International Law and Domestic Law

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Public Interest Litigation Before Domestic Courts in The Netherlands on the Basis of International Law: Article 3:305a Dutch Civil Code

In recent years, the domestic courts in The Hague (Netherlands) have produced a series of judgments on matters of global concern, adjudicated on the basis of international law. All of these judgments have immediately been heralded as “a new classic” or “the most important court decision […] in the world so far” by scholars and practitioners of international law. This raises the question: Why does one domestic court produce so many of these landmark rulings on fundamental issues of international law? Is it because The Hague takes its nickname ‘legal capital of the world’ (too) seriously? Or is it because the domestic courts in The Hague have been inspired by that other court in their city -  the International Court of Justice? I believe it has more to do with a particular provision in the Dutch Civil Code: Article 305a of Book 3. Article 3:305a Civil Code allows anyone to establish a foundation, mandated to protect a public…

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Human Rights in the Era of Automation and Artificial Intelligence

  Editor's Note: Following is a Keynote Lecture delivered at the 2nd KU Leuven AI Law & Ethics Conference (LAILEC 2020), held on 18 February 2020.  The author is grateful for the exchanges with Professors Joanna Bryson, Peggy Valcke, Nathalie Smuha, AI policy practitioners and EU Commission representatives.  The lecture was delivered one day before the European…

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The Amendments to the Russian Constitution: Putin’s Attempt to Reinforce Russia’s Isolationist Views on International Law?

On 15 January 2020, in his state-of-the-union address, President Putin proposed a number of amendments to the 1993 Constitution of the Russian Federation, including the ones prescribing to redistribute the president’s power in favour of the parliament and a vaguely defined but powerful body called the State Council. The speech has made international headlines (see…

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N.A. v. Finland – On the quality of the national authorities’ risk assessment and what the authorities should learn from the case

  On 14 November 2019, the European Court of Human Rights delivered a judgement in the case N.A. v. Finland (application no. 25244/18). The ECtHR found that Finland had violated Articles 2 and 3 of the European Convention on Human Rights when assessing an Iraqi man’s asylum application. Having exhausted all domestic remedies, the applicant’s father, an…

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Could International Law Stop a No-Deal Brexit?

At the time of writing – less than 3 weeks until the current ‘Brexit day’ of 31 October 2019 -  all options relating to the UK’s departure from the European Union appear to be on the table. Leaving with a deal, ‘crashing out’, not leaving at all, or anything in between seem equally possible. Much attention has been…

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