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Laws, Volume 9, Issue 4 (December 2020) – 12 articles

Cover Story (view full-size image): The creation and distribution of child sexual abuse material (CSAM) has become one of the fastest-growing illicit online industries in the United States. With rapid technological advances, challenges arise in investigating and prosecuting these crimes. The aim of this research was to understand both challenges and facilitators as a foundation to develop best practices in this area. Qualitative interviews and focus groups were conducted throughout the western United States. Two major themes arose from this research. Theme 1: Challenges, which include: technology and internet service providers, laws, lack of resources, and service provider mental health and well-being; and Theme 2: Facilitators, which included multidisciplinary teams and training. This research is a first step in understanding the experiences of law enforcement and prosecutors in addressing CSAM. View this paper.
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Open AccessArticle
Diplomatic and Consular Protection with Special Reference to Article 46 of the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights
Laws 2020, 9(4), 32; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/laws9040032 - 21 Dec 2020
Viewed by 490
Abstract
Central to EU law and policies is the protection of human rights. For the European Union (EU), these rights are sacrosanct. Over the years, more substance to the protection of fundamental rights emerged. The European Court of Justice (ECJ) is notably entrusted with [...] Read more.
Central to EU law and policies is the protection of human rights. For the European Union (EU), these rights are sacrosanct. Over the years, more substance to the protection of fundamental rights emerged. The European Court of Justice (ECJ) is notably entrusted with the protection of human rights and has always deemed it imperative that fundamental rights must be protected within the scope of EU law. The Court has always relied on strong European traditions and values and is guided by the inalienable principle of the rule of law. In the human rights record of the EU, the Kadi cases occupy a special place. The scope of the application of Article 46 is limited, and the application of the Charter is still not used to its full potential, and too few citizens are even aware of it. The Commission intends to present a strategy that would improve the use and awareness of the Charter. By the middle of 2020, the UK’s withdrawal from the EU had become acrimonious. One issue that still begs the conclusion is the status of and protection available to EU citizens living in the UK beyond 31 December 2020. These basic rights of its citizens are not negotiable for the EU. Full article
Open AccessArticle
Challenges of Effective Communication in the Criminal Justice Process: Findings from Interviews with Victims of Sexual Offences in Australia
Laws 2020, 9(4), 31; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/laws9040031 - 06 Dec 2020
Viewed by 532
Abstract
This article focuses on gendered experiences of the criminal justice system, specifically the experiences of adult female victims of sexual offending and the communication difficulties they experience during the criminal justice process. Drawing on the findings from qualitative interviews about sentencing with six [...] Read more.
This article focuses on gendered experiences of the criminal justice system, specifically the experiences of adult female victims of sexual offending and the communication difficulties they experience during the criminal justice process. Drawing on the findings from qualitative interviews about sentencing with six victims and 15 justice professionals in Australia, we compare the lived experiences of the victims with the perceptions of the justice professionals who work with them, revealing a significant gap between the information justice professionals believe they are providing and the information victims recall receiving. We then analyse the international literature to distil effective communication strategies, with the goal of improving victims’ experiences of the criminal justice system as a whole. Specifically, we recommend verbal communication skills training for justice professionals who work with victims of crime and the development of visual flowcharts to help victims better understand the criminal justice process. We also recommend that Australian victims’ rights regimes be reformed to place the responsibility for providing information about the criminal process on the relevant justice agencies, rather than requiring the victim to seek this information, and suggest piloting automated notification systems to help agencies fulfil their obligations to provide victims with such information. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Criminology and Criminal Justice)
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Open AccessArticle
Certainty and Uncertainty in Tax Law: Do Opposites Attract?
Laws 2020, 9(4), 30; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/laws9040030 - 04 Dec 2020
Viewed by 416
Abstract
The principle of certainty of taxation is the dimension of a general requirement of certainty in the legal system. The purpose of this article is to argue the thesis that uncertainty in tax law is not always an absolute evil, sometimes it acts [...] Read more.
The principle of certainty of taxation is the dimension of a general requirement of certainty in the legal system. The purpose of this article is to argue the thesis that uncertainty in tax law is not always an absolute evil, sometimes it acts as a means of the most optimal (and in some cases the only possible) settlement of relations in the field of taxes. On the contrary, uncertainty and fragmentation in tax law are colossal problems subject to overcome by the efforts of scientists, legislators, judges, and practicing lawyers. Uncertainty in tax law is manifested in two ways: on the one hand, negatively—as a defect (omission) of the legislator and, on the other hand, positively—as a set of specific legal means and technologies that are purposefully used in lawmaking and law enforcement. In this context, relatively determined legal tools are an effective channel for transition from uncertainty to certainty in the field of taxation. A tendency towards increased use of relatively determined legal tools in lawmaking processes (for example, principles, evaluative concepts, judicial doctrines, standards of good faith and reasonableness, discretion, open-ended lists, recommendations, framework laws, silence of the law, presumptive taxation, analogy, etc.), and involving various actors (courts, law enforcement agencies and officials, international organizations, citizens, organizations and their associations) allow making tax laws more dynamic flexible, and adequate to changing realities of everyday life. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Legal-Economic Issues of Digital & Collaborative Economy)
Open AccessArticle
Interrogating the Role and Value of Cultural Expertise in Law
Laws 2020, 9(4), 29; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/laws9040029 - 30 Nov 2020
Viewed by 527
Abstract
It is common for litigation to draw upon expert evidence to assist a judge to arrive at a balanced decision. This paper examines the role of one type of expert evidence submitted to courts, namely cultural expertise (CE), which provides information on socio-cultural [...] Read more.
It is common for litigation to draw upon expert evidence to assist a judge to arrive at a balanced decision. This paper examines the role of one type of expert evidence submitted to courts, namely cultural expertise (CE), which provides information on socio-cultural issues such as kinship, family, marriage, customs, language, religion, witchcraft and so on. This type of evidence is primarily the result of qualitative, ethnographic research. I begin by examining the views of experts who have provided CE to courts/mediators; I then look at how judges view and make use of CE, and finally I examine lawyers’ views on CE. To address gaps in published research, I interviewed British barristers to understand how they make use of experts in the cases they litigate. Finally, I have surveyed legal decisions made by all British appellate courts to arrive at an approximate idea of the extent to which CE has been submitted in English and Welsh courts. I conclude that the extent to which CE—and other types of socio-legal evidence—is submitted varies considerably depending upon the legal/evidentiary procedures followed in different jurisdictions and in different countries. Full article
Open AccessArticle
“Our Laws Have Not Caught up with the Technology”: Understanding Challenges and Facilitators in Investigating and Prosecuting Child Sexual Abuse Materials in the United States
Laws 2020, 9(4), 28; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/laws9040028 - 26 Nov 2020
Viewed by 637
Abstract
With technological advances, the creation and distribution of child sexual abuse material (CSAM) has become one of the fastest growing illicit online industries in the United States. Perpetrators are becoming increasingly sophisticated and exploit cutting-edge technology, making it difficult for law enforcement to [...] Read more.
With technological advances, the creation and distribution of child sexual abuse material (CSAM) has become one of the fastest growing illicit online industries in the United States. Perpetrators are becoming increasingly sophisticated and exploit cutting-edge technology, making it difficult for law enforcement to investigate and prosecute these crimes. There is limited research on best practices for investigating cases of CSAM. The aim of this research was to understand challenges and facilitators for investigating and prosecuting cases of CSAM as a foundation to develop best practices in this area. To meet these objectives, qualitative interviews and focus groups were conducted with participants throughout the western United States. Two major themes arose from this research: Theme 1: Challenges to investigating and prosecuting CSAM; and Theme 2: Facilitators to investigating and prosecuting CSAM. Within Theme 1, subthemes included technology and internet service providers, laws, lack of resources, and service provider mental health and well-being. Within Theme 2, subthemes included multidisciplinary teams and training. This research is a first step in understanding the experiences of law enforcement and prosecutors in addressing CSAM. Findings from this study can be used to support the development of best practices for those in the justice system investigating and prosecuting CSAM. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Laws and Emerging Technologies)
Open AccessArticle
Coronavirus and the Curtailment of Religious Liberty
Laws 2020, 9(4), 27; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/laws9040027 - 26 Nov 2020
Viewed by 650
Abstract
Even public health emergencies must be handled within the framework of the rule of law. The alternative is social chaos. Every nation on earth has been touched by the impact of COVID-19, a deadly pandemic that has changed—perhaps permanently—the manner in which we [...] Read more.
Even public health emergencies must be handled within the framework of the rule of law. The alternative is social chaos. Every nation on earth has been touched by the impact of COVID-19, a deadly pandemic that has changed—perhaps permanently—the manner in which we are governed and live our daily lives. This paper addresses the effect of the State’s response to the threat of Coronavirus upon the enjoyment of religious liberty, both directly and indirectly. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Crisis of Religious Freedom in the Age of COVID-19 Pandemic)
Open AccessArticle
No Place Called Home. The Banishment of ‘Foreign Criminals’ in the Public Interest: A Wrong without Redress
Laws 2020, 9(4), 26; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/laws9040026 - 17 Nov 2020
Viewed by 549
Abstract
This article examines the legal and ethical rationale for the deportation of ‘foreign criminals’ who have established their homes in the United Kingdom. It argues that provisions relating to automatic deportation constitute a second punishment that can be more accurately described as banishment. [...] Read more.
This article examines the legal and ethical rationale for the deportation of ‘foreign criminals’ who have established their homes in the United Kingdom. It argues that provisions relating to automatic deportation constitute a second punishment that can be more accurately described as banishment. The human rights of those defined as ‘foreign criminals’ have been reduced to privileges that are easily withdrawn with reference to the ill-defined public interest. The ability to challenge deportation is then compromised by a non-suspensive appeal process that deliberately undermines the right to an effective remedy whilst further damaging private and family life. With reference to social membership and domicile theories of belonging, it is suggested that those who have made their lives in the UK and established their place and domicile here should be regarded as unconditional members of civil society. As such, they are entitled to equality of treatment in the criminal justice system and should be immune from punitive ‘crimmigration’ measures. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Migrants and Human Rights Protections)
Open AccessArticle
China’s Environmental Vertical Management Reform: An Effective and Sustainable Way Forward or Trouble in Itself?
by
Laws 2020, 9(4), 25; https://doi.org/10.3390/laws9040025 - 11 Nov 2020
Viewed by 479
Abstract
An environmental management system provides the institutional foundation for sound environmental governance. Conventional environmental management systems, deriving from the combination of the vertical management of competent authorities and the localized management of local governments, can lead to local protectionism and implementation deviation at [...] Read more.
An environmental management system provides the institutional foundation for sound environmental governance. Conventional environmental management systems, deriving from the combination of the vertical management of competent authorities and the localized management of local governments, can lead to local protectionism and implementation deviation at the local level. Since 2016, environmental vertical management reform has been performed as a significant part of the overall promotion of the ecological civilization in China. Representing the most fundamental reform of China’s local environmental management system since the Environmental Protection Law of 1989, the environmental vertical management reform focuses on the reconstruction and adjustment of the environmental management functions among the local governments, and their environment protection authorities at the provincial, city, and county levels. In this paper, we provide an overview of the basic theory of the vertical management model, as well as the motivation for—and the legal/policy background, focuses/content, local practices, and results of—the environmental vertical management reform in China. In the discussion section, we analyze the current problems that impede the effectiveness and sustainability of this reform. On the basis of the analysis of the present and the problems, we raise the question of whether this round of reform is effective and will be sustainable in the future. In response to the challenges, feasible recommendations are proposed. These suggestions include firmly promoting the rule of law in the process of implementing the reform, enhancing the institutional supply and capacity building at the grassroots level, and taking advantage of the holistic governance under the leadership of the Communist Party of China (CPC). Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Environmental Law)
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Open AccessArticle
Sharing Property Sharing Labour: The Co-Production of Value in Platform Economies
Laws 2020, 9(4), 24; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/laws9040024 - 30 Oct 2020
Viewed by 576
Abstract
The recent meteoric rise of innovative companies in the sharing economy has divided commentators and regulators alike on the question of their socio-economic impact. Do these economic activities herald an equitable and sustainable alternative to existing practices, or are they simply expanding commercial [...] Read more.
The recent meteoric rise of innovative companies in the sharing economy has divided commentators and regulators alike on the question of their socio-economic impact. Do these economic activities herald an equitable and sustainable alternative to existing practices, or are they simply expanding commercial exploitation into greater areas of life? This dichotomy overlooks how these economic activities constitute new assemblages of labour and property, and shape the flow of value amongst their participants. I propose a conceptual mechanism of ‘labour-service’, whereby labour and value flow through webs of material objects, as a way of examining how organic collaboration is first structured by the laws of property, and then by the dynamics of nascent platform economies. Tracing labour-service through the sharing economy renders a clearer view of the factors that drive collaboration and exploitation, and hopefully can contribute towards more efficacious regulatory measures and advance academic commentary on this emerging phenomenon. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Law and Socio-economic relations of the Sharing Economy)
Open AccessArticle
Offshore Processing Arrangements: Effect on Treaty Ratifications of Receiving States
Laws 2020, 9(4), 23; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/laws9040023 - 26 Oct 2020
Viewed by 747
Abstract
This article examines offshore processing arrangements of four different time-periods and geo-political regions—the Safe Havens of the United States with Jamaica and the Turks and Caicos Islands; the 2001 and 2012 Pacific Solutions of Australia with Nauru and Papua New Guinea; and the [...] Read more.
This article examines offshore processing arrangements of four different time-periods and geo-political regions—the Safe Havens of the United States with Jamaica and the Turks and Caicos Islands; the 2001 and 2012 Pacific Solutions of Australia with Nauru and Papua New Guinea; and the EU–Turkey deal. In examining these arrangements, the article attempts to ascertain whether each of these arrangements had an impact on the ratification of refugee and human rights-related treaties by the states receiving the asylum seekers and refugees for processing and/or settlement. It does so by first assessing the contents of the offshore processing agreements for refugee and human rights clauses and obligations. The article then looks at the general patterns of treaty ratification of each receiving state, prior to its entering into offshore processing arrangements. After the general patterns of treaty ratifications of each state are established, the article goes on to investigate whether offshore processing arrangements had any effect on these patterns. This is based on the analysis of the contents of the agreements, together with an examination of the timing of the refugee and human rights treaty ratifications of the receiving state, at the time of the arrangements. The article finds that the effect, although minimal, is quite nuanced. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Refugees and International Law: The Challenge of Protection)
Open AccessArticle
A ‘Wellbeing’ Paradigm: A Concept-Based Study of Body Art and Regulatory Challenges
Laws 2020, 9(4), 22; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/laws9040022 - 15 Oct 2020
Viewed by 632
Abstract
In this paper, I trace the changing characterisation of health and consider the evolution of health within a shifting paradigmatic landscape. I argue that understanding health now encompasses the importance of wellbeing as a key determinant of longer-term good health. I use the [...] Read more.
In this paper, I trace the changing characterisation of health and consider the evolution of health within a shifting paradigmatic landscape. I argue that understanding health now encompasses the importance of wellbeing as a key determinant of longer-term good health. I use the case study of body modification and body art to explore this further. I argue that, while body modification and body art, as a means of self-expression and empowerment, is relatively easy to access, there are critical gaps in the regulatory framework that may undermine the notion of wellbeing and individual choice. I critique the Court of Appeal’s decision in R v BM, [2018] EWCA Crim 560 which raises particular public interest concerns, but conclude that it is a missed opportunity in relation to how the law understands the promotion of ‘self’ within a model of wellbeing. Full article
Open AccessArticle
The Status Quo of the Criminal Accountability for Marine Illegal Fishing in China: From the Perspective of Judgment Analysis
Laws 2020, 9(4), 21; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/laws9040021 - 10 Oct 2020
Viewed by 585
Abstract
Over the past few years, China’s marine economy has been vigorously booming, while strong measures have been equally undertaken to ensure superior quality of the marine environment. However, the country is still suffering illegal fishing problems, which hinder the marine ecological environment and [...] Read more.
Over the past few years, China’s marine economy has been vigorously booming, while strong measures have been equally undertaken to ensure superior quality of the marine environment. However, the country is still suffering illegal fishing problems, which hinder the marine ecological environment and fishery resources from reaching sustainable development both internally and globally. To this end, the Chinese government has ratified a series of legal documents to provide the basis for judicial departments to hold individuals and groups responsible for practicing illegal fishing at sea. Although the measures have indeed performed well in some instances, a number of legal obstacles remain to be fixed. In this article, to realize the status quo of the control of maritime illegal fishing in China, all the criminal judgments relevant to illegal fishing at sea from 2014 were collected and analyzed not only qualitatively but also quantitatively, through which the existing problems of accountability for illegal fishing at sea in China were summarized. In addition, a number of related studies were examined and in-depth interviews were organized to clarify the main reasons for these problems and propose some necessary solutions. It is believed that our findings would not only help to improve the control of maritime illegal fishing and boost the marine ecological environment protection in China, but also to establish a possible reference for other countries in the world. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The European Union and the Law of the Sea)
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