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Tijdschrift Erasmus Law Review x Jaar 2020 x
Article

Access_open How Far Should the State Go to Counter Prejudice?

A Positive State Obligation to Counter Dehumanisation

Tijdschrift Erasmus Law Review, Aflevering 3 2020
Trefwoorden prejudice, soft paternalism, empathy, liberalism, employment discrimination, access to goods and services
Auteurs Ioanna Tourkochoriti
SamenvattingAuteursinformatie

    This article argues that it is legitimate for the state to practice soft paternalism towards changing hearts and minds in order to prevent behaviour that is discriminatory. Liberals accept that it is not legitimate for the state to intervene in order to change how people think because ideas and beliefs are wrong in themselves. It is legitimate for the state to intervene with the actions of a person only when there is a risk of harm to others and when there is a threat to social coexistence. Preventive action of the state is legitimate if we consider the immaterial and material harm that discrimination causes. It causes harm to the social standing of the person, psychological harm, economic and existential harm. All these harms threaten peaceful social coexistence. This article traces a theory of permissible government action. Research in the areas of behavioural psychology, neuroscience and social psychology indicates that it is possible to bring about a change in hearts and minds. Encouraging a person to adopt the perspective of the person who has experienced discrimination can lead to empathetic understanding. This, can lead a person to critically evaluate her prejudice. The paper argues that soft paternalism towards changing hearts and minds is legitimate in order to prevent harm to others. It attempts to legitimise state coercion in order to eliminate prejudice and broader social patterns of inequality and marginalisation. And it distinguishes between appropriate and non-appropriate avenues the state could pursue in order to eliminate prejudice. Policies towards eliminating prejudice should address the rational and the emotional faculties of a person. They should aim at using methods and techniques that focus on persuasion and reduce coercion. They should raise awareness of what prejudice is and how it works in order to facilitate well-informed voluntary decisions. The version of soft paternalism towards changing minds and attitudes defended in this article makes it consistent with liberalism.


Ioanna Tourkochoriti
Ioanna Tourkochoriti is Lecturer Above the Bar, NUI Galway School of Law.

    The entry into force of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) pushed state obligations to counter prejudice and stereotypes concerning people with disabilities to the forefront of international human rights law. The CRPD is underpinned by a model of inclusive equality, which views disability as a social construct that results from the interaction between persons with impairments and barriers, including attitudinal barriers, that hinder their participation in society. The recognition dimension of inclusive equality, together with the CRPD’s provisions on awareness raising, mandates that states parties target prejudice and stereotypes about the capabilities and contributions of persons with disabilities to society. Certain human rights treaty bodies, including the Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and, to a much lesser extent, the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women, require states to eradicate harmful stereotypes and prejudice about people with disabilities in various forms of interpersonal relationships. This trend is also reflected, to a certain extent, in the jurisprudence of the European Court of Human Rights. This article assesses the extent to which the aforementioned human rights bodies have elaborated positive obligations requiring states to endeavour to change ‘hearts and minds’ about the inherent capabilities and contributions of people with disabilities. It analyses whether these bodies have struck the right balance in elaborating positive obligations to eliminate prejudice and stereotypes in interpersonal relationships. Furthermore, it highlights the convergences or divergences that are evident in the bodies’ approaches to those obligations.


Andrea Broderick
Andrea Broderick is Assistant Professor at the Universiteit Maastricht, 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, Annalize 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.

Annalize Steenekamp
Annalize Steenekamp, LLM, is a Multidisciplinary Human Rights graduate from the University of Pretoria.

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

Access_open The Relationship between Empirical Legal Studies and Doctrinal Legal Research

Tijdschrift Erasmus Law Review, Aflevering 2 2020
Trefwoorden empirical legal studies, legal research methods, doctrinal legal research, new legal realism, critical legal studies, law and policy
Auteurs Gareth Davies
SamenvattingAuteursinformatie

    This article considers how empirical legal studies (ELS) and doctrinal legal research (DLR) interact. Rather than seeing them as competitors that are methodologically independent and static, it suggests that they are interdependent activities, which may each be changed by interaction with the other, and that this change brings both opportunities and threats. For ELS, the article argues that DLR should properly be understood as part of its theoretical framework, yet in practice little attention is given to doctrine in empirical work. Paying more attention to DLR and legal frames generally would help ELS meet the common criticism that it is under-theorised and excessively policy oriented. On the other hand, an embrace of legal thinking, particularly of critical legal thinking, might lead to loss of status for ELS in policy circles and mainstream social science. For DLR, ELS offers a chance for it to escape the threat of insular sterility and irrelevance and to participate in a founded commentary on the world. The risk, however, is that in tailoring legal analysis to what can be empirically researched legal scholars become less analytically ambitious and more safe, and their traditionally important role as a source of socially relevant critique is weakened. Inevitably, in offering different ways of moving to normative conclusions about the law, ELS and DLR pose challenges to each other, and meeting those challenges will require sometimes uncomfortable self-reflection.


Gareth Davies
Gareth Davies is Professor of European Law at the Faculty of Law of the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam.
Article

Access_open Basel IV Postponed: A Chance to Regulate Shadow Banking?

Tijdschrift Erasmus Law Review, Aflevering 2 2020
Trefwoorden Basel Accords, EU Law, shadow banking, financial stability, prudential regulation
Auteurs Katarzyna Parchimowicz en Ross Spence
SamenvattingAuteursinformatie

    In the aftermath of the 2007 global financial crisis, regulators have agreed a substantial tightening of prudential regulation for banks operating in the traditional banking sector (TBS). The TBS is stringently regulated under the Basel Accords to moderate financial stability and to minimise risk to government and taxpayers. While prudential regulation is important from a financial stability perspective, the flipside is that the Basel Accords only apply to the TBS, they do not regulate the shadow banking sector (SBS). While it is not disputed that the SBS provides numerous benefits given the net credit growth of the economy since the global financial crisis has come from the SBS rather than traditional banking channels, the SBS also poses many risks. Therefore, the fact that the SBS is not subject to prudential regulation is a cause of serious systemic concern. The introduction of Basel IV, which compliments Basel III, seeks to complete the Basel framework on prudential banking regulation. On the example of this set of standards and its potential negative consequences for the TBS, this paper aims to visualise the incentives for TBS institutions to move some of their activities into the SBS, and thus stress the need for more comprehensive regulation of the SBS. Current coronavirus crisis forced Basel Committee to postpone implementation of the Basel IV rules – this could be perceived as a chance to complete the financial regulatory framework and address the SBS as well.


Katarzyna Parchimowicz
Katarzyna Parchimowicz, LLM. Finance (Frankfurt), is PhD candidate at the University of Wrocław, Poland, and Young Researcher at the European Banking Institute, Frankfurt, Germany.

Ross Spence
Ross Spence, EURO-CEFG, is PhD Fellow at Leiden University Law School, and Young Researcher at the European Banking Institute and Research Associate at the Amsterdam Centre for Law and Economics.
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