Laws2015, 4(3), 377-412; doi:10.3390/laws4030377 (registering DOI) - published 30 July 2015 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: Revolutions in genetic technology have heralded the age of population-scale genomic metadata. This article analyzes the tensions and gaps between traditional conceptions of personhood and international legal responses to a person’s right over disembodied data obtained from his/her body. The opportunities for breakthroughs in healthcare by interrogating population-scale genomic databases are accompanied by questions about privacy, property, dignity, and the nature of information regulation in a global economy. This article highlights instances where law and policy makers have grappled with these challenges, and foreshadows some emerging future challenges. It also highlights differences between jurisdictions, and calls for greater global participation in the development of a coherent framework, rather than continued reliance on a small number of stakeholders, to develop that framework.
Abstract: This article explores the practice of gamete donation in the U.S. having in mind the larger question of what do we as a society owe children born as a result (donor-conceived children). Do recipient-parents have a duty to tell their donor-conceived child about his/her genetic origins? Should the identity of the donor be disclosed or remain anonymous? Does the child have a right to know her conception story and to receive information, including identifying information, about the donor? Furthermore, if a donor-conceived child has a right to know, who has the duty to tell her/him about it? The Article underscores the ethical, legal and social dilemmas that arise, comparing and contrasting with international developments in this arena. It highlights the market-based and more specific medical justifications for regulating this field, explores the emerging so-called right of the child to know his/her genetic origins (“the right to know”), and considers the challenges such a right evokes to existing legal culture and principles of medical ethics in the U.S. as well as other broader societal implications of such a right.
Abstract: The shipping industry, although relatively carbon-efficient, is projected to produce rising carbon emissions in the future as a consequence of increasing world trade. A number of candidate regulations designed to mitigate these emissions have been canvassed by the UN’s International Maritime Organisation and by the European Commission. Many of these schemes are focussed on the use of market measures—emission trading schemes or fuel levies. This paper draws on observational and interview data gathered to examine enforcement issues associated with the control of ships’ sulphur emissions in order to consider the possible enforcement problems that might be associated with projected market measures to control ships’ carbon emissions. Enforcement problems are shown to be associated with the globalised character of the industry and its polycentric governance structure.
Abstract: There has been a marked shift away from social liberalism in many parts of the world which has profound ramifications for women, whose status remains contingent on the good graces of public institutions that remain resolutely masculinist. Neoliberalism, with its focus on the privatisation of public goods and promotion of the self within the market has become the dominant political ideology everywhere and is further undermining the interests of the majority of women. This essay will address the changing fortunes of sex discrimination legislation as a specific example of an initiative designed to improve the status of women. Australia will be used as a case study because of its passionate embrace of, first, social liberalism, and then, neoliberalism. Issues pertaining to affirmative action (positive action), intersection with human rights instruments, reporting requirements and incentives will also be addressed. Although Australia is a multi-jurisdictional federation, the essay will focus primarily on the federal arena in terms of legislative initiatives, policy and jurisprudence.
Abstract: Article 12 of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, particularly as interpreted in the Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities General Comment No. 1, presents a significant challenge to all jurisdictions that equate interventions permitted under their mental health and incapacity laws with mental capacity. This is most notable in terms of the General Comment’s requirement that substitute decision-making regimes must be abolished. Notwithstanding this, it also offers the opportunity to revisit conceptions about the exercise of legal capacity and how this might be better supported and extended through supported decision-making. This article will offer some preliminary observations on this using Scottish mental health and incapacity legislation as an illustration although this may also have relevance to other jurisdictions.
Abstract: This article examines the central but neglected principle of solidarity in human rights, health and bioethics, a concept subject to contention, evasion and confusion. It addresses the general ambivalence toward solidarity within law, philosophy and politics by discussing solidarity’s co-evolution with inegalitarian encapsulations and divisions of human rights. It argues that a renewed conception of solidarity is essential to meet increasingly salient ethical demands, as gender equality and the individualization of responsibilities coincide with deficits of care and collective responsibility. Questions of embodiedness, (inter)dependence, care and asymmetry are neglected by dominant liberal approaches, but are key to rethinking solidarity.