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Laws, Volume 4, Issue 3 (September 2015) – 13 articles

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Article
Polluter-Pays-Principle: The Cardinal Instrument for Addressing Climate Change
Laws 2015, 4(3), 638-653; https://doi.org/10.3390/laws4030638 - 23 Sep 2015
Cited by 12 | Viewed by 6334
Abstract
This article traces the evolution of polluter-pays-principle (PPP) as an economic, ethical and legal instrument and argues that it has the potential of effecting global responsibility for adaptation and mitigation and for generating reliable funding for the purpose. However, the contradiction is that [...] Read more.
This article traces the evolution of polluter-pays-principle (PPP) as an economic, ethical and legal instrument and argues that it has the potential of effecting global responsibility for adaptation and mitigation and for generating reliable funding for the purpose. However, the contradiction is that while it rests on neoliberal market principles, the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change did not include the PPP as its provision though the principle of “common but differentiated responsibility based on respective capabilities” (Article 3.1) implicitly recognizes this. The article raises the basic question that under a free-market global system: why should the polluters not take responsibility of their actions so that the global society does not suffer? The Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) countries apply this PPP in many of its forms. Some developing countries are also applying it albeit still more as a governmental rather than polluter responsibility. Currently there is an emerging consensus that a carbon tax should be applied globally to address the intractable problem of climate change. Since the problem relates to a global commons, the issue is how to apply the PPP globally yet equitably. This article brings in Caney’s proposal that as complementary to the PPP. The “ability to pay principle” (APP) can take care of emissions of the past agreed by the Parties and current and future legitimate emissions of the disadvantaged countries and groups of people. He calls the latter poverty-sensitive PPP. While PPP is primarily a market principle, APP is a principle of justice and equity. That polluters should pay the social and environmental costs of their pollution reflects the most fundamental principles of justice and responsibility. Full article
Article
Access to Minerals: WTO Export Restrictions and Climate Change Considerations
Laws 2015, 4(3), 617-637; https://doi.org/10.3390/laws4030617 - 22 Sep 2015
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 2832
Abstract
In the past few years, the Chinese government opted to restrict the export of selected minerals on environmental and health grounds, subsequently leading to an uproar in countries and regions that rely heavily on imports from China to develop their renewable industry sector. [...] Read more.
In the past few years, the Chinese government opted to restrict the export of selected minerals on environmental and health grounds, subsequently leading to an uproar in countries and regions that rely heavily on imports from China to develop their renewable industry sector. This paper places the focus on the law and policy of the Chinese export restrictions of critical minerals, and its implications for the global renewables energy industry. The paper critically assesses how such export restrictions have been dealt with under the dispute settlement system of the World Trade Organisation (WTO). Drawing on this WTO jurisprudence, we posit that litigation on export restrictions of the kind imposed by China poses a threat to the legitimacy of the WTO. We therefore conclude by exploring whether there are any alternatives to litigation as a means to deal with countries choosing to impose mineral export restrictions. Full article
Article
Psychosocial Predictors of Compliance with Speed Limits and Alcohol Limits by Spanish Drivers: Modeling Compliance of Traffic Rules
Laws 2015, 4(3), 602-616; https://doi.org/10.3390/laws4030602 - 09 Sep 2015
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 2103
Abstract
To prevent dangerous driving behaviors, the Spanish government has implemented public policies focused primarily on increasing the harshness of sanctions for violations of traffic laws. However, empirical evidence has demonstrated that other factors, such as social norms and one’s own value system, have [...] Read more.
To prevent dangerous driving behaviors, the Spanish government has implemented public policies focused primarily on increasing the harshness of sanctions for violations of traffic laws. However, empirical evidence has demonstrated that other factors, such as social norms and one’s own value system, have an impact on people’s motivation to obey the law. A telephone survey was administered to a random sample of 570 Spanish drivers in order to determine the role played by each of these factors in compliance with two of the most flouted traffic rules. Logistic regression of the data allowed for the construction of models and arrive at the following conclusions: (1) social influence exerted by the reference group is a determining factor in compliance with both traffic laws; (2) legitimacy factors play an important role in complying with alcohol limits; and (3) variables from the deterrence approach only influenced compliance with speed limits, and then only moderately. The results of the present study suggest a need for a review of current public policy approaches for the prevention of dangerous driving behaviors. Full article
Article
The Absence of the Right to Culture of Minorities within Minorities in Israel: A Tale of a Cultural Dissent Case
Laws 2015, 4(3), 579-601; https://doi.org/10.3390/laws4030579 - 01 Sep 2015
Viewed by 2160
Abstract
The Israeli Plonit case concerns a Muslim woman who wished to be represented by a female arbitrator in a Shari’a Court. The Shari’a Court of Appeals denied her request and decided that Shari’a Law permits only men to serve as arbitrators. Plonit petitioned [...] Read more.
The Israeli Plonit case concerns a Muslim woman who wished to be represented by a female arbitrator in a Shari’a Court. The Shari’a Court of Appeals denied her request and decided that Shari’a Law permits only men to serve as arbitrators. Plonit petitioned the Israeli Supreme Court, which accepted her petition and decided that the Shari’a Court of Appeals’ decision infringed her right to equality. While I support the outcome of the Supreme Court’s decision, my paper sheds a light on a crucial matter that is absent in the decision; namely, the right to culture of Muslim women, who are a vulnerable members of a minority group in Israel, and therefore constitute a “minority within minority”. Analysing the case in terms of Plonit’s right to culture, in addition to her right to equality, has two advantages. First, it stresses the main issues at the heart of the legal debate, which are the minority culture’s norms and practices, and the right of the minority within the minority to influence and shape them as much as the majority within the minority. Second, when the minority within the minority’s claim is put in terms of the right to culture, and not only in terms of the right to equality, they are not necessarily perceived by other minority members as claims that try to enforce external norms on the minority culture. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Public Law - Engendering Equality)
Article
Doing “Life”: A Glimpse into the Long-Term Incarceration Experience
Laws 2015, 4(3), 559-578; https://doi.org/10.3390/laws4030559 - 26 Aug 2015
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 3530
Abstract
“Life means life” is a mantra of elected state officials who would rather spend already-compromised state budgets on increasing the use of imprisonment as a punishing tool rather than being viewed by their constituents as “soft on crime”. As a result of tough-on-crime [...] Read more.
“Life means life” is a mantra of elected state officials who would rather spend already-compromised state budgets on increasing the use of imprisonment as a punishing tool rather than being viewed by their constituents as “soft on crime”. As a result of tough-on-crime initiatives, approximately 160,000 out of 2.2 million inmates being held in jails and prisons in the United States are serving life sentences. While surviving imprisonment is a challenge for most individuals, prisoners who serve long sentences—including “life”—have different adaptation mechanisms, and for them, adaptation is a longer, more complex process. Further, while persons serving life sentences include those who present a serious threat to public safety, they also include those for whom the length of sentence is questionable. In particular, life without parole (LWOP) sentences often represent a misuse of limited correctional resources and discount the capacity for personal growth and rehabilitation that comes with the passage of time. The purpose of this article is to explore the “doing life” experiences of a man who has chosen to redirect the focus of his life by transforming himself and helping others. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Rough Justice: Penal Sanctions, Human Dignity, and Human Rights)
Article
Is There Room for Coherence in Climate Financial Assistance?
Laws 2015, 4(3), 541-558; https://doi.org/10.3390/laws4030541 - 24 Aug 2015
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 2098
Abstract
This article takes a closer look at the complex web of financial assistance mechanisms in the climate change sector. These mechanisms are important tools for assisting developing countries to address the challenges associated with climate change. Mapping the various types of institutions and [...] Read more.
This article takes a closer look at the complex web of financial assistance mechanisms in the climate change sector. These mechanisms are important tools for assisting developing countries to address the challenges associated with climate change. Mapping the various types of institutions and funds in this sector, the author underlines the important role played by the private sector but also highlights the increasing presence of financial mechanisms under the aegis of international organizations, such as the World Bank. Moreover, a particular focus is placed on the Green Climate Fund and the way in which the establishment of this mechanism may affect the functioning of existing financial mechanisms. In calling for better communication, coordination, and coherence among these actors and mechanisms, the author suggests that these ends may be achieved by placing an emphasis on plurality, complementarity, and mutual support through, inter alia, more effective policy oversight and enhanced inter-institutional relations. Full article
Article
What Role for Law, Human Rights, and Bioethics in an Age of Big Data, Consortia Science, and Consortia Ethics? The Importance of Trustworthiness
Laws 2015, 4(3), 515-540; https://doi.org/10.3390/laws4030515 - 20 Aug 2015
Cited by 12 | Viewed by 4812
Abstract
The global bioeconomy is generating new paradigm-shifting practices of knowledge co-production, such as collective innovation; large-scale, data-driven global consortia science (Big Science); and consortia ethics (Big Ethics). These bioeconomic and sociotechnical practices can be forces for progressive social change, but they can also [...] Read more.
The global bioeconomy is generating new paradigm-shifting practices of knowledge co-production, such as collective innovation; large-scale, data-driven global consortia science (Big Science); and consortia ethics (Big Ethics). These bioeconomic and sociotechnical practices can be forces for progressive social change, but they can also raise predicaments at the interface of law, human rights, and bioethics. In this article, we examine one such double-edged practice: the growing, multivariate exploitation of Big Data in the health sector, particularly by the private sector. Commercial exploitation of health data for knowledge-based products is a key aspect of the bioeconomy and is also a topic of concern among publics around the world. It is exacerbated in the current age of globally interconnected consortia science and consortia ethics, which is characterized by accumulating epistemic proximity, diminished academic independence, “extreme centrism”, and conflicted/competing interests among innovation actors. Extreme centrism is of particular importance as a new ideology emerging from consortia science and consortia ethics; this relates to invariably taking a middle-of-the-road populist stance, even in the event of human rights breaches, so as to sustain the populist support needed for consortia building and collective innovation. What role do law, human rights, and bioethics—separate and together—have to play in addressing these predicaments and opportunities in early 21st century science and society? One answer we propose is an intertwined ethico-legal normative construct, namely trustworthiness. By considering trustworthiness as a central pillar at the intersection of law, human rights, and bioethics, we enable others to trust us, which in turns allows different actors (both nonprofit and for-profit) to operate more justly in consortia science and ethics, as well as to access and responsibly use health data for public benefit. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Bioethics, Law and Human Rights: Global Intersections)
Article
Renewables, Preferential Trade Agreements and EU Energy Security
Laws 2015, 4(3), 472-514; https://doi.org/10.3390/laws4030472 - 07 Aug 2015
Viewed by 3011
Abstract
A major aim of the international community is to decarbonize the economy. With renewables, international trade in energy is likely to increase. In turn, the international trading system can be a major vehicle towards moving away from fossil fuels to renewable energy. To [...] Read more.
A major aim of the international community is to decarbonize the economy. With renewables, international trade in energy is likely to increase. In turn, the international trading system can be a major vehicle towards moving away from fossil fuels to renewable energy. To this end, it can provide fair competition, economies of scale and knowledge transfer. This article analyzes the impact of European Union (EU) preferential trade agreements (PTAs) in addressing climate change mitigation and energy security by promoting renewables. Currently, there is a proliferation of PTAs; this trend seems irreversible and is likely to persist, given the current crisis in the multilateral trading system. We argue that the EU can, through its network of PTAs, move towards greater energy independence as renewable energy becomes increasingly economically viable. This article provides a thorough review of the renewable energy-related provisions in the EU’s current PTAs and recommends three tangible ways through which the EU could capitalize its vast network of PTAs to boost the renewable energy market. Full article
Article
The Human Right to Water in Law and Implementation
Laws 2015, 4(3), 413-471; https://doi.org/10.3390/laws4030413 - 07 Aug 2015
Cited by 8 | Viewed by 4390
Abstract
Recent concerns about alleged insufficient water provision to the poor in Detroit, USA, has put the Human Right to Water (HRW) into the international discussion. The paper asks: “To what extent did international human rights treaties make HRW judiciable?” and “How did government [...] Read more.
Recent concerns about alleged insufficient water provision to the poor in Detroit, USA, has put the Human Right to Water (HRW) into the international discussion. The paper asks: “To what extent did international human rights treaties make HRW judiciable?” and “How did government policies implement it?” In a cross-country comparison of performance indicators, merely accepting HRW has not been helpful in promoting affordable access to potable water or sanitation facilities close to the home, amongst the reasons being deficiencies in water-governance. Case-law confirmed that with respect to affordable access HRW obliges governments to a “progressive realization” only, also in countries accepting HRW (India, South Africa). The paper focuses on the resulting positive state obligation to establish funding programs for better water and sanitation services and analyzes funding policies by a mathematical model of policy goals. It identifies two viable goals namely the successful support for the poor, as in developing countries, and the most economic use of public funds, as in industrialized countries. Other goals conceivable for the model have been tried in the past and failed. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Human Rights Issues)
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Article
Privacy, Personhood, and Property in the Age of Genomics
Laws 2015, 4(3), 377-412; https://doi.org/10.3390/laws4030377 - 30 Jul 2015
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 2932
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 [...] Read more.
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. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Bioethics, Law and Human Rights: Global Intersections)
Article
Regulating Gamete Donation in the U.S.: Ethical, Legal and Social Implications
Laws 2015, 4(3), 352-376; https://doi.org/10.3390/laws4030352 - 28 Jul 2015
Cited by 12 | Viewed by 3122
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 [...] Read more.
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. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Bioethics, Law and Human Rights: Global Intersections)
Article
Enforcement Issues in the Governance of Ships’ Carbon Emissions
Laws 2015, 4(3), 335-351; https://doi.org/10.3390/laws4030335 - 24 Jul 2015
Viewed by 2711
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 [...] Read more.
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. Full article
Article
The Political Contingency of Sex Discrimination Legislation: The Case of Australia
Laws 2015, 4(3), 314-334; https://doi.org/10.3390/laws4030314 - 24 Jun 2015
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 3416
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 [...] Read more.
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. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Public Law - Engendering Equality)
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