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Article

Access_open Migration and Time: Duration as an Instrument to Welcome or Restrict

Tijdschrift Erasmus Law Review, Aflevering 2 2020
Trefwoorden Migration, EU migration law, time
Auteurs Gerrie Lodder
SamenvattingAuteursinformatie

    States apply different material conditions to attract or restrict residence of certain types of migrants. But states can also make use of time as an instrument to design more welcoming or more restrictive policies. States can apply faster application procedures for desired migrants. Furthermore, time can be used in a more favourable way to attract desired migrants in regard to duration of residence, access to a form of permanent residence and protection against loss of residence. This contribution makes an analysis of how time is used as an instrument in shaping migration policy by the European Union (EU) legislator in the context of making migration more or less attractive. This analysis shows that two groups are treated more favourably in regard to the use of time in several aspects: EU citizens and economic- and knowledge-related third-country nationals. However, when it comes to the acquisition of permanent residence after a certain period of time, the welcoming policy towards economic- and knowledge-related migrants is no longer obvious.


Gerrie Lodder
Gerrie Lodder is a lecturer and researcher at the Europa Institute of Leiden University.
Article

Access_open Can Non-discrimination Law Change Hearts and Minds?

Tijdschrift Erasmus Law Review, Aflevering 3 2020
Trefwoorden law and society, social change, discrimination, non-discrimination law, positive action
Auteurs Anita Böcker
SamenvattingAuteursinformatie

    A question that has preoccupied sociolegal scholars for ages is whether law can change ‘hearts and minds’. This article explores whether non-discrimination law can create social change, and, more particularly, whether it can change attitudes and beliefs as well as external behaviour. The first part examines how sociolegal scholars have theorised about the possibility and desirability of using law as an instrument of social change. The second part discusses the findings of empirical research on the social working of various types of non-discrimination law. What conclusions can be drawn about the ability of non-discrimination law to create social change? What factors influence this ability? And can non-discrimination law change people’s hearts and minds as well as their behaviour? The research literature does not provide an unequivocal answer to the latter question. However, the overall picture emerging from the sociolegal literature is that law is generally more likely to bring about changes in external behaviour and that it can influence attitudes and beliefs only indirectly, by altering the situations in which attitudes and opinions are formed.


Anita Böcker
Anita Böcker is associate professor of Sociology of Law at Radboud University, Nijmegen.
Article

Access_open Positive State Obligations under European Law: A Tool for Achieving Substantive Equality for Sexual Minorities in Europe

Tijdschrift Erasmus Law Review, Aflevering 3 2020
Trefwoorden Positive obligations, sexual minorities, sexual orientation, European law, human rights
Auteurs Alina Tryfonidou
SamenvattingAuteursinformatie

    This article seeks to examine the development of positive obligations under European law in the specific context of the rights of sexual minorities. It is clear that the law should respect and protect all sexualities and diverse intimate relationships without discrimination, and for this purpose it needs to ensure that sexual minorities can not only be free from state interference when expressing their sexuality in private, but that they should be given the right to express their sexuality in public and to have their intimate relationships legally recognised. In addition, sexual minorities should be protected from the actions of other individuals, when these violate their legal and fundamental human rights. Accordingly, in addition to negative obligations, European law must impose positive obligations towards sexual minorities in order to achieve substantive equality for them. The article explains that, to date, European law has imposed a number of such positive obligations; nonetheless, there is definitely scope for more. It is suggested that European law should not wait for hearts and minds to change before imposing additional positive obligations, especially since this gives the impression that the EU and the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) are condoning or disregarding persistent discrimination against sexual minorities.


Alina Tryfonidou
Alina Tryfonidou is Professor of Law, University of Reading.
Article

Access_open A Positive State Obligation to Counter Dehumanisation under International Human Rights Law

Tijdschrift Erasmus Law Review, Aflevering 3 2020
Trefwoorden Dehumanisation, International Human Rights Law, Positive State obligations, Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities, International Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Racial Discrimination
Auteurs Stephanie Eleanor Berry
SamenvattingAuteursinformatie

    International human rights law (IHRL) was established in the aftermath of the Second World War to prevent a reoccurrence of the atrocities committed in the name of fascism. Central to this aim was the recognition that out-groups are particularly vulnerable to rights violations committed by the in-group. Yet, it is increasingly apparent that out-groups are still subject to a wide range of rights violations, including those associated with mass atrocities. These rights violations are facilitated by the dehumanisation of the out-group by the in-group. Consequently, this article argues that the creation of IHRL treaties and corresponding monitoring mechanisms should be viewed as the first step towards protecting out-groups from human rights violations. By adopting the lens of dehumanisation, this article demonstrates that if IHRL is to achieve its purpose, IHRL monitoring mechanisms must recognise the connection between dehumanisation and rights violations and develop a positive State obligation to counter dehumanisation. The four treaties explored in this article, the European Convention on Human Rights, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities and the International Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Racial Discrimination, all establish positive State obligations to prevent hate speech and to foster tolerant societies. These obligations should, in theory, allow IHRL monitoring mechanisms to address dehumanisation. However, their interpretation of the positive State obligation to foster tolerant societies does not go far enough to counter unconscious dehumanisation and requires more detailed elaboration.


Stephanie Eleanor Berry
Stephanie Eleanor Berry is Senior Lecturer in International Human Rights Law, University of Sussex.
Article

Access_open The Potential of Positive Obligations Against Romaphobic Attitudes and in the Development of ‘Roma Pride’

Tijdschrift Erasmus Law Review, Aflevering 3 2020
Trefwoorden Roma, Travellers, positive obligations, segregation, culturally adequate accommodation
Auteurs Lilla Farkas en Theodoros Alexandridis
SamenvattingAuteursinformatie

    The article analyses the jurisprudence of international tribunals on the education and housing of Roma and Travellers to understand whether positive obligations can change the hearts and minds of the majority and promote minority identities. Case law on education deals with integration rather than cultural specificities, while in the context of housing it accommodates minority needs. Positive obligations have achieved a higher level of compliance in the latter context by requiring majorities to tolerate the minority way of life in overwhelmingly segregated settings. Conversely, little seems to have changed in education, where legal and institutional reform, as well as a shift in both majority and minority attitudes, would be necessary to dismantle social distance and generate mutual trust. The interlocking factors of accessibility, judicial activism, European politics, expectations of political allegiance and community resources explain jurisprudential developments. The weak justiciability of minority rights, the lack of resources internal to the community and dual identities among the Eastern Roma impede legal claims for culture-specific accommodation in education. Conversely, the protection of minority identity and community ties is of paramount importance in the housing context, subsumed under the right to private and family life.


Lilla Farkas
Lilla Farkas is a practising lawyer in Hungary and recently earned a PhD from the European University Institute entitled ‘Mobilising for racial equality in Europe: Roma rights and transnational justice’. She is the race ground coordinator of the European Union’s Network of Legal Experts in Gender Equality and Non-discrimination.

Theodoros Alexandridis
Theodoros Alexandridis is a practicing lawyer in Greece.

Kristin Henrard
Kristin Henrard is Professor International Human Rights and Minorities, Erasmus School of Law, Rotterdam, the Netherlands.
Article

Access_open The Promotion of Equality and Prevention of Unfair Discrimination Act 4 of 2000: Proposals for Legislative Reform to Promote Equality through Schools and the Education System

Tijdschrift Erasmus Law Review, Aflevering 3 2020
Trefwoorden Transformative pedagogy, equality legislation, promotion of equality, law reform, using law to change hearts and minds
Auteurs Anton Kok, Lwando Xaso, Annelize Steenekamp e.a.
SamenvattingAuteursinformatie

    In this article, we focus on how the education system can be used to promote equality in the context of changing people’s hearts and minds – values, morals and mindsets. The duties contained in the Promotion of Equality and Prevention of Unfair Discrimination Act 4 of 2000 (‘Equality Act’) bind private and public schools, educators, learners, governing bodies and the state. The Equality Act calls on the state and all persons to promote substantive equality, but the relevant sections in the Equality Act have not been given effect yet, and are therefore currently not enforceable. We set out how the duty to promote equality should be concretised in the Equality Act to inter alia use the education system to promote equality in schools; in other words, how should an enforceable duty to promote equality in schools be fashioned in terms of the Equality Act. Should the relevant sections relating to the promotion of equality come into effect in their current form, enforcement of the promotion of equality will take the form of obliging schools to draft action plans and submit these to the South African Human Rights Commission. We deem this approach inadequate and therefore propose certain amendments to the Equality Act to allow for a more sensible monitoring of schools’ duty to promote equality. We explain how the duty to promote equality should then play out practically in the classroom to facilitate a change in learners’ hearts and minds.


Anton Kok
Anton Kok is Professor of Jurisprudence at the Faculty of Law of the University of Pretoria.

Lwando Xaso
Lwando Xaso is an independent lawyer, writer and historian.

Annelize Steenekamp
Annelize Steenekamp is an independent lawyer.

Michelle Oelofse
Michelle Oelofse is an Academic associate and LLM candidate at the University of Pretoria.
Artikel

Pro-cycling’s doping pentiti

Tijdschrift Tijdschrift over Cultuur & Criminaliteit, Aflevering 2 2020
Trefwoorden doping, cycling, cultural criminology, crime facilitative system, organisational crime
Auteurs Dr. mr. Roland Moerland en Giulio Soana
SamenvattingAuteursinformatie

    Throughout the last decade several cyclists have published memoirs in which they account for their doping use. In previous literature such autobiographical accounts have been characterized as attempts of fallen sports stars to sanitize their spoiled public image. In contrast, the analysis in this article will show that the accounts are of relevance when it comes to understanding the problem of doping in professional cycling. Their accounts break the omertà regarding doping, providing insights about the motivation and opportunity structures behind doping and how such structures are endemic to the system of professional cycling.


Dr. mr. Roland Moerland
Dr. mr. Roland Moerland is universitair docent criminologie aan de Faculteit der Rechtsgeleerdheid, Universiteit Maastricht.

Giulio Soana
Giulio Soana is afgestudeerd Master Forensica, Criminologie en Rechtspleging, Faculteit der Rechtsgeleerdheid, Universiteit Maastricht.
Artikel

Twintig jaar groei van herstelrechtelijke programma’s

Reflecties op basis van de tweede editie van het UNODC Handboek

Tijdschrift Tijdschrift voor Herstelrecht, Aflevering 3 2020
Trefwoorden UNODC handbook, Restorative Justice programmes, Basic Principles, cases of serious crime, community
Auteurs Jee Aei Lee en Yvon Dandurand
SamenvattingAuteursinformatie

    In this contribution, the authors take stock of the many diverse restorative justice programs that have been implemented in many countries, worldwide, over the past twenty years, and that have involved a number of problems. They also discuss a number of new developments and areas of concern, including victim participation, the relationship with common law, cases of serious crime and the role of the community. The authors hope the new UNODC Handbook on Restorative Justice Programmes to be as successful as the previous edition in promoting new ways to apply restorative justice principles in criminal matters and helping practitioners benefit from each other’s experience.


Jee Aei Lee
Jee Aei Lee is Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice Officer, Justice Section, United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), Vienna, Austria.

Yvon Dandurand
Yvon Dandurand is Professor Emeritus, Criminology, University of the Fraser Valley, and Fellow and Senior Associate at the International Centre for Criminal Law Reform, Vancouver, Canada.
Artikel

Woekeren met andermans talent

Over de handel en wandel en het zelfbeeld van spelersagenten

Tijdschrift Tijdschrift over Cultuur & Criminaliteit, Aflevering 2 2020
Trefwoorden football agents, fraud, money laundering, regulation, self-image
Auteurs Prof. dr. Hans Nelen
SamenvattingAuteursinformatie

    The focus of this article is on the role that football agents play in the world of professional football. Their role has also been associated with criminal activities such as money laundering, tax evasion, corruption and the exploitation of under-age players. The article pays attention to recent developments in the world of football and the shady business practices in relation to the transfer of football players. Moreover, the article addresses the self-image of football agents and raises the question whether they should take more responsibility themselves in containing fraud and money laundering in the world of football.


Prof. dr. Hans Nelen
Prof. dr. Hans Nelen is hoogleraar criminologie aan de Universiteit Maastricht en redacteur voor Tijdschrift over Cultuur & Criminaliteit.
Artikel

Leren van evaluaties

De fitness check van het Europees consumentenrecht

Tijdschrift RegelMaat, Aflevering 5 2020
Trefwoorden Betere regelgeving, Evaluaties, Europese beleidscyclus, Europese Commissie
Auteurs Dr. E.A.G. van Schagen LLM
SamenvattingAuteursinformatie

    De ervaringen met de fitness check van het Europees consumentenrecht laten zien hoe de richtlijnen voor fitness checks in de Richtsnoeren voor Betere Regelgeving in de praktijk worden gebracht. Een fitness check beoogt, onder meer, om consistentie en coherentie te verbeteren, en zou informatie moeten verzamelen over de gezamenlijke impact van maatregelen. Hoewel de Nederlandse wetgever niet heeft aangegeven fitness checks te willen invoeren, zijn de ervaringen met de fitness check van het consumentenrecht toch interessant voor de Nederlandse wetgever. In dit artikel wordt ingegaan op wat kan worden geleerd van de ervaringen met de fitness check van het Europees consumentenrecht.


Dr. E.A.G. van Schagen LLM
Dr. E.A.G. (Esther) van Schagen (LLM) is universitair docent bij de Faculteit Recht, Economie, Bestuur en Organisatie van de Universiteit Utrecht.
Artikel

Hoe kan sport bijdragen aan het re-integreren van delinquenten?

Tijdschrift PROCES, Aflevering 5 2020
Trefwoorden sport, delinquency, desistance, probation, prison
Auteurs Dr. Lianne Kleijer-Kool, Dr. Jacqueline Bosker en Mr. Moniek Zuurbier
SamenvattingAuteursinformatie

    The contribution of sport to reintegrating offenders receives limited attention, both in science and in the practice of probation and the prison system. From the perspective of desistance, this literature study concluded that sport can contribute to the development of individual capital, social capital and an alternative identity. However, the effect of sport is not necessarily positive. There are risks of negative influence or the reinforcement of problem behaviour. In counselling offenders, sport should be combined with other interventions to reduce recidivism. A personalized approach is required, based on the risk-need-responsivity model.


Dr. Lianne Kleijer-Kool
Dr. Lianne Kleijer-Kool is onderzoeker bij het lectoraat Werken in Justitieel Kader en hogeschoolhoofddocent bij het Instituut voor Veiligheid van Hogeschool Utrecht.

Dr. Jacqueline Bosker
Dr. Jacqueline Bosker is lector Werken in Justitieel Kader van Hogeschool Utrecht en lid van de redactie van PROCES.

Mr. Moniek Zuurbier
Mr. Moniek Zuurbier is onderzoeker bij het lectoraat Werken in Justitieel Kader en hogeschooldocent bij het Instituut voor Recht van Hogeschool Utrecht.
Artikel

Access_open Teaching Comparative Law, Pragmatically (Not Practically)

Special Issue on Pragmatism and Legal Education, Sanne Taekema & Thomas Riesthuis (eds.)

Tijdschrift Law and Method, oktober 2020
Trefwoorden comparative legal studies, legal education, pragmatism
Auteurs Alexandra Mercescu
Auteursinformatie

Alexandra Mercescu
Alexandra Mercescu, Ph.D is lecturer at the Department of Public Law, University of Timisoara, Romania.
Artikel

Access_open The Obligation of Judges to Uphold Rules of Positive Law and Possibly Conflicting Ethical Values in Context

The Case of Criminalization of Homelessness in Hungary

Tijdschrift Netherlands Journal of Legal Philosophy, Aflevering 2 2020
Trefwoorden Judicial independence, Rule of law, Judicial ethics, Hungary, Criminalization of homelessness
Auteurs Petra Gyöngyi
SamenvattingAuteursinformatie

    This article examines the tension between the constitutional obligation of judges to uphold rules of positive law and possibly conflicting standards of conduct arising from professional-ethical values. The theoretical analysis will be illustrated by the case of Hungary, an EU member state experiencing rule of law challenges since 2010 and where the 2018-2019 criminalization of homelessness exemplifies the studied tension. Inspired by the theories of Philip Selznick and Martin Krygier, rule of law will be viewed as a value that requires progressive realization and context-specific implementation. By contextualizing the relevant Hungarian constitutional framework with the content of the judicial code of ethics and judicial practice, it will be shown how the legitimate space for Hungarian judges to distance themselves from legislation possibly in conflict with rule of law values is reduced. Theoretical suggestions for addressing such rule of law regressions will be made.


Petra Gyöngyi
Petra Gyöngyi is postdoctoral fellow aan de University of Oslo.
Artikel

Jonge veelplegers en hun worsteling om te stoppen met criminaliteit

Een vierfasenmodel

Tijdschrift Tijdschrift voor Criminologie, Aflevering 2-3 2020
Trefwoorden desistance, young repeat offenders, maturation, longitudinal study
Auteurs Prof. dr. Ido Weijers
SamenvattingAuteursinformatie

    This article presents findings from a longitudinal study of 81 young recidivists examined over fifteen years. By the age of 25, 50 percent had desisted for at least three years. 60 percent had had no new police contacts during the last two years. Four stages could be distinguished in the desistance process. Apart from a small number of explicit persisters, all of the young adults did consciously consider whether the benefits of their criminal activities outweighed the disadvantages. With just a few exceptions, the decision to quit was not motivated by an altruistic goal, nor by extreme fear, but mainly motivated by the feeling of being too old for criminal life and by striving for a pleasant self-esteem. It is concluded that when young adult recidivists give up crime, this must be seen as an extreme and extremely late form of maturation.


Prof. dr. Ido Weijers
Prof. dr. I. Weijers is emeritus hoogleraar jeugdstrafrecht en jeugdbescherming aan de Universiteit Utrecht.
Article

Access_open The Effectiveness Paradigm in Financial Legislation – Is Effectiveness Measurable?

Tijdschrift Erasmus Law Review, Aflevering 2 2020
Trefwoorden effectiveness, effectiveness measurement methodologies, financial legislation, legislative objective, product approval governance
Auteurs Jeroen Koomans
SamenvattingAuteursinformatie

    How can you determine if financial legislation is effective? This article seeks to identify three characteristics that make up the basis for an effectiveness review, being the determination what the legislative objective is, who is it aimed at and what approach is taken to achieve this objective. Determining the legislative objective may prove to be a challenging undertaking, and the uncertainties that come with that affect the other two characteristics as well. And even if a clear legislative objective can be established, how can you be sure that its achievement was in fact attributable to the legislation under review? What do you compare your results to absent a baseline measurement and how can the vast number of variables that affect the effectiveness of the legislation under review be accounted for, if at all? Is effectiveness in financial legislation at all measurable and, when measured, what is its value in practice?


Jeroen Koomans
Jeroen Koomans is affiliated to the University of Amsterdam FEB Academy for Banking and Insurance and employed by ABN AMRO Bank N.V.
Article

Access_open Age Limits in Youth Justice: A Comparative and Conceptual Analysis

Tijdschrift Erasmus Law Review, Aflevering 1 2020
Trefwoorden youth justice, age limits, minimum age of criminal responsibility, age of criminal majority, legal comparison
Auteurs Jantien Leenknecht, Johan Put en Katrijn Veeckmans
SamenvattingAuteursinformatie

    In each youth justice system, several age limits exist that indicate what type of reaction can and may be connected to the degree of responsibility that a person can already bear. Civil liability, criminal responsibility and criminal majority are examples of concepts on which age limits are based, but whose definition and impact is not always clear. Especially as far as the minimum age of criminal responsibility (MACR) is concerned, confusion exists in legal doctrine. This is apparent from the fact that international comparison tables often show different MACRs for the same country. Moreover, the international literature often seems to define youth justice systems by means of a lower and upper limit, whereas such a dual distinction is too basic to comprehend the complex multilayer nature of the systems. This contribution therefore maps out and conceptually clarifies the different interpretations and consequences of the several age limits that exist within youth justice systems. To that extent, the age limits of six countries are analysed: Argentina, Austria, Belgium, the Netherlands, New Zealand and Northern Ireland. This legal comparison ultimately leads to a proposal to establish a coherent conceptual framework on age limits in youth justice.


Jantien Leenknecht
Jantien Leenknecht is PhD Fellow of the Research Foundation Flanders (FWO) at KU Leuven, Institute of Social Law and Leuven Institute of Criminology.

Johan Put
Johan Put is Full Professor at KU Leuven, Institute of Social Law and Leuven Institute of Criminology.

Katrijn Veeckmans
Katrijn Veeckmans is PhD Fellow at KU Leuven, Institute of Social Law and Leuven Institute of Criminology.
Article

Access_open Characteristics of Young Adults Sentenced with Juvenile Sanctions in the Netherlands

Tijdschrift Erasmus Law Review, Aflevering 1 2020
Trefwoorden young adult offenders, juvenile sanctions for young adults, juvenile criminal law, psychosocial immaturity
Auteurs Lise Prop, André van der Laan, Charlotte Barendregt e.a.
SamenvattingAuteursinformatie

    Since 1 April 2014, young adults aged 18 up to and including 22 years can be sentenced with juvenile sanctions in the Netherlands. This legislation is referred to as ‘adolescent criminal law’ (ACL). An important reason for the special treatment of young adults is their over-representation in crime. The underlying idea of ACL is that some young adult offenders are less mature than others. These young adults may benefit more from pedagogically oriented juvenile sanctions than from the deterrent focus of adult sanctions. Little is known, however, about the characteristics of the young adults sentenced with juvenile sanctions since the implementation of ACL. The aim of this study is to gain insight into the demographic, criminogenic and criminal case characteristics of young adult offenders sentenced with juvenile sanctions in the first year after the implementation of ACL. A cross-sectional study was conducted using a juvenile sanction group and an adult sanction group. Data on 583 criminal cases of young adults, sanctioned from 1 April 2014 up to March 2015, were included. Data were obtained from the Public Prosecution Service, the Dutch Probation Service and Statistics Netherlands. The results showed that characteristics indicating problems across different domains were more prevalent among young adults sentenced with juvenile sanctions. Furthermore, these young adults committed a greater number of serious offences compared with young adults who were sentenced with adult sanctions. The findings of this study provide support for the special treatment of young adult offenders in criminal law as intended by ACL.


Lise Prop
Lise Prop is researcher at the Research and Documentation Centre (WODC), Den Haag, the Netherlands.

André van der Laan
André van der Laan is senior researcher at the Research and Documentation Centre (WODC), Den Haag, the Netherlands.

Charlotte Barendregt
Charlotte Barendregt is senior advisor at the Health and Youth Care Inspectorate, Utrecht, the Netherlands.

Chijs van Nieuwenhuizen
Chijs van Nieuwenhuizen is professor at Tilburg University, and treatment manager at the Centre for Child and Adolescent Psychiatry in Eindhoven, the Netherlands.
Article

Access_open Giving Children a Voice in Court?

Age Boundaries for Involvement of Children in Civil Proceedings and the Relevance of Neuropsychological Insights

Tijdschrift Erasmus Law Review, Aflevering 1 2020
Trefwoorden age boundaries, right to be heard, child’s autonomy, civil proceedings, neuropsychology
Auteurs Mariëlle Bruning en Jiska Peper
SamenvattingAuteursinformatie

    In the last decade neuropsychological insights have gained influence with regard to age boundaries in legal procedures, however, in Dutch civil law no such influence can be distinguished. Recently, voices have been raised to improve children’s legal position in civil law: to reflect upon the minimum age limit of twelve years for children to be invited to be heard in court and the need for children to have a stronger procedural position.
    In this article, first the current legal position of children in Dutch law and practice will be analysed. Second, development of psychological constructs relevant for family law will be discussed in relation to underlying brain developmental processes and contextual effects. These constructs encompass cognitive capacity, autonomy, stress responsiveness and (peer) pressure.
    From the first part it becomes clear that in Dutch family law, there is a tortuous jungle of age limits, exceptions and limitations regarding children’s procedural rights. Until recently, the Dutch government has been reluctant to improve the child’s procedural position in family law. Over the last two years, however, there has been an inclination towards further reflecting on improvements to the child’s procedural rights, which, from a children’s rights perspective, is an important step forward. Relevant neuropsychological insights support improvements for a better realisation of the child’s right to be heard, such as hearing children younger than twelve years of age in civil court proceedings.


Mariëlle Bruning
Mariëlle Bruning is Professor of Child Law at Leiden Law Faculty, Leiden University.

Jiska Peper
Jiska Peper is Assistant professor in the Developmental and Educational Psychology unit of the Institute of Psychology at Leiden University.
Article

Access_open Safeguarding the Dynamic Legal Position of Children: A Matter of Age Limits?

Reflections on the Fundamental Principles and Practical Application of Age Limits in Light of International Children’s Rights Law

Tijdschrift Erasmus Law Review, Aflevering 1 2020
Trefwoorden age limits, dynamic legal position, children’s rights, maturity, evolving capacities
Auteurs Stephanie Rap, Eva Schmidt en Ton Liefaard
SamenvattingAuteursinformatie

    In this article a critical reflection upon age limits applied in the law is provided, in light of the tension that exists in international children’s rights law between the protection of children and the recognition of their evolving autonomy. The main research question that will be addressed is to what extent the use of (certain) age limits is justified under international children’s rights law. The complexity of applying open norms and theoretically underdeveloped concepts as laid down in the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, related to the development and evolving capacities of children as rights holders, will be demonstrated. The UN Committee on the Rights of the Child struggles to provide comprehensive guidance to states regarding the manner in which the dynamic legal position of children should be applied in practice. The inconsistent application of age limits that govern the involvement of children in judicial procedures provides states leeway in granting children autonomy, potentially leading to the establishment of age limits based on inappropriate – practically, politically or ideologically motivated – grounds.


Stephanie Rap
Stephanie Rap is assistant professor in children’s rights at the Department of Child Law, Leiden Law School, the Netherlands.

Eva Schmidt
Eva Schmidt is PhD candidate at the Department of Child Law, Leiden Law School, the Netherlands.

Ton Liefaard
Ton Liefaard is Vice-Dean of Leiden Law School and holds the UNICEF Chair in Children’s Rights at Leiden University, Leiden Law School, the Netherlands.
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