Pursuing a Global Context for Ownership Paradigms

By Dr. Agustin Parise

Legislative enactments and court decisions, together with social-historical events, provide the causal mechanisms that enable scholars to trace the evolution of ownership paradigms in different jurisdictions. In addition, shifts in ownership paradigms result from the circulation and flow of legal ideas. The circulation and flow ultimately help to identify foreign and vernacular creations.

Ownership paradigms can be approached from a comparative legal historical perspective, hence moving from vernacular levels to multi-jurisdictional levels. The time has come to extend the scope of studies, and to aim to place multi-jurisdictional levels within a global context. The evolution and shifts in ownership paradigms could indeed be extended to another level. Comparisons could be drawn, for example, between events on different continents. The degree of development in local or comparative legal historiography will dictate the path to follow in selecting the more demanding and suitable comparisons. Parallelisms or divergences could be reached, aiming towards a global context.

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Case C-80/19 E.E. – Do Latin notaries qualify as ‘courts’ and are they bound by the rules of jurisdiction under the European Succession Regulation?

By Katja Zimmermann

 

“What’s in a name?” – William Shakespeare’s famous question readily comes to one’s mind when analysing whether a national legal authority qualifies as a ‘court’ under the European Succession Regulation. In other words: what’s in a ‘court’? It is this very question that Member States are obliged to answer in the context of said Regulation. A definition of the term ‘court’ is provided in its article 3 (2):

“For the purposes of this Regulation, the term ‘court’ means any judicial authority and all other authorities and legal professionals with competence in matters of succession which exercise judicial functions or act pursuant to a delegation of power by a judicial authority or act under the control of a judicial authority, provided that such other authorities and legal professionals offer guarantees with regard to impartiality and the right of all parties to be heard and provided that their decisions under the law of the Member State in which they operate: (a) may be made the subject of an appeal to or review by a judicial authority; and (b) have a similar force and effect as a decision of a judicial authority on the same matter.”

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The Territorial Scope of EU-Privacy Law; Two Opinions from AG Szpunar

By Stephan Mulders & Burak Haylamaz

On the 10th of January 2019, AG-Szpunar concluded in Google v. CNIL that a removal request based on the Google Spain v. Costeja judgement should not have a worldwide effect. However, on the 4th of June, the same AG concluded that an EU national court can, in fact, order an internet service provider to remove information worldwide in the case of Ewa Glawishnig v. Facebook Ireland.[1] In this post, we will analyze these seemingly contradictory opinions.

 

Both cases regard the right to privacy. The right to privacy is not an absolute but a relative right so that its scope must be balanced with competing rights, e.g. the right to freedom of expression and the right to access information of public. If there is a conflict between the right to privacy and the competing rights, a balancing test determines which right has primacy in a specific case.

Such balancing test is difficult -hence being queried- to accomplish if information is distributed over multiple countries as some countries tend to value privacy higher than the freedom of expression and vice versa. It is also questioned whether a national European court can effectively strike a balance on a worldwide level. These concerns, in turn, raise a legal question that whether European courts should extend their jurisdiction beyond European territories and order the removal of information in a global scale.

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RECIPES: REconciling sCience, Innovation and Precaution through the Engagement of Stakeholders

By Dr. Kristel de Smedt

 

The development of Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs), nanotechnology and neonicotinoid insecticides presents opportunities for humans and the environment, but it can also carry risks to human, animal or plant health.

Decisions on their promotion or regulation are often to be taken in situations of uncertainty or lack of knowledge about these risks. But how do we take sound decisions in situations of scientific uncertainty? How do we decide on new or emerging technologies?

In such situations, the precautionary principle guides decision-makers faced with risks, scientific uncertainty and public concerns. As a general principle of EU law, it allows decision-makers to act despite scientific uncertainty.

In recent years, the principle has been criticised for hindering technologic innovation. Therefore, some stakeholders have developed an ‘innovation principle’, stressing the importance of taking into account also potential impacts on innovation.

Under the Horizon 2020’s subprogramme ‘Science with and for Society’ (SWAFS), the European Commission launched a call to take stock of the precautionary principle in R&I and to reconnect science with society.

The RECIPES project (REconciling sCience, Innovation and Precaution through the Engagement of Stakeholders) of the Consortium led by Maastricht University takes up this challenge and aims to develop new tools and guidelines to ensure the precautionary principle is applied while still encouraging innovation.

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Courts and Internet Governance (Conference, 5 June 2019, Brussels)

Organizers:
Mariolina Eliantonio (Maastricht University, Department of Public Law)
Catalina Goanta (Maastricht University, Law&Tech Lab)
Isabelle Wildhaber (University of St. Gallen, Institute for Work and Employment FAA-HSG)

When issues first arise in connection with how disruptive innovations need to be qualified according to current legal regimes, courts are the ones expected to interpret new developments in the light of established laws. Yet courts – just as lawmakers – are often criticized for their perceived inability to understand technology and keep up with its pace. As innovation develops and transforms Internet architecture, users and governance, marking ashift from the web 1.0 of the early 90’s to the platform-dominated web 2.0, it gives rise to more complex legal questions. On the one hand, with the advent of peer-to-peer economy around platforms such as Youtube, Instagram, AirbnB or TaskRabbit, legal certainty is under siege, as shown by various referrals by national courts in the European Union to the Court of Justice: When is user consent gathered by online sufficiently ‘specific’ and ‘informed’ (Case C- 61/19)? Is a natural person who posts eight ads on a website a trader who is bound by consumer protection (Case C‐105/17)? On the other hand, developments in distributed technologies such as blockchain have in more recent times added decentralization to the already-existing legal uncertainty. While the blockchain space has seen skyrocketing investments, losses arising in relation to fraudulent Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs), hardware manufacturing defects or security holes in smart contracts are reported by news outlets, but rarely make it on the desks of judges.

This conference builds on an initial exploration of the topic of decentralization held at the Faculty of Law at Oxford University in March 2019. The event takes the overarching theme of Internet governance, as the vast majority of the data-related issues as illustrated above has been shaped by the increased interconnectivity, use and architecture behind the Internet. The first panel tackle Internet governance from the perspective of the legal certainty necessary for stable markets and societies. The second and third panel zoom into court activity with respect to issues related big data collected, stored or linked online, as well as the circumstances underlying the lack of more litigation relating to blockchain-related wrongs.

Keynote speech: Primavera de Filippi (Harvard University & CNRS)

Full programme and registration here.

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MEPLI and IDS team wins Commission tender

A multidisciplinary team of researchers from the UM Faculty of Law and the Institute of Data Science (Caroline Cauffman, Gijs van Dijck, Michel Dumontier, Catalina Goanta, Monika Leszczyńska, Kody Moodley and Pedro Hdez Serrano) recently won the tender JUST/2018/CONS/PR/CO01/0123 – Exploratory Study: Exploring IT/AI tools for monitoring online markets for consumer policy purposes. The aim of the project is to identify and make an inventory of IT and AI tools that are or can be made useful for online market surveillance for consumer policy development purposes and for the enforcement of consumer protection legislation. In addition, it aims to develop options and recommendations for action to integrate the use of such tools in online market monitoring for policy development at EU level for EU and national consumer policy enforcement. Do reach out to us researchers if you are building/using such tools!

 

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