal superiority its decisions enjoy and the relative convenience and expediency with which those decisions are delivered, entails the rendering of resort to treaty-based dispute-settlement mechanisms of little legal consequence. The point of concern the article aims to highlight is the lack of platform of disputation some states are faced with, trapped between a hostile Security Council that makes determinations and decisions of legal consequence and an unhelpful treaty-based dispute-settlement mechanism.


Nathanael Tilahun Ali LL.M.
PhD Candidate in public international law, Erasmus School of Law. E: ali@law.eur.nl. I would like to thank Prof. Xandra Kramer and Prof. Ellen Hey for their valuable comments on an earlier draft of this article. The usual disclaimer applies.
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