Preliminary Reference

A Multilevel Approach to Publicity under European Law

Emmanouil Bougiakiotis, LLB, Democritus University of Thrace, Greece, Legal Intern at the Hellenic Data Protection Authority. All views expressed are personal. I. Introduction Publicity is a notion that becomes a matter of growing importance in European law, as it can affect numerous rights, such as. the rights to privacy, personal data, freedom of expression and, to some extent, the right of access to documents. However, almost no attention has been given to the conceptual issues with regard to the notion of publication and its characteristics, although they may be crucial in the outcome of a legal judgement. A characteristic example of […]

The U.K. Votes Out: What Happens Next

Colleen Baehrend, J.D. Candidate, Columbia Law School 2017   The process of unravelling the partnership between the one of the largest economies in the world and the most prominent trade bloc comes down to only 261 words: the text of Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty. With such brief guidelines and no precedent to work with, how exactly the divorce between the U.K. and EU will proceed is shrouded in uncertainty. Starting at the source, Article 50(1) gives Member States the right to withdraw from the EU “in accordance with its own constitutional requirements.” Thus, Article 50 must be invoked […]

AG Wathelet suggests how conditions for transfer of proceedings under Article 15 of the Brussels II bis Regulation should be interpreted

Dr. Agne Limante, Law Institute of Lithuania On 16th June 2016 the Advocate General Melchior Wathelet issued his opinion in Child and Family Agency (CAFA) v. J. D. In it, the Advocate General offered his position as to how conditions for the transfer of proceedings under Article 15 of the Brussels II bis Regulation should be interpreted. This opinion is of interest to those dealing with private international law and family law issues, and especially to those interested with the application of the Brussels II bis Regulation. The Brussels II bis Regulation establishes rules for jurisdiction, recognition and enforcement of judgments […]

Developing Blockchain Real-Time Clearing and Settlement in the EU, U.S., and Globally

Joanna Diane Caytas J.D. Candidate, Columbia Law School 2017 Framing the issue U.S. and European payment systems as we fondly know them are notoriously antediluvian. In China, all a consumer needs to do to send money is to input on their phone the beneficiary’s 16-18 digit account number, name, and bank name. Final credit is typically received in 5 seconds – not up to 5 hours, as for a U.S. domestic wire. Nor do Chinese consumers experience the grotesque fees charged for Western Union’s “instant money,” which in most cases still requires a trip to clear physical cash. There is […]

Risk Finance in the UK Pharma Sector: Why the Industry is Right to Fear a Brexit

Aaron Rogoff J.D. Candidate, Columbia Law School 2017 Editor-In-Chief, Columbia Journal of European Law Introduction – What is at Stake for UK Pharma The British pharmaceutical industry employs 183,000 people and accounts for annual sales worth £ 56 billion (€ 71.39 billion).  Its leaders have been vocal opponents of the UK referendum to leave the EU. Their comments refer to a number of negative implications for pharmaceutical companies, including the loss of their investment in achieving regulatory alignment for drug development under the European Medicines Agency (EMA), the cost and instability that will result if that regime must be revised […]

Final thoughts on (a potential) Brexit: Imposing (and accepting) constraints on sovereignty

by Brian Christopher Jones, Lecturer in Public Law, Liverpool Hope University. Justifications for constraints or losses of sovereignty have particular merits, some more defensible than others. In the UK’s case, there is little doubt that joining the EU has resulted in at least some loss of sovereignty (despite the fact that Parliament retains the right to repeal the European Communities Act 1972). Even though the UK knew going in that there were serious sovereignty implications, probably few could have predicted in 1972 that the EU would now resemble such a close political union, potentially on the verge of incorporating a federalist […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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, […]

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 […]

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 […]