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The law of the sea has long been a rich source of examples of the interplay, and occasional entanglement, of treaty and custom. This article discusses whether claims to close off the waters of ‘offshore archipelagos' by non-archipelagic States are consistent with international law against the background of this perennial issue. Analysis of the 1982 Law of the Sea Convention (LOSC) demonstrates quite clearly that there is no basis for such claims. ‘Going beyond the LOSC’ the article examines whether the matter remains subject to customary international law; whether subsequent practice may have established the agreement of the parties that the relevant provisions of the LOSC are to be interpreted as allowing their invocation by non-archipelagic States with offshore archipelagos; and whether there is ‘supervening custom’ that may have emerged since the adoption of the LOSC and that permits such claims by non-archipelagic States. Identifying and critically assessing the current state of international law on these fundamental questions of the relationship between treaty and custom, it is concluded that there is no basis for arguing that non-archipelagic States are able to claim any sort of special status for ‘offshore archipelagos’.
Companies from emerging economies have started internationalizing their production operations; they are following the same path as American, European and East Asian corporations before them, setting up factories in third countries to serve their export markets from closer locations and produce more efficiently. Thus, it is no longer only developed countries’ multinationals which are moving their operations to developing countries, but emerging market companies that are increasingly engaging in production abroad. This is having beneficial effects in countries where these companies invest and might help them start their own industrialization process. This has attracted the ire of developed countries, which are now targeting these downstream production plants abroad by using the so-called anti-circumvention instrument, resulting in trade defence duties imposed on the parent companies being extended to their foreign subsidiaries. This application of the anti-circumvention instrument departs from its historic rationale and might hinder the development of countries in need of foreign investment. Therefore, affected governments should consider taking international legal action to bring developed countries to the negotiating table to put a halt to this abuse of the anti-circumvention instrument.
Plastic pollution is a planetary crisis posing a significant threat to humans and the environment. The regulatory response to this crisis has so far been piecemeal and has not prevented the accumulation and ubiquity of plastic pollution. The growing concern over plastic pollution and the first regulatory measures directed against it soon resulted in court cases. By early 2023, cases concerning plastic pollution emerged in more than 30 countries around the world. From holding private polluters accountable to considering the constitutionality of restrictions on certain plastic products and to ordering regulatory bodies to adopt or implement such measures, courts are playing an increasingly important role in plastic pollution governance.
This article examines the legal principles governing the sharing of benefits deriving from the exploration and use of outer space. It shows that, over time, three strands of State practice have developed different understandings of the content of the obligation contained in Article I, paragraph 1 of the Outer Space Treaty. While drawing parallels with other areas of international law, the article examines the role of equity in the structure of the obligation and evaluates the possibility of replacing considerations of equivalence with a proportionality test to facilitate the fulfilment of the benefit sharing obligation under the Outer Space Treaty.
National regulatory authorities (NRAs) play a key role in energy transition from fossil fuels to renewable energy sources. A recent judgment of the Court of Justice of the European Union has clarified the requirements of NRA independence under European Union (EU) energy law. The Court classified the exclusive competence of NRAs to fix network tariffs as purely technical assessments of factual realities. This article challenges this assumption and examines whether the technical administrative tasks of NRAs can in fact be separated from political choices. It also explores the delineation of competences between NRAs and national governments at the EU and national levels, as exemplified by the Netherlands and by the proposed Dutch Energy Act.
Data protection law has emerged as an important bulwark against online privacy intrusions, and yet its status within privacy law remains awkward. Its starting point of protecting ‘personal’ rather than ‘private’ information puts it at odds with privacy more generally. Indeed, in its very design, data protection law caters for the protection of public personal information, or personal information which has attained a degree of publicness through disclosure. Building on James Whitman's comparative privacy study, this article argues that data protection law is not the odd bedfellow of privacy law properly so called but may be understood as a manifestation of the Continental European culture of privacy. Its distinctiveness does not lie in its apparent technicality but in its robust openness to privacy in public—an idea that is alien to the Anglo-American culture of privacy. Whilst these two cultures of privacy have long ‘met’ in different jurisdictions, this article locates their enduring influence and antagonism within three contemporary privacy regimes. By taking the right to be forgotten, as an archetypal privacy-in-public right, in the testing context of spent criminal convictions, the article gauges the comparative openness to such claims, first, of the Court of Justice of the European Union as the authoritative voice on General Data Protection Regulation normativity; secondly, of the US judiciary as committed to the First and Fourth Amendment; and, thirdly, of the European Court of Human Rights on Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights and its fused Anglo-American and Continental European privacy jurisprudence. It is the latter jurisprudence in particular that highlights the tensions arising from trying to marry the two privacy traditions, or merge data protection and ‘privacy’ law. Yet, these tensions also offer insights and opportunities.
This article explores the meaning of solidarity in European Union (EU) law in the context of the energy sector and the ongoing energy crisis. Energy provides a powerful and topical sectoral example of the fundamental role and diverse functions of solidarity in EU law. In its OPAL ruling in 2021, the Court of Justice of the EU established that energy solidarity constitutes a legally binding principle of EU energy law that should inform EU institutions and the Member States in their energy decisions. This article adds to legal scholarship on solidarity in three ways. First, it further develops the understanding of the ambiguous solidarity concept in EU law through the lens of the energy sector. Secondly, it contributes to the emerging body of energy law scholarship that seeks to advance the discipline of energy law by focusing on its doctrine rather than on its substantive developments. Finally, it provides a timely and novel analysis of the EU's recent emergency responses to address the acute energy crisis from the point of view of solidarity.
The Taliban's takeover of Afghanistan in August 2021 deprived women and girls of their fundamental rights. The Taliban denied or severely restricted women and girls’ rights to education, work, healthcare, freedom of movement, opinion and expression, and to protection from gender-based violence. This article argues that the Taliban's treatment of Afghan women and girls amounts to persecution, and all Afghan women and girls should be recognised as refugees under the 1951 Refugee Convention. The article further examines the feasibility of prima facie recognition for Afghan women and girls.
Recent case law has evidenced doctrinal ambiguity concerning whether State immunity precludes domestic courts’ jurisdiction when rights and interests of third-party States may be affected. This article posits that such confusion arises from a failure to recognize State immunity as a rule predicated on the sovereign status of the defendant. Through an analysis of State practice, the article contends that the concept of indirect impleading incorporated in the United Nations Convention on State Immunity does not challenge the status-based nature of this rule. Construing State immunity as a subject-matter rule erroneously conflates it with distinct doctrines, such as Monetary Gold and the act of State doctrine.