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Implementing ECHR judgments: Progress in 2020 despite COVID, but further efforts needed

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States across Europe are continuing to make progress on implementing judgments from the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR), despite the Covid-19 pandemic, according to the latest  annual report  from the Council of Europe’s Committee of Ministers.  However, further efforts are needed to tackle systemic issues highlighted by the ECHR, including ill-treatment or deaths caused by the security forces and poor conditions of detention, as well as inter-state cases and a growing number of cases concerning abusive limitations on rights and freedoms. “Today’s report shows that our member states take their obligation to implement judgments from the European Court of Human Rights very seriously, even in difficult circumstances,” said Council of Europe Secretary General Marija Pejčinović Burić. “It is also very positive that NGOs and National Human Rights Institutions are becoming more and more involved in the process, making it more effective and transparent. “Nevertheless, this is no time

Basic Attributes of Transnational Law and CISG

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By Evlampia Tsolaki, Attorney at Law The conception of "transnational" law by its spiritual father Philip Jessup (1)  has heralded a completely new scientific legal realm in order to suggest an unconventional for that time approach to legal problems arisen beyond national borders. However vague normatively and thus rather controversial theoretically, that term has been gradually established at its beginnings (2) in the trade area as "transnational commercial law" for describing the law governing the cross-border transactions. It has been proven that the term has been conceptually very precisely chosen in order to imply that contrary to the well-known traditional areas of national and international law and besides them, there is an intrinsic need for mapping a completely undiscovered field where individual persons, either natural or legal personalities, operate outside the protective national net. The exploration of this unknown land is the aim of this paper in order

Rule of Law: European Commission refers Poland to the European Court of Justice and asks for interim measures

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The European Commission decided to refer Poland to the Court of Justice of the European Union regarding the law on the judiciary of 20 December 2019, which entered into force on 14 February 2020. The Commission also decided to ask the Court of Justice to order interim measures until it has issued a final judgment in the case. The Commission considers that the Polish law on the judiciary undermines the independence of Polish judges and is incompatible with the primacy of EU law. Moreover, the law prevents Polish courts, including by using disciplinary proceedings, from directly applying certain provisions of EU law protecting judicial independence, and from putting references for preliminary rulings on such questions to the Court of Justice. In addition, the Commission considers that Poland violates EU law by allowing the Disciplinary Chamber of the Supreme Court – the independence of which is not guaranteed – to take decisions which have a direct impact on judges and the way they e

Legal aid in civil and administrative law: New guidelines

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The Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe has adopted a set of  guidelines  for the 47 member States to help them improve the functioning of national systems of legal aid in the fields of civil and administrative law. The Committee of Ministers stresses the importance of establishing an accessible, effective, sustainable and reliable legal aid scheme allowing individuals to effectively exercise their right of access to justice These guidelines, prepared by the European Committee on Legal Co-operation, invite member States to take a number of measures: - in order to resolve disputes quickly, provide better information on existing legal rights, obligations and remedies and improve access to legal advice and assistance (e.g. through one-stop shops in public services); - to ensure the quality of legal aid schemes and legal services provided by legal aid providers (appointment criteria, evaluation, codes of ethics, satisfaction surveys, disciplinary measures etc); - to e

Jurisdiction in matters of parental responsibility – Abduction of a child (ECJ)

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Court of Justice of the E.U. - Judgment in Case C-603/20 PPU SS v MCP (24.3.2021): The jurisdiction of the court of a Member State that is seised of an action relating to parental responsibility cannot be based on Article 10 of the Brussels II bis Regulation in a case of abduction of a child to a third State. Where a finding is made that the child now has his or her habitual residence in a third State, the jurisdiction of the court will have to be determined in accordance with the applicable international conventions or, in their absence, in accordance with Article 14 of the Brussels II bis Regulation. Facts SS and MCP are the father and mother of P, who was born in 2017 and has British citizenship. SS and MCP, who are of Indian nationality and have leave to remain in the United Kingdom, are not legally married but jointly hold parental responsibility. In October 2018 the mother went to India with the child, who has since lived there with her maternal grandmother and is therefore

Economic Financial sanctions: What, why and do they work?

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by Christina Poursanidou, Lawyer Economic sanctions have a vital role in the global financial industry. The majority of countries have imposed sanctions or had sanctions imposed against either them or their citizens. Considering the above, it is important to have a clear understanding of the definition and the rationale of economic sanctions. Do the economic sanctions really work or do the negatives results outweigh the positives?  Economic sanctions have both diplomatic and economic nature. They are defined as restrictive measures against a target government, or non-state entities and individuals. They may comprise export and/or import bans, bans on the provision of specific services (brokering, financial services, technical assistance), flight bans, prohibitions on investment, payments and capital movements, or the withdrawal of tariff preferences.  Undoubtedly, all these restrictions may cause financial and humanitarian crises to the target countries. So, what is the ratio of these

The Paradigm of Hellenic Civil Code

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By Evlampia Tsolaki, Lawyer On the occasion of the great anniversary for 200 years from the beginning of Greek 1821 Revolution we have decided to upload the below paper, which is an elaborated version of our presentation entitled ʺThe Paradigm of Hellenic Civil Code ‶ taken place on 28th June 2018 in the Biennial Conference ʺLaws Across Codes and Laws Decoded ‶ having being organized by the European Society of Comparative Legal History (ESCLH) in Paris (28th-30th June 2018). Its main subject matter describes the byzantine origins of Hellenic Civil Law and afterwards the attempts of designing Hellenic Civil Code in a dialectical relation with the formation of the modern Greek State, which (attempts) eventually resulted to its final composition. Nice reading! (European Society for Comparative Legal History:   http://esclh.blogspot.com/  /  Photo by  Wendy van Zyl  at  Pexels ) Read the paper here Read more articles by Evlampia Tsolaki here

Transfer of a judge without his consent to another court in a lower judicial district without a judicial review (ECtHR)

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In Chamber's judgment in the case of Bilgen v. Turkey (application no. 1571/07) the European Court of Human Rights held, unanimously, that there had been: a violation of Article 6 § 1 (right to a fair trial) of the European Convention on Human Rights. The case concerned a senior judge at the Ankara Regional Administrative Court who had been transferred without his consent to another court in a lower judicial district by a decree of the High Council of Judges and Prosecutors that had not been subject to judicial review. After reiterating the importance of separation of powers, the Court found in particular that denying the applicant access to a court for an important career matter had not pursued a legitimate aim and could have potentially damaged judicial independence and had thus violated his rights. Facts The applicant, Hüseyin Cahit Bilgen, is a Turkish national who was born in 1952 and lives in Ankara. In 1979 the applicant was appointed as an apprentice rapporteur judge at the

Questions upon confidentiality in international arbitration

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By Evlampia Tsolaki, Attorney at Law International arbitration inherently entails the transnational element that offers inexhaustible topics of research at multiple levels, namely at a doctrinaire, teleological and comparative plane, simultaneously. It is not a coincidence that there is an unending production of legal scholarship regarding international arbitration which is fueled by its flexible structure that has made it attractive for international commercial actors, both in the private and the public sector, as well. Against this background, international arbitration obviously raises novel legal issues while it challenges us to consider traditional ones in order to build a coherent and from that respect relatively safe legal environment. In this framework, there is an oxymoron, namely that established concepts of international arbitration that one would expect to have been clarified, remain rather vague, causing controversies and legal uncertainty. One of such a kind is confidentia

International Fair Trial Day and the Ebru Timtik Award

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The right to a fair trial has long been recognised by the international community as a fundamental human right. Without a fair trial every individual risks becoming the victim of a miscarriage of justice. Either as an innocent suspect wrongly convicted, or as a victim unable to secure justice for a wrong perpetrated against them.  Ebru Timtik was one of 18 lawyers in Turkey who were members of the Progressive Lawyers Association, some of which were working at the People’s Law Office, made subject to a prosecution in the Istanbul 37th Assize Court under Articles 314 and 220 of the Turkish Penal 2 Code for terrorist offences. She and her colleagues were convicted on 20 March 2019 after a trial during which basic procedural safeguards and internationally recognised fair trial principles were ignored. Her conviction was based on the testimony of anonymous witnesses, many of which gave inconsistent testimony in relation to alleged facts and time periods. Documents allegedly obtained from g

Consumer fraud affects 1 in 4 Europeans

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Every year across Europe, millions of Europeans are victims of consumer fraud. They are cheated or misled about their purchases, or they experience payment card fraud. People with disabilities are more likely to fall victim to fraud than other groups. These are some of the findings of the Fundamental Rights Agency’s (FRA) recent survey into people’s experiences of crime. On the World Consumer Rights Day, FRA calls on EU countries to step up their efforts to protect consumers. FRA’s ‘ Crime,safety and victims’ rights ’ report reveals that: Consumer fraud – over one in four people (26%) in the EU were cheated or misled about goods, items or services purchased in the five years before the survey. Young people and those with higher levels of education experienced more online fraud. This may be because they shop more frequently online. Online banking fraud – nearly one in 10 (8%) experienced online banking or payment card fraud in the five years before the survey. Rates vary significant

Illegal mobile application with more than 100 million users taken down in Spain

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Europol supported the Spanish National Police (Policía Nacional) to dismantle a criminal group distributing illegal video streams. The investigation also involved law enforcement authorities from Andorra and Portugal. The investigation started in October 2018 when the Spanish National Police received complaint reports from the Alliance for Creativity and Entertainment, Football Association Pretoria, the Premier League and the Spanish Football League (La Liga Espanola de Fútbol) about a mobile application illegally distributing video streams. The application, downloaded by more than 100 million users via different websites, illegally offered the streaming of videos and TV channels.  The investigation identified a number of connected websites and platforms located in Spain and Portugal with connections to servers in Czechia. The Spanish company behind the illegal activity earned its profits through advertisements. Through the computer infrastructure and power, they were able to sell

The struggle for truth against time and limitation period in the light of two paternity court cases

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By George Kazoleas, Lawyer Two recent cases, one by the European Court of Human Rights and the other by the Athens Court of First Instance with similar facts, show once again that justice can dispel the darkness caused by human deceit having as a result the distortion of real facts. Against time and limitation Time, was essentially the reason why the courts in Serbia denied the 50-year-old Peda Boljevic the right to know the truth about who his biological father was. Until 2011 he believed that A was his real father but when he died, Boljevic discovered in old court rulings around 1970 that A could not be his biological father. So, at the beginning of 2012, he filed a lawsuit with his mother, invoking the old decisions by also adding the argument that back then there was no DNA test, but today this could be done based on a court decree. The courts in Serbia, both the court of first instance and the court of appeals, rejected his application as lapsed, after so many years. In particular