20 April 2015

CALL FOR PROPOSALS: Law Text Culture

The Editorial Board of Law Text Culture is seeking proposals for the 2016 special edition of the Journal (Volume 20), due for publication in December 2016.

Law Text Culture is a transcontinental, peer-reviewed interdisciplinary journal which aims to produce fresh insights and knowledges about law and jurisprudence across three interconnected axes:

Politics: engaging the relationship of force and resistance;
Aesthetics: eliciting the relationship of judgment and expression;
Ethics: exploring the relationship of self and other.

The annual thematic special issue, curated by guest editors, is selected by the editorial board. Each issue explores its theme across a range of genres, with scholarly essays and articles sitting alongside visual and literary engagements. In this way, Law Text Culture excites unique intersectional and interdisciplinary encounters with law in all its forms.

Proposals by potential guest editors should include:

- a concise description of the proposed theme;
- a draft call for papers setting out the aims and concepts of the issue;
- an indication of the intended authors and how they are to be identified/contacted (eg whether the proposal arises out of a seminar series, conference or workshop);
- the range of genres (eg poetry, scholarly essays, visual arts etc) expected to be included in the edition; and
- brief details of the guest editor(s).

Proposals should be no more than 500 words and should be emailed to the Managing Editor by close of business 30 May 2015. For further information on the journal, including the role of guest editors, and general information on the publication process, and the journal style guide, please visit the website http://lha.uow.edu.au/law/LIRC/LTC/index.html. Details on the editors and themes of previous editions of Law Text Culture are available at: http://ro.uow.edu.au/ltc/all_issues.html

16 April 2015

ARTICLE ANNOUNCEMENT: Presumption of Innocence or Presumption of Mercy?: Weighing Two Western Modes of Justice James Q. Whitman

By James Q. Whitman
American criminal law has a deep commitment to the presumption of innocence. Yet at the same time, American criminal justice is, by international standards, extraordinarily harsh. This Article addresses this troubling state of affairs. The Article contrasts the American approach with the approach of the inquisitorial tradition of continental Europe. Inquisitorial justice, it argues, has a less far-reaching presumption of innocence than American justice does. Yet if continental justice puts less weight on the rights of the innocent it puts more on the rights of the guilty: While its presumption of innocence is comparatively weaker, it has what can be called a strong presumption of mercy. The continental approach produces forms of criminal procedure that can shock Americans. Continental trial in particular often seems to American observers to operate on a disturbing de facto presumption of guilt; the most recent example is the high-profile trial of Amanda Knox. Yet the continental approach has contributed to the making of a significantly more humane criminal justice system than ours. Moreover, the continental approach is better suited to cope with the rise of new forms of scientific investigation. The Article pleads for a shift away from the American culture of rights for the innocent toward a greater concern with continental-style rights for the guilty. It closes with an Appendix assessing the Knox case.

Click here to download this article

15 April 2015

Social Death as a Way of Punishing and Preventing Mass Murder

    Tuesday, March 24th, 2015: the crash of the Airbus A320, Flight Germanwings 9525 from Barcelona to Düsseldorf. Because he is aware of the fact that his depressive state and his eye condition will over time cause the loss of his job as a pilot for the subsidiary of a prestigious airline, and realizing that his dream of becoming an aircraft captain on intercontinental flights is doomed to failure, a young copilot chose to end his life, leading 149 other people to death. According to the Marseilles prosecutor’s narrative, the facts speak for themselves: the crime was premeditated. The perpetrator took advantage of the  captain’s brief absence to lock him out the cockpit, cut off any form of communication with the outside, and operate a progressive descent, which about ten minutes later would crash the aircraft on the slopes of the French Alps, causing the death of all passengers and crew members.

    Such a despicable crime defies comprehension. One cannot use the term terrorism, even though the act triggers fear, since there is no ideological or political aim. Although such mass murder is heinous and inhuman, it cannot be considered as a crime against humanity without political, philosophical, racial, or religious motives.

    Yet such a crime is a denial of humanity, not only of one person, but of a large number of victims who were, with a few exceptions, anonymous and had nothing to do with the perpetrator’s frustrating life experience or the organization on which he cast blame.

    Whether domestic or international, criminal law does not provide any specific characterization for this kind of crime, though increasingly frequent. The perpetrator knows his act will have global significance and visibility due to media and social network coverage. More and more anti-heroes kill dozens of people, often randomly, before killing themselves, whether in shootings in schools, universities, shopping malls or other public areas or, such as in the present case, through the destruction of an aircraft and the killing of all those on board.

    Such acts challenge our ability to react. Efforts are made to secure public places; companies and regulatory authorities will revise air transport security protocols, but criminal law cannot have any effect on the criminal who kills himself in the process.

    We are left with the resource of punishing the criminal by depriving him of the posthumous fame he was longing for.

    Pictures of this young man smiling in front of the Golden Gate Bridge or wearing glittering sportswear have been shown all around the world. They ensure the triumph of the diabolical ego of potential mass murderers and are an insult to the families of the victims. Let us punish such odious beings using one of the harshest sanctions the social group can inflict, a total and absolute anonymous treatment. May his face be concealed with black on any video or photographic representation, may his name be ignored forever. In the past, France used to inflict the sentence of “civil death,” a sanction that until 1854 would treat convicts serving a life sentence as dead. Though physically alive, the convict was treated as dead, losing legal personality and all its attributes. Let us impose the sentence of “social death,” by no longer recognizing as human those denying our humanity.
If the media and the people relaying the pictures acted this way, we may perhaps defeat plans of other frustrated people who may find less incentive in playing the anti-heroes and causing collective death.
Furthermore, such anonymous treatment would help protect the family, friends, and neighbors of the murderer, whose lives are shattered and made unbearable due to journalistic interference, collective stigmatization, and what must be feelings of overwhelming personal guilt by virtue of their relationship with the murderer.

    The idea is not to promote silence when dealing with those terrible events, which obviously have to be discussed. The point is to deprive the murderer of his name and face, to make him sink into his fate of anonymous cursed copilot. Since his crime is unspeakable, we should deprive him of his name and identity; he should become void, as one who has never existed. Not even a stone should bear his name.

    There is no need to amend any law or draft international agreements to do so. Let us act as responsible citizens by changing the law through our collective behavior, which may become a national and international custom. Custom is a way of reclaiming the law where our representatives are slow or powerless in making it evolve. Let us create a usage or common practice of treating collective murderers anonymously, so that neither our contemporaries, nor our descendants will be able to know, or even care to know, the name or the face of those who despise and hate mankind. Some newspapers and television channels already do so. Such behavior must be promoted and generalized. We do not want to allow our contemporaries to make a gruesome connection between happiness and horror; we want to prevent our children from portraying the denial of mankind with smile and innocence.


© 2015 Olivier Moréteau, translated from the French by Sara Vono, with the help of Jennifer Lane and Marie-Antoinette Moréteau.
See original in French on Le juriste français 

14 April 2015

BOOK: Amaya on the Nature of Coherence and its Role in Legal Argument


Recently legal scholarship has been heavily influenced by coherence theories of law and adjudication. These theories significantly advance the case for coherentism in law, yet a number of problems remain. This ambitious new work is the first to develop a coherence-based theory of legal reasoning, and in so doing address, or at least mitigate, these problems. The book is organised in three parts. Part one critically analyses the main coherentist approaches to both normative and factual reasoning in law. Part two investigates coherence theory in a number of fields that are relevant to law: coherence theories of epistemic justification, coherentist approaches to belief revision and theory-choice, coherence theories of practical and moral reasoning and coherence-based approaches to discourse interpretation. Taking this interdisciplinary analysis as a starting point, part three develops a coherence-based model of legal reasoning, building upon the standard theory of legal reasoning, leading to a reconsideration of some of the basic assumptions that characterise this theory and suggesting some lines along which it may be further developed. Thus, the book not only improves upon the current state of coherence theory in law, but also helps to articulate a theory of legal reasoning that results in better decision-making.

THE AUTHOR
Amalia Amaya is a Researcher in the Institute of Philosophical Research at the National Autonomous University of Mexico.

BOOK DETAILS
March 2015   9781849460705  560pp   Hbk   RSP: £75 / US$150
Discount Price: £60 / US$120

If you would like to place an order for the book you can do so through the Hart Publishing website (link below). To receive the discount please type the reference ‘CV7’ in the voucher code field and click ‘apply’

10 April 2015

JURIS DIVERSITAS BOOK SERIES: Update and Call for Proposals

Juris Diversitas is proud to have a book series with Ashgate Publishing (we're also a Publishing Partner): 

Rooted in comparative law, the Juris Diversitas Series focuses on the interdisciplinary study of legal and normative mixtures and movements. Our interest is in comparison broadly conceived, extending beyond law narrowly understood to related fields. Titles might be geographical or temporal comparisons. They could focus on theory and methodology, substantive law, or legal cultures. They could investigate official or unofficial ‘legalities’, past and present and around the world. And, to effectively cross spatial, temporal, and normative boundaries, inter- and multi-disciplinary research is particularly welcome. 

Since October 2014, the following titles have been published:
  1. Seán Patrick Donlan and Lukas Heckerdon-Ursheler (eds), Concepts of Law: Comparative, Jurisprudential, and Social Science Perspectives 
  2. Sue Farran, Esin Örücü, and Seán Patrick Donlan (eds), A Study of Mixed Legal Systems: Endangered, Entrenched, or Blend
  3. Vernon Palmer, Mohamed Y Mattar, and Anna Koppel (eds), Mixed Legal Systems, East and West
  4. Daniela Berti, Anthony Good, and Gilles Tarabout (eds), Of Doubt and Proof: Ritual and Legal Practices of Judgment
Among other titles, the following are due in 2015:
While we anticipate publishing future collections (original, conference-based, Festschriften, etc), we're also very interested in publishing monographs and student texts. 

Note that selected volumes are also provided free with membership.

In addition, Ashgate Publishing is delighted to offer members of Juris Diversitas a special discount of 20% on all Ashgate’s titles. 

08 April 2015

JOURNAL ANNOUNCEMENT: European Law Journal new issue

The Whig history of European integration has tended to assume both that the EU is a ‘club’ of democratic states and that being a member of the EU necessarily results in the strengthening of national democracy. But even a summary reading of the post-war history of the states that formed the little Europe of six will throw serious doubts on the extent to which the Whig narrative can be taken without a pinch of salt. Think about the many violations of fundamental rights during the Algerian war, the obscure episodes of collusion of state apparatuses with terrorist groups during the anni di piombo, not unrelated to aborted coups d'état, the shamefully ugly face of colonialism and post-colonialism, not to speak of the dark legacies of fascist legal theory. The rise of ‘plébéiens de droit’ (à la Häider, Berlusconi, Orban or Le Pen) is the last episode of a story that did not start yesterday and in which threats invariably come from non-democratic forces, whether they claim to be right wing or left wing. This makes exceedingly topical and interesting the question that Mueller poses in the opening article of this issue, namely, Can there be a dictatorship within the EU? Mueller's institutional and substantive proposals are bound to be highly polemical, as well as his (perhaps not fully un-Whig) assumption that there is more of a threat coming from ‘illiberal’ democracy (à la Orban) than from authoritarian liberalism (à la austerity). But the central question and the key issues raised in Müller's article are bound to remain with us in the foreseeable future.
While the interest in Euratom has constantly declined, Álvarez Verdugo's article is a good reminder that much can be contributed to the general debate on Union law from what are widely (and wrongly) regarded as esoteric issues at the margins of the European legal order. The story of the other stress tests, i.e. the tests of European nuclear plants undertaken after the Fukushima nuclear accident, and the ensuing attempts at changing European nuclear safety rules prove that sometimes more light can be thrown from the margins than from the core of EU law. Three contributions to this issue revolve around the potential of non-discrimination as a tool for the realisation and protection of fundamental rights and liberties. Travis' analysis of the European legal regime of intersexuality combines careful attention to legal detail and context with a powerful case for the constructive role of non-discrimination. Costa Arcarazo finds that through non-discrimination, the Long Term Residence Directive and the case-law of the European Court of Justice have resulted in the crystallisation of a truly post-national status for permanent residents in the EU. Pearson revisits one of the most passionately debated issues regarding free movement of workers, the system of transfer of football players, and finds that the present arrangements are likely to fall foul of Union law.
Van der Aa invites us to dig deeper into European criminal law from the standpoint of the rights of victims after the sentence is rendered, that is, in the post-trial stage. The author finds that European law is still open to the criticism of neglecting the rights of victims, something for which lack of competence is no valid excuse. Last but not least, Marxsen revisits ‘stakeholders’ consultations, one of the jewels in the crown of participatory democracy. The author documents that business and industry organisations dominate the consultative process, while the participation of citizens and not-for-profit organisations is generally weak. It seems, after all, that the days of representative democracy are not only not over, but should not be over.
As this issue goes to the presses, we are giving the final touches to the May issue, which will contain a special section around the English translation of Hermann Heller's piece on authoritarian liberalism. Leaving aside two short encyclopedia entries written in English just before his untimely death in 1933, and a long extract of his posthumous Theory of the State (masterfully translated by David Dyzenhaus), Heller's writings remain untranslated into English. That is sad, odd and unacceptable. Heller's analysis of the decline and fall of the Democratic Rechtsstaat in Europe, as well as the transformation of his thinking as the crises unfolded in Europe, are as topical today as they were in the early 1930s. Given that Heller practised law in context avant la lettre, it is only natural that the ELJ takes the lead in sparking interest and in prompting debate around the fundamental contributions of Heller to European constitutional legal theory.
Click here for further information on the current issue.

CALL FOR PAPERS: 4th Law and Boundaries conference

The Law and Boundaries group just launched the call for papers for the 4th Law and Boundaries conference, which will be held in Paris on June 17/18 and will host, among tens of young scholars, a debate between Etienne Balibar and Duncan Kennedy on Marx and Foucault. The deadline for proposal is April 17th

06 April 2015

CONFERENCE: Methodological Frameworks of Postgraduate Research in Law (27-28 April 2015)

27-28 April 2015

A two-day event co-organised by Åbo Akademi and the University of Helsinki.  

The focus of the event is methodological, and its approach is practical. What methods are available for legal research (doctrinal, socio-legal, historical, comparative, etc.)? What method does the research question of your thesis imply? What options do you have? What are the relative strengths and weaknesses of the options you have?

The event is tailored for 15-20 postgraduate research students, and it includes plenary sessions addressing general questions, targeted working groups with leading experts representing different approaches, collaborative work in student groups, as well as pop-up clinics allowing for short face-to-face consultations with senior colleagues. The event will conclude with instructions for a written assignment, to be submitted online at a later date, that is intended to serve you as a draft for the methodological section of your thesis. Participation in the two-day event, including completion of the written assignment, will give you 4 ECTS credits that you can use against the research training requirements at your home institution (e.g. module code 20600 at the University of Helsinki). Please consult the appropriate staff members at your institution for details.

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