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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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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Planned obsolescence and consumer protection

By Dr. Marta Santos Silva

 

Nowadays, large corporations are taking advantage of the rapid technological and scientific development in product manufacturing to increase their sales and profits.

One of the business models being explored is the so-called “planned obsolescence”. Planned obsolescence can be defined as a production strategy through which companies plan and control a product’s lifespan, configuring products in such a way that they will stop working as well as they did before, or even entirely, right after the warranty period expires.

While “planned obsolescence” may imply a certain intent on the part of the manufacturer, more neutral and broader designations, such as “premature”, “negligent” or even “avoidable obsolescence” are sometimes used. These encompass the cases described above, but also all cases where the dysfunctionality of the product after a certain period was unintended by the producer and is a result of more general patterns of unsustainable production and consumption.

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Meeting on Draft Model Rules on Online Intermediary Platforms

On Thursday 14 and Friday 15 March the Maastricht University Campus Brussels hosted the meeting of the reporters and members of the project “Draft Model Rules on Online Intermediary Platforms” of the European Law Institute. The project aims to develop model rules on online intermediary platforms that set out a balance between conflicting policy options and demonstrate what potential regulation at EU or national level could look like. The meeting was organized by Caroline Cauffman. About 16 academics from several European Member States and European Commission representatives engaged in very fruitful plenary working sessions. ​Reputational systems and redress were the main topics of the discussion on the first day, while the second day was devoted to the discussion of the coherence of the final draft.

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Should robots be given legal personhood?

By Dr. Caroline Cauffman

 

On 7 February 2019, the SSH Synergy conference 2019 took place in Bussum. The aim of the SSH Synergy conferences is to bring together academics from all disciplines of Social Sciences and Humanities, policy makers and professionals from civil society organisations involved in SSH research in order to discuss themes of current interest. In 2019, the focus was on the theme of Digitalisation. The conference included a number of key note speeches, parallel sessions, a science battle alongside the possibility to network while visiting an info market with organisations from science, society and industry.

NWO offered SSH researchers the possibility to propose topics for the parallel sessions. We were fortunate enough to have our proposal selected and to be given the opportunity to organise two debate sessions in the afternoon on the question of whether robots (which we use as shorthand for artificially intelligent entities) should be given legal personhood.

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