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Laws, Volume 13, Issue 3 (June 2024) – 9 articles

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23 pages, 469 KiB  
Article
Redefining Boundaries in the Metaverse: Navigating the Challenges of Virtual Harm and User Safety
by Mohamed Chawki, Subhajit Basu and Kyung-Shick Choi
Laws 2024, 13(3), 33; https://doi.org/10.3390/laws13030033 - 24 May 2024
Viewed by 322
Abstract
This paper analyses sexual crimes within the Metaverse to develop an effective legal framework. The aim is to enhance safety in virtual realities, ensuring the Metaverse remains a secure, respectful, and liberating environment for all users. As the Metaverse continues to evolve, merging [...] Read more.
This paper analyses sexual crimes within the Metaverse to develop an effective legal framework. The aim is to enhance safety in virtual realities, ensuring the Metaverse remains a secure, respectful, and liberating environment for all users. As the Metaverse continues to evolve, merging augmented physical reality with digital existence, it introduces new opportunities for socialisation, commerce, education, and entertainment. However, this digital realm also faces significant challenges, particularly the increase in sexual violence. This article evaluates the development of the Metaverse and its impact on sexual offences. It provides an overview of the Metaverse, followed by an in-depth exploration of the nature of sexual violence in this virtual space, its effects on victims, and the resulting legal and ethical issues. Additionally, this article examines the complexities of combating sexual violence within the Metaverse, reviewing the legal frameworks in various jurisdictions, including the United States, the European Union, the United Kingdom, and South Korea. These examinations reveal a range of legal viewpoints and possible solutions. This article outlines a proposed legal framework, highlighting key strategic areas for mitigating sexual violence in the Metaverse. The primary objective is to enrich the discourse on the Metaverse, pushing for strong, flexible, and holistic legal measures. Through this research, we aim to contribute to the creation of protective mechanisms against sexual violence in these emerging virtual landscapes. Full article
(This article belongs to the Topic Emerging Technologies, Law and Policies)
30 pages, 338 KiB  
Article
Incentivizing Civic Engagement at Public and Private Universities: Tax Exemptions, Laws, and Critical Dialogues
by Eric Morrow, Casey Thompson, Payton Jones and Boleslaw Z. Kabala
Laws 2024, 13(3), 32; https://doi.org/10.3390/laws13030032 - 22 May 2024
Viewed by 274
Abstract
What are the differences in how public and private institutions of higher education, with religious schools as a subset of private colleges and universities, approach on-campus protests in a framework of civic engagement? Unfortunately, public, private, and religious schools have all restricted opportunities [...] Read more.
What are the differences in how public and private institutions of higher education, with religious schools as a subset of private colleges and universities, approach on-campus protests in a framework of civic engagement? Unfortunately, public, private, and religious schools have all restricted opportunities of speech, assembly, and protest, despite in many cases state and federal courts ruling that this is against the law. With the goal of increasing the civic capacities of students at all institutions of higher education, we propose a mechanism of partial revocation of tax exemptions at universities that do not currently uphold a robust understanding of civic engagement opportunities for all students, which will apply to any college or university receiving federal funding, consistent with the constitutional tradition of free speech still exemplified by Brandenburg v. Ohio and the “national policy” test of Bob Jones University vs. United States. In doing so, we build on the critique of exemptions in the recent work of Vincent Phillip Munoz on religious liberty. By opting only for incentives and by not even incentivizing private institutions that continue to restrict civic engagement but that do not accept federal dollars, we affirm and support a mutually beneficial ongoing dialogue among public, private, and religious schools. This dialogue, as it is sharpened and maintained in place by our recommended policies, is also consistent with pluralism as conceptualized by Jacob Levy. Full article
10 pages, 234 KiB  
Article
Algorithmic Exploitation in Social Media Human Trafficking and Strategies for Regulation
by Derek M. Moore
Laws 2024, 13(3), 31; https://doi.org/10.3390/laws13030031 - 20 May 2024
Viewed by 544
Abstract
Human trafficking thrives in the shadows, and the rise of social media has provided traffickers with a powerful and unregulated tool. This paper delves into how these criminals exploit online platforms to target and manipulate vulnerable populations. A thematic analysis of existing research [...] Read more.
Human trafficking thrives in the shadows, and the rise of social media has provided traffickers with a powerful and unregulated tool. This paper delves into how these criminals exploit online platforms to target and manipulate vulnerable populations. A thematic analysis of existing research explores the tactics used by traffickers on social media, revealing how algorithms can be manipulated to facilitate exploitation. Furthermore, the paper examines the limitations of current regulations in tackling this online threat. The research underscores the urgent need for collaboration between governments and researchers to combat algorithmic exploitation. By harnessing data analysis and machine learning, proactive strategies can be developed to disrupt trafficking networks and protect those most at risk. Full article
(This article belongs to the Topic Emerging Technologies, Law and Policies)
14 pages, 234 KiB  
Article
Law, Technology, and Our Governance Dilemma
by Roger Brownsword
Laws 2024, 13(3), 30; https://doi.org/10.3390/laws13030030 - 10 May 2024
Viewed by 524
Abstract
This article highlights a dilemma that we face when we turn to new tools that promise to improve on law’s imperfect governance. On the one hand, our discontent with law’s governance is both broad and deep, and much of it is rooted in [...] Read more.
This article highlights a dilemma that we face when we turn to new tools that promise to improve on law’s imperfect governance. On the one hand, our discontent with law’s governance is both broad and deep, and much of it is rooted in the human nature of the legal enterprise. Yet, we remain attached to the essentially human nature of law’s governance. On the other hand, we recognise the potential benefits in technological governance but not without some displacement of the human element. Caught on the horns of this dilemma, we attempt to limit the loss of the human element by insisting that governance must be compatible with human rights or human dignity, or, more directly, that governance must limit the applications of technology so that they remain human-centric. Given a demand for human-centric applications of technologies, we consider how far humans might, and should, go in deploying new tools with a view to improving law’s imperfect governance. Should these tools be limited to assisting humans? Or, might they replace humans? Or might we even govern by technological management of places, products, and processes so that reliance on both humans and rules is reduced? It is concluded that, in all spheres of governance and in all human communities, the one thing that is essential is that the applications of new technologies are controlled so that they do not undermine the generic conditions which are presupposed by viable groups of human agents. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Law and Emerging Technologies)
19 pages, 1528 KiB  
Article
Establishing Boundaries to Combat Tax Crimes in Indonesia
by Dwi Nurferyanto and Yoshi Takahashi
Laws 2024, 13(3), 29; https://doi.org/10.3390/laws13030029 - 4 May 2024
Viewed by 740
Abstract
Enforcing criminal tax law in Indonesia presents a critical yet challenging task, because of the intricate interplay between tax and criminal law interests. The Indonesian Government has introduced leniency in tax criminal law enforcement, guided by the ultimum remedium principle, where criminal sanctions [...] Read more.
Enforcing criminal tax law in Indonesia presents a critical yet challenging task, because of the intricate interplay between tax and criminal law interests. The Indonesian Government has introduced leniency in tax criminal law enforcement, guided by the ultimum remedium principle, where criminal sanctions are considered as a last resort. Under this policy, tax offenders can absolve themselves from legal liability. However, such leniency throughout the enforcement process can lead to perceptions of injustice within society. This research uses descriptive, evaluative, and normative juridical methods to examine Indonesia’s approach to enforcing criminal tax laws within the framework of tax and legal interests. Our findings reveal that the current policies heavily favor taxpayer interests by providing numerous concessions to offenders. This trend is concerning, as it may result in a surge of tax crime cases. Conversely, adopting the primum remedium principle, where criminal sanctions are the initial response, poses the risk of harsh legal consequences. In light of these challenges, we propose a balanced approach incorporating elements of both ultimum and primum remedium principles to establish clear boundaries and provisions within criminal tax law enforcement policies. By doing so, we aim to accommodate tax interests while upholding legal interests. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Criminal Justice Issues)
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20 pages, 386 KiB  
Article
The Challenge of Defining the Secular
by Georgina Clarke and Renae Barker
Laws 2024, 13(3), 28; https://doi.org/10.3390/laws13030028 - 2 May 2024
Viewed by 831
Abstract
Judges have long wrestled with the gigantean task of defining religion, with some describing the task as being ‘called upon to ponder the imponderable’, an impossible task, and even misguided. Despite these sentiments, and comments in almost every legal definition expressing the impossibility [...] Read more.
Judges have long wrestled with the gigantean task of defining religion, with some describing the task as being ‘called upon to ponder the imponderable’, an impossible task, and even misguided. Despite these sentiments, and comments in almost every legal definition expressing the impossibility of the task, judges have, in fact, been able to come up with numerous legal definitions for religion. These have been applied in myriad circumstances to define the outer limits of the rights and responsibilities of states, religious communities, organisations, and individuals. By contrast, the term secular has rarely been judicially defined. However, it is no-less important in defining the rights and responsibilities of states and their citizens and residents, particularly in light of the number of states that claim, implicitly or explicitly, to be secular. This paper, therefore, (re)examines the definition of the secular as it pertains to the concept of the secular state. It considers the need for a legal definition of the secular with particular reference to constitutional and other legal instruments that include the term. It then examines the difference between the terms secular, secularisation and secularism, noting the often erroneous conflation as well as the inevitable interaction and overlap between these key concepts. Finally, drawing on existing classifications of legal definitions of religion, the paper classifies definitions of the secular into three overarching classifications, namely ‘historical’, ‘substantive’ and ‘characteristic’. Full article
16 pages, 305 KiB  
Article
The Danger of the Interpretation of Facts: Legal Uncertainty in the Spanish Saga Cases
by Nataša Rajković
Laws 2024, 13(3), 27; https://doi.org/10.3390/laws13030027 - 28 Apr 2024
Viewed by 591
Abstract
Enhancing legal certainty is one of the main values that are sought in the investor–state dispute settlement system. The importance of legal certainty is strengthened in the case of renewable energy investments, which are in the global public interest, long-term and capital-intensive up-front. [...] Read more.
Enhancing legal certainty is one of the main values that are sought in the investor–state dispute settlement system. The importance of legal certainty is strengthened in the case of renewable energy investments, which are in the global public interest, long-term and capital-intensive up-front. The first part of the paper presents the importance of legal certainty in investment arbitration in general, its limits and its importance in the context of the green energy transition. In addition, it addresses the special features of renewable energy investments. The second part of the paper analyses from the perspective of legal certainty the Spanish renewable energy cases initiated under the Energy Charter Treaty (ECT), which deal with similar factual and legal issues. In this respect, the paper presents the varying weight tribunals gave to the important facts that led them further to conclude whether Spain breached the fair and equitable treatment standard, and if so, whether the investor was entitled to full compensation or a reasonable rate of return. In addition, it presents different approaches to perceiving the stability provision of Article 10 (1) of the ECT. The paper concludes that it remains uncertain to what extent RE investors will be protected under the ECT’s stability condition in the case of fundamental or small-scale changes. Although one group of arbitrators may argue that the fundamental change triggers per se a breach of a stability condition, others may argue that for the breach to be established, the host state’s measures must be arbitrary, unreasonable or discriminatory. Moreover, the threat to legal certainty might not only be the vague provisions of the ECT but also the significant discretion tribunals have towards the interpretation of facts, leading to different outcomes. Indeed, it is at the discretion of arbitrators to consider whether the timing of investment, presence of evidence indicating possible regulatory changes, and the reasonable rate of return prescribed in Spain’s domestic law will be relevant or irrelevant. Full article
28 pages, 319 KiB  
Article
The Judicialisation of Parliamentary Privilege in Canada: A Cautionary Tale
by Lorne Neudorf
Laws 2024, 13(3), 26; https://doi.org/10.3390/laws13030026 - 26 Apr 2024
Viewed by 661
Abstract
Over the past few decades, Canadian courts have exerted strong influence over the meaning and operation of parliamentary privileges. Starting with a television producer’s Charter rights claim to access a provincial legislature’s public gallery and followed by an employment law claim made by [...] Read more.
Over the past few decades, Canadian courts have exerted strong influence over the meaning and operation of parliamentary privileges. Starting with a television producer’s Charter rights claim to access a provincial legislature’s public gallery and followed by an employment law claim made by the chauffeur to the Speaker of the House of Commons, the Supreme Court of Canada has articulated an approach under which judges closely scrutinise privileges invoked by legislatures when defending themselves against litigated claims. By applying the doctrine of necessity, Canadian courts make authoritative rulings on what counts as a valid legislative function and the processes and activities needed to fulfil those functions. Canadian courts also require the scope of parliamentary privileges to be pleaded in narrow terms that correspond to the details of a plaintiff’s claim, which has resulted in a hollowed-out conception of privilege over time. In scrutinising the necessity and scope of privilege, Canadian courts have chipped away at the separation of powers. Further, the Canadian approach unjustifiably prioritises the judicial vindication of private rights over the institutional needs of the legislature. Courts in other jurisdictions should reject the Canadian approach and avoid scrutinising the propriety of the exercise of privilege through a necessity test. Instead, courts should engage in a more limited jurisdictional test to confirm the availability of a relevant category of parliamentary privilege in law or historical practice. Judicialising parliamentary privileges weakens the autonomy and vitality of legislative institutions, with the Canadian approach serving as a cautionary tale. Ultimately, the legislature is accountable to the electorate for the exercise of its privileges. To promote fairness and reduce the risk of court interference, parliaments should strengthen the accountability and transparency associated with the exercise of their privileges, including by developing guidelines for their appropriate use. Full article
13 pages, 205 KiB  
Article
Human and Divine Law at the Secular University: The Divide between Classical Liberalism and Post-Classical Liberalism
by Owen Anderson
Laws 2024, 13(3), 25; https://doi.org/10.3390/laws13030025 - 24 Apr 2024
Viewed by 1008
Abstract
The American university has been guided by classical liberalism in its defense of the freedom of speech and academic freedom. The idea is that a university is a place where all ideas and perspectives can be debated. However, this idea is increasingly being [...] Read more.
The American university has been guided by classical liberalism in its defense of the freedom of speech and academic freedom. The idea is that a university is a place where all ideas and perspectives can be debated. However, this idea is increasingly being challenged by those who want the secular university to be a place that advances a social philosophy that promises to transform society by dismantling structural racism and providing for greater equity. In this article, I will argue that both of these models have been shaped by democratic legal ideals and both share a common skeptical assumption about the basic questions of meaning that each person must answer. The legal structures developed by Westphalian modernity attempt neutrality on questions about meaning. This can be seen even in recent Supreme Court decisions affirming the individual’s right to determine meaning for themselves. This skeptical root has produced the conflict between classical liberals and the social transformation that we are witnessing at our universities. I argue for a third option that I find in the Declaration of Independence, which affirms that we can and should know the answers to basic questions which then provide the foundation for education and law. Full article
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