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Article

Access_open Correcting Wrongful Convictions in France

Has the Act of 2014 Opened the Door to Revision?

Tijdschrift Erasmus Law Review, Aflevering 4 2020
Trefwoorden Final criminal conviction, revision procedure, grounds for revision, preparatory investigative measures, Cour de révision et de réexamen
Auteurs Katrien Verhesschen en Cyrille Fijnaut
SamenvattingAuteursinformatie

    The French ‘Code de procédure pénale’ provides the possibility to revise final criminal convictions. The Act of 2014 reformed the procedure for revision and introduced some important novelties. The first is that it reduced the different possible grounds for revision to one ground, which it intended to broaden. The remaining ground for revision is the existence of a new fact or an element unknown to the court at the time of the initial proceedings, of such a nature as to establish the convicted person’s innocence or to give rise to doubt about his guilt. The legislature intended judges to no longer require ‘serious doubt’. However, experts question whether judges will comply with this intention of the legislature. The second is the introduction of the possibility for the applicant to ask the public prosecutor to carry out the investigative measures that seem necessary to bring to light a new fact or an unknown element before filing a request for revision. The third is that the Act of 2014 created the ‘Cour de révision et de réexamen’, which is composed of eighteen judges of the different chambers of the ‘Cour de cassation’. This ‘Cour de révision et de réexamen’ is divided into a ‘commission d’instruction’, which acts as a filter and examines the admissibility of the requests for revision, and a ‘formation de jugement’, which decides on the substance of the requests. Practice will have to show whether these novelties indeed improved the accessibility of the revision procedure.


Katrien Verhesschen
Katrien Verhesschen is PhD candidate and teaching assistant at the Institute of Criminal Law KU Leuven.

Cyrille Fijnaut
Cyrille Fijnaut is Emeritus Professor of Criminal Law & Criminology at Erasmus University Rotterdam, KU Leuven and Tilburg University.
Article

Access_open Mechanisms for Correcting Judicial Errors in Germany

Tijdschrift Erasmus Law Review, Aflevering 4 2020
Trefwoorden criminal proceedings, retrial in favour of the convicted, retrial to the disadvantage of the defendant, Germany, judicial errors
Auteurs Michael Lindemann en Fabienne Lienau
SamenvattingAuteursinformatie

    The article presents the status quo of the law of retrial in Germany and gives an overview of the law and practice of the latter in favour of the convicted and to the disadvantage of the defendant. Particularly, the formal and material prerequisites for a successful petition to retry the criminal case are subject to a detailed presentation and evaluation. Because no official statistics are kept regarding successful retrial processes in Germany, the actual number of judicial errors is primarily the subject of more or less well-founded estimates by legal practitioners and journalists. However, there are a few newer empirical studies devoted to different facets of the subject. These studies will be discussed in this article in order to outline the state of empirical research on the legal reality of the retrial procedure. Against this background, the article will ultimately highlight currently discussed reforms and subject these to a critical evaluation as well. The aim of the recent reform efforts is to add a ground for retrial to the disadvantage of the defendant for cases in which new facts or evidence indicate that the acquitted person was guilty. After detailed discussion, the proposal in question is rejected, inter alia for constitutional reasons.


Michael Lindemann
Michael Lindemann is Professor for Criminal Law, Criminal Procedure and Criminology at the Faculty of Law of Bielefeld University, Germany.

Fabienne Lienau
Fabienne Lienau is Research Assistant at the Chair held by Michael Lindemann.
Article

Access_open The Challenges for England’s Post-Conviction Review Body

Deference to Juries, the Principle of Finality and the Court of Appeal

Tijdschrift Erasmus Law Review, Aflevering 4 2020
Trefwoorden wrongful conviction, criminal justice, Criminal Cases Review Commission, Court of Appeal, discretion
Auteurs Carolyn Hoyle
SamenvattingAuteursinformatie

    Since 1997, the Criminal Cases Review Commission of England, Wales and Northern Ireland has served as a state-funded post-conviction body to consider claims of wrongful conviction for those who have exhausted their rights to appeal. A meticulous organisation that has over its lifetime referred over 700 cases back to the Court of Appeal, resulting in over 60% of those applicants having their convictions quashed, it is nonetheless restricted in its response to cases by its own legislation. This shapes its decision-making in reviewing cases, causing it to be somewhat deferential to the original jury, to the principle of finality and, most importantly, to the Court of Appeal, the only institution that can overturn a wrongful conviction. In mandating such deference, the legislation causes the Commission to have one eye on the Court’s evolving jurisprudence but leaves room for institutional and individual discretion, evidenced in some variability in responses across the Commission. While considerable variability would be difficult to defend, some inconsistency raises the prospects for a shift towards a less deferential referral culture. This article draws on original research by the author to consider the impact of institutional deference on the work of the Criminal Cases Review Commission and argues for a slightly bolder approach in its work


Carolyn Hoyle
Carolyn Hoyle is Professor of Criminology at the Faculty of Law, University of Oxford, UK.
Article

Access_open A European Approach to Revision in Criminal Matters?

Tijdschrift Erasmus Law Review, Aflevering 4 2020
Auteurs Joost Nan, Nina Holvast en Sjarai Lestrade
Auteursinformatie

Joost Nan
Joost Nan is Associate Professor at the Erasmus University Rotterdam.

Nina Holvast
Nina Holvast is Assistant Professor at the Erasmus Universiteit Rotterdam.

Sjarai Lestrade
Sjarai Lestrade is Assistant Professor at the Radboud University Nijmegen.
Article

Access_open Between Legal Certainty and Doubt

The Developments in the Procedure to Overturn Wrongful Convictions in the Netherlands

Tijdschrift Erasmus Law Review, Aflevering 4 2020
Trefwoorden revision law, post-conviction review, wrongful convictions, miscarriages of justice, criminal law, empirical research
Auteurs Nina Holvast, Joost Nan en Sjarai Lestrade
SamenvattingAuteursinformatie

    The Dutch legislature has recently (2012) altered the legislation for post-conviction revision of criminal cases. The legislature aimed to improve the balance between the competing interests of individual justice and the finality of verdicts, by making post-conviction revision more accessible. In this article we describe the current legal framework for revising cases. We also study how the revision procedure functions in practice, by looking at the types and numbers of (successful) requests for further investigations and applications for revision. We observe three challenges in finding the right balance in the revision process in the Netherlands. These challenges concern: 1) the scope of the novum criterion (which is strict), 2) the appropriate role of an advisory committee (the ACAS) in revision cases (functioning too much as a pre-filter for the Supreme Court) and, 3) the difficulties that arise due to requiring a defence council when requesting a revision (e.g., financial burdens).


Nina Holvast
Nina Holvast is Assistant Professor at the Erasmus Universiteit Rotterdam.

Joost Nan
Joost Nan is Associate Professor at the Erasmus University Rotterdam.

Sjarai Lestrade
Sjarai Lestrade is Assistant Professor at the Radboud University Nijmegen.
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 Armed On-board Protection of Danish Vessels Authorisation and Use of Force in Self-defence in a Legal Perspective

Tijdschrift Erasmus Law Review, Aflevering 4 2018
Trefwoorden piracy, private security companies (PSC), privately contracted armed security personnel (PCASP), use of force, Denmark
Auteurs Christian Frier
SamenvattingAuteursinformatie

    This article examines the legal issues pertaining to the use of civilian armed guards on board Danish-flagged ships for protection against piracy. The Danish model of regulation is interesting for several reasons. Firstly, the Danish Government was among the first European flag States to allow and formalise their use in a commercial setting. Secondly, the distribution of assignments between public authorities and private actors stands out as very pragmatic, as ship owners and contracting private security companies are empowered with competences which are traditionally considered as public administrative powers. Thirdly, the lex specialis framework governing the authorisation and use of force in self-defence is non-exhaustive, thus referring to lex generalis regulation, which does not take the special circumstances surrounding the use of armed guards into consideration. As a derived effect the private actors involved rely heavily on soft law and industry self-regulation instrument to complement the international and national legal framework.


Christian Frier
Christian Frier is research assistant at the Department of Law, University of Southern Denmark. He obtained his PhD in Law in March 2019.
Article

Access_open Evidence-Based Regulation and the Translation from Empirical Data to Normative Choices: A Proportionality Test

Tijdschrift Erasmus Law Review, Aflevering 2 2018
Trefwoorden evidence-based, regulation, proportionality, empirical law studies, law and society studies
Auteurs Rob van Gestel en Peter van Lochem
SamenvattingAuteursinformatie

    Studies have shown that the effects of scientific research on law and policy making are often fairly limited. Different reasons can be given for this: scientists are better at falsifying hypothesis than at predicting the future, the outcomes of academic research and empirical evidence can be inconclusive or even contradictory, the timing of the legislative cycle and the production of research show mismatches, there can be clashes between the political rationality and the economic or scientific rationality in the law making process et cetera. There is one ‘wicked’ methodological problem, though, that affects all regulatory policy making, namely: the ‘jump’ from empirical facts (e.g. there are too few organ donors in the Netherlands and the voluntary registration system is not working) to normative recommendations of what the law should regulate (e.g. we need to change the default rule so that everybody in principle becomes an organ donor unless one opts out). We are interested in how this translation process takes place and whether it could make a difference if the empirical research on which legislative drafts are build is more quantitative type of research or more qualitative. That is why we have selected two cases in which either type of research played a role during the drafting phase. We use the lens of the proportionality principle in order to see how empirical data and scientific evidence are used by legislative drafters to justify normative choices in the design of new laws.


Rob van Gestel
Rob van Gestel is professor of theory and methods of regulation at Tilburg University.

Peter van Lochem
Dr. Peter van Lochem is jurist and sociologist and former director of the Academy for Legislation.
Article

Access_open A Critical Appraisal of the Role of Retribution in Malawian Sentencing Jurisprudence

Tijdschrift Erasmus Law Review, Aflevering 3 2017
Trefwoorden sentencing, retribution, just deserts, punishment, Malawi
Auteurs Esther Gumboh
SamenvattingAuteursinformatie

    The theory of retribution is a central tenet in Malawian sentencing jurisprudence. Courts have given expression to retribution in various ways, most conspicuously through the recognition of the principle of proportionality as the most important principle in sentencing. Retribution has permeated courts’ consideration of certain sentencing factors such as the seriousness of the offence, family obligations and public opinion. Overall, retribution rightly plays a pivotal role in Malawian sentencing jurisprudence by elevating the principle of proportionality to the most important principle in sentencing. Malawian courts have also noted that whether in pursuit of retribution or utilitarianism, the ultimate objective is to arrive at a sentence that is just and fair in relation to the crime and the offender. This also ensures that the sentence imposed does not offend the prohibition of cruel, inhuman and degrading punishment.


Esther Gumboh
Esther Gumboh is a postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Cape Town, South Africa.
Article

Access_open Legal Constraints on the Indeterminate Control of ‘Dangerous’ Sex Offenders in the Community: The Spanish Perspective

Tijdschrift Erasmus Law Review, Aflevering 2 2016
Trefwoorden Supervised release, supervision, sex offenders, dangerousness, safety measures, societal upheaval, proportionality
Auteurs Lucía Martínez Garay en Jorge Correcher Mira
SamenvattingAuteursinformatie

    This article presents an overview of the legal regime provided in the Spanish system of criminal sanctions regarding the control of dangerous sex offenders in the community. It focuses on the introduction, in 2010, of a post-prison safety measure named supervised release. We describe the context of its introduction in the Spanish Criminal Code, considering the influence of societal upheaval concerning dangerous sex offenders in its development, and also the historical and theoretical features of the Spanish system of criminal sanctions. We also analyse the legal framework of supervised release, the existing case law about it and how the legal doctrine has until now assessed this measure. After this analysis, the main aim of this article consists in evaluating the effectiveness and the proportionality of the measure, according to the principle of minimal constraints and the rehabilitative function of the criminal sanctions in Spanish law, stated in Article 25.2 of the Spanish Constitution.


Lucía Martínez Garay
Lucía Martínez Garay is a Senior Lecturer at the University of Valencia, Department of Criminal Law.

Jorge Correcher Mira
Jorge Correcher Mira, Ph.D., is an Assistant Lecturer at the University of Valencia, Department of Criminal Law.
Article

Access_open A Theoretical Framework to Study Variations in Workplace Violence Experienced by Emergency Responders

Integrating Opportunity and Vulnerability Perspectives

Tijdschrift Erasmus Law Review, Aflevering 3 2016
Trefwoorden Workplace aggression, workplace violence, emergency responders, blaming the victim, victimology
Auteurs Lisa van Reemst
SamenvattingAuteursinformatie

    Emergency responders are often sent to the front line and are often confronted with aggression and violence in interaction with citizens. According to previous studies, some professionals experience more workplace violence than others. In this article, the theoretical framework to study variations in workplace violence against emergency responders is described. According to criminal opportunity theories, which integrate the routine activity theory and lifestyle/exposure theory, victimisation is largely dependent on the lifestyle and routine activities of persons. Situational characteristics that could be related to workplace violence are organisational or task characteristics, such as having more contact with citizens or working at night. However, they do not provide insight in all aspects of influence, and their usefulness to reduce victimisation is limited. Therefore, it is important to consider the role of personal characteristics of the emergency responders that may be more or less ‘attractive’, which is elaborated upon by the victim precipitation theory. Psychological and behavioural characteristics of emergency responders may be relevant to reduce external workplace violence. The author argues that, despite the risk of being considered as blaming the victim, studying characteristics that might prevent victimisation is needed. Directions for future studies about workplace violence are discussed. These future studies should address a combination of victim and situation characteristics, use a longitudinal design and focus on emergency responders. In addition, differences between professions in relationships between characteristics and workplace violence should be explored.


Lisa van Reemst
Lisa van Reemst, M.Sc., is a Ph.D. candidate at the Erasmus University Rotterdam.
Article

Access_open Harmony, Law and Criminal Reconciliation in China: A Historical Perspective

Tijdschrift Erasmus Law Review, Aflevering 1 2016
Trefwoorden Criminal reconciliation, Confucianism, decentralisation, centralisation
Auteurs Wei Pei
SamenvattingAuteursinformatie

    In 2012, China revised its Criminal Procedure Law (2012 CPL). One of the major changes is its official approval of the use of victim-offender reconciliation, or ‘criminal reconciliation’ in certain public prosecution cases. This change, on the one hand, echoes the Confucian doctrine that favours harmonious inter-personal relationships and mediation, while, on the other hand, it deviates from the direction of legal reforms dating from the 1970s through the late 1990s. Questions have emerged concerning not only the cause of this change in legal norms but also the proper position of criminal reconciliation in the current criminal justice system in China. The answers to these questions largely rely on understanding the role of traditional informal dispute resolution as well as its interaction with legal norms. Criminal reconciliation in ancient China functioned as a means to centralise imperial power by decentralizing decentralising its administration. Abolishing or enabling such a mechanism in law is merely a small part of the government’s strategy to react to political or social crises and to maintain social stability. However, its actual effect depends on the vitality of Confucianism, which in turn relies on the economic foundation and corresponding structure of society.


Wei Pei
Wei Pei, Ph.D., is an Associate Professor at the Beihang School of Law in the Beihang University.
Article

Access_open Juveniles’ Right to Counsel during Police Interrogations: An Interdisciplinary Analysis of a Youth-Specific Approach, with a Particular Focus on the Netherlands

Tijdschrift Erasmus Law Review, Aflevering 4 2014
Trefwoorden legal representation, counsel, juvenile justice, police interrogations, children’s rights
Auteurs Prof. Dr. Ton Liefaard Ph.D. LL.M en Yannick van den Brink
SamenvattingAuteursinformatie

    The right to counsel of juveniles at the stage of police interrogations has gained significant attention since the Salduz ruling of the European Court on Human Rights in 2008. The legislative and policy developments that have taken place since then and that are still ongoing – both on a regional (European) and domestic (Dutch) level – reveal a shared belief that juvenile suspects must be awarded special protection in this phase of the criminal justice proceedings. This calls for a youth-specific approach as fundamentally different from the common approach for adults. At the same time, there seems to be ambivalence concerning the justification and concrete implications of such a youth-specific approach. This article aims to clarify the underlying rationale and significance of a youth specific approach to the right to counsel at the stage of police interrogations on the basis of an interdisciplinary analysis of European Court on Human Rights case law, international children’s rights standards and relevant developmental psychological insights. In addition, this article aims to position this right of juveniles in conflict with the law in the particular context of the Dutch juvenile justice system and provide concrete recommendations to the Dutch legislator.


Prof. Dr. Ton Liefaard Ph.D. LL.M
Prof. Dr. T. Liefaard is Professor of Children’s Rights (UNICEF Chair) at Leiden Law School, Department of Child Law; t.liefaard@law.leidenuniv.nl.

Yannick van den Brink
Y.N. van den Brink, LL.M, MA, is PhD researcher at Leiden Law School, Department of Child Law; y.n.van.den.brink@law.leidenuniv.nl.
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