Preliminary Reference


Home Sweett Home? Sweett Group and the UK Bribery Act

Dr. Marcel Gade LL.M., Columbia Law School, 2016 Ducunt volentem fata, nolentem trahunt – Seneca On February 19, 2016 Sweett Group plc (Sweett), a UK based construction company, was sentenced in the Southwark Crown Court pursuant to Section 7 of the UK Bribery Act 2010 to a payment of about £2.25m, consisting of a fine of £1.4m, a confiscation amount of £851,152 and £95,000 in prosecution costs. The sentence followed a guilty plea in December 2015 and ended a one-year long investigation by the Serious Fraud Office (SFO). So, what had happened? In 2014 the SFO started investigating allegations that […]

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EU-US Privacy Shield: The Future Framework for Transatlantic Data Flows?

Marjorie Becker LL.M., Columbia Law School, 2016 By striking down the 15-year old Safe Harbor Framework in its decision Schrems v. Data Protection Commissioner on October 6, 2015,[1] the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) left most self-certified U.S. companies in limbo. The Privacy Shield announced on February 2, 2016 by the EU Commission and the U.S. Department of Commerce (DOC), however, may yet provide relief to some of them. This new framework comprises various documents—summarized in the draft adequacy decision and related annexes released on February 29, 2016—and aims to comply with the requirements of Schrems by […]


Disposing of Relics: Overt and Covert Blasphemy Statutes in Europe

Joanna Diane Caytas J.D. Candidate, Columbia Law School, 2017 Introduction The murderous rampages at Charlie Hebdo in Paris in January 2015, in Copenhagen in February 2015, and all across Paris on November 13, 2015 not only shocked the world’s conscience but also resurfaced a controversy over blasphemy laws that, prior to the advent of fundamentalist religious terrorism, had been thought a relic of a bygone era. These rampages also sparked discussions concerning the existence of a common European identity of values, secular humanism as a minimum constitutional denominator, and the difference between attacking people and ideas. Islamic groups are the […]

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Brexit: Path to Scottish Independence?

Justin Lee J.D. Candidate, Columbia Law School, 2017 A referendum on the United Kingdom’s membership in the European Union (the Brexit referendum) is set to take place on June 23, 2016. Facing the rise of the anti-EU UK Independence Party and convincing predictions for a hung parliament, UK Prime Minister David Cameron had promised the Brexit referendum as part of his 2015 General Election campaign. Cameron led his Conservative Party to victory and become the second Prime Minister of the UK, only after Margaret Thatcher, to increase his party’s majority while in power. The Prime Minister, who is in the […]


The Road to Luxembourg: Columbia Law School in the European Law Moot Court Finals

Columbia Law School’s first-year students are given the unique opportunity to participate in moot court competitions at the beginning of their law school tenure. One of the international moot court programs with a strong tradition at CLS is the European Law Moot Court. On February 6, 2016, the team of César Rivere ’18, Eliana Sanchez ’18, Jake Bogart ’18, and Rachel LaFortune ’18 competed in a regional final at the University of Helsinki in Finland. The following weekend, the team of Ani Hamparsumyan ’17, Emily Hush ’18, Julie Nkodo ’18, and Kate Witchger ’18 competed at the National and Kapodistrian […]

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Judicial Appointments in the Italian and U.S. Supreme Courts: A Brief Comparison

Giacomo Bertolissi LL.M., Columbia Law School, 2016 Despite a general understanding that courts should respect the principle of separation of powers,[1] American justices have often been criticized for making policy judgments.[2] In the recent Obergefell case, Justice Scalia affirmed that “[t]oday’s decree says that my Ruler, and the Ruler of 320 million Americans coast-to-coast, is a majority of the nine lawyers on the Supreme Court.” A similar criticism may be found in Italy. Even though Article 28 of the Legge 11 marzo 1953, n. 87 provides that the Italian Constitutional Court should refrain from interfering with the legislature’s discretion, the Italian […]


The End of a Safe Harbor: The Schrems Decision Calls for Stricter Standards for Protection of Personal Data Transferred to the US

Traci Biedermann J.D. Candidate, Columbia Law School, 2017 Scrutiny of the United States’ measures for protection of personal data from government surveillance has increased following Snowden’s revelations regarding the National Security Agency (NSA). In fact, these revelations are still making ripples in the area of data protection, one such being the case of Schrems v. Data Protection Commissioner (Case C-362/14). Fearing that his data was being improperly protected after transmission to the US by Facebook, Maximillian Schrems, filed a complaint alleging that the US did not have adequate protections against government surveillance of his personal data. Under the EU Data […]

Data protection

Land Grab

Land Grabbing in Cambodia: Redress Found in UK Courts?

Elaine Sun J.D. Candidate, Columbia Law School, 2017 In recent years, land grabbing has become increasingly prevalent in Cambodia. The most extensive instances are economic land concessions (ELCs), whereby up to 10,000 hectares of government land per concession can be granted to private companies for agro-industrial exploitation for some fixed period of years, capped at 99 years. The 2001 Land Law of Cambodia also allows the government to expropriate private land from citizens for ELCs “in accordance with the provisions of the law,” and the Cambodian Constitution governs that expropriation “shall require fair and just compensation in advance.” In reality, […]


Communicating Terror: The Role of Gaming Consoles and Backdoors

Ethan McMahon J.D. Candidate, Columbia Law School, 2017 Three days prior to the Paris attacks, Belgium’s Deputy Prime Minister Jan Jambon warned of the growing use of gaming consoles by terror networks at a debate organized by POLITICO. “[T]he most difficult communication between these terrorists is via PlayStation 4 (PS4),” he stated, adding that, the communications through the gaming console’s network are “even more difficult to monitor than WhatsApp” and other networks. Mr. Jambon was likely referring to the PS4 Network’s (PSN) Party Chat feature, which creates a medium for gamers to exchange text messages and voice communications in individual […]

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Ecocide: A Brief History of an Explosive Concept

Hannibal Travis Professor of Law, Florida International University College of Law Book Review: Climate Change and Genocide: Environmental Violence in the 21st Century, edited and with an introduction by Jurgen Zimmerer (Routledge, 2015). A remarkable confluence of events is refocusing our attention to the connection between violence and the environment. From the environmental precursors to the Arab Spring, to the worsening conflicts in Equatorial Africa and Nigeria, to the string of damaging tropical cyclones, to the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Paris, politicians and the press are talking about “the planet” again. A new book presents a typology of environmental […]


Citizenship by Investment: A Comparative Discussion

Angelo Tannuzzo J.D. Candidate, Columbia Law School, 2017   Citizenship status determines the rights and obligations that exist between citizen and State. For example, a citizen must pay taxes, but also has the right to vote and enjoy government-maintained infrastructure and services. Citizenship also entails a mutual duty of loyalty: the State is to act in the collective interest of its citizenry, while a citizen owes allegiance to the State. Because the citizenry and the State form an interdependent political and social entity, the mechanism and selection process by which the State confers or withholds citizenship directly influences the composition, […]

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Shifting Seas: Migration, Integration, and Germany

Hannah Weichbrodt J.D. Candidate, Columbia Law School, 2017 The two largest crises presently facing Germany are the influx of migrants—a 19% increase between 2013 and 2014, most notably from Syria—and a belligerent Russian next-door neighbor. In assessing how Germany should respond to these emergency situations, Thomas Bagger, the Head of Policy Planning for the German Foreign Ministry, notes the historic context in which Germany understands its role within Europe and its evolving self-conception as a world power. After the Fall of the Berlin Wall, Germany was surrounded by friends and recognized itself as occupying a space in a “sea of tranquility,” […]


Will Catalonians Be the First Successful Separatists to Join the EU on Their Own?

Brandon Short J.D. Candidate, Columbia Law School, 2017 A white star against a blue background stands atop narrow red and yellow stripes. This is a slightly tweaked version of Catalonia’s flag: the added white star and blue triangle stand for Catalonian independence. On September 11th, all that commands more attention than the myriad flags are crowds roaring “In-! Inde-! Independencia!” But, one should query whether the Catalonian flag—adorned with the independence star or not—could ever hang in Brussels among EU Member State flags. There’s no bullfighting in Catalonia, and announcements in Barcelona’s metro typically sound in Catalan, not Spanish. Some […]

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TPP: What Can the Trans-Pacific Partnership Negotiations and News Coverage Predict for TTIP?

Rasheed Ahmed J.D. Candidate, Columbia Law School, 2017   The Obama administration released the long awaited full text of the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal on November 5, 2015. The Trans-Pacific Partnership, or TPP, is a 12-nation deal that makes up 40% of world GDP. It has been heralded as the ‘gold standard’ of trade negotiations and the ‘docking station’ that will ultimately be open to all countries. The announcement marks the largest trade-liberalization pact in a generation. Specifically, the TPP agreement has been described as an “ambitious” and “challenging” negotiation that will set common international trade and investment standards and […]


Quantitative Easing by the European Central Bank

Stacy Kim J.D. Candidate, Columbia Law School, 2017 “Within our mandate, the ECB is ready to do whatever it takes to preserve the euro. And believe me, it will be enough.”[1] —Mario Draghi, President of the European Central Bank Quantitative Easing (QE) is one method that central banks may use to simulate the economy, especially when other monetary policies have been ineffective. A central bank can “create” new money by buying up bonds and other securities on the market. This increases the prices of government bonds, effectively decreasing their effective yield and lowering interest rates. Lower interest rates, combined with […]

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Strained Solidarity: The Challenge of EU Cohesion in the Implementation and Execution of the Union’s Resettlement Plan

Juli Brauer J.D. Candidate, Columbia Law School, 2017 “If ever European solidarity needed to manifest itself, it is on the question of the refugee crisis. It is time to show collective courage and deliver this European response now.”[1] —Jean Paul Juncker, President of the European Commission Europe is currently in the process of implementing a new deal for EU-wide relocation of the refugees who have arrived in Italy and Greece in droves seeking asylum, primarily from a civil war in Syria. First proposed by the European Commission in Strasbourg on September 9, 2015, the plan aims to ease the burden weighing […]


Crowdfunding Venture Capital in Europe

Joanna Diane Caytas J.D. Candidate, Columbia Law School, 2017 Modern venture capital, at first invested by way of private equity, is a Swedish-American creation that started around WWI by ultra-high net worth families such as the Wallenbergs, Whitneys, Rockefellers, and Warburgs. Europe has always lagged significantly behind countries such as the United States[1] and Israel[2] with regards to transparent public markets. It has also never mustered commercial funding sources and government as well as legislative support for large-scale innovation finance, not to mention developed a comparable size and quality of market for risk capital. A recent EU initiative aims to […]

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“All Included”: The ECJ Clarifies the Notion of ‘Implementing Measures’ Within the Meaning of Article 263(4) TFEU

Dr. Agne Limante Research Fellow, Law Institute of Lithuania This case comment will provide a short analysis of the T&L Sugars case, a decision presented by a Grand Chamber of the CJEU on 28 April, 2015, that clarified the concept of ‘implementing measures’ under Article 263(4) TFEU. It will also look at the preceding Telefónica case which is important for the formation of a fuller understanding of the said concept.


Large Investors, Small Obligations: How to Engage EU Shareholders

Aleksandra Pajic, Ph.D., LL.M. Lecturer in Securities Regulation, University of Saskatchewan Targeted development of the EU corporate governance framework is a timely and necessary move. The past few years have shown some serious shortcomings in corporate governance of EU companies. The lack of effective control mechanisms has contributed to excessive risk taking, and subsequently to failures of many financial and non-financial institutions. Those failures are associated with a set of factors: The lengthening of the investment chain; The increasing “short-termism” of the capital markets;[1] The remuneration of institutional investors based on the volume of assets they manage; The costs associated […]

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Driving While Non-European: Reaching a European Consensus on the Exchange of Driver’s Licenses

Megan Elise Griffith J.D., Columbia Law School, 2016 For newcomers to any country, mundane issues, such as obtaining a new driver’s license, can become a time drain. Immigrants may find that they only need to bring documents to a local agency to exchange their “old” license for a new one. Unlucky immigrants, however, may need to take written and practical tests, or even fulfill a classroom requirement, to obtain the new host country license. The fundamental freedom of movement and mutual recognition have mitigated this issue for individuals moving between EU member states. However, member states’ regulations still vary considerably […]