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Legal Technology for Law Firms: Determining Roadmaps for Innovation

Abstract

The business model of many law firms, as legal professions on the whole, will be facing a considerable paradigm change since the work provided by law firms in the form of billable hours, in fact, largely consists of services which do not require superior legal education but involve mere data procession. It is only a question of time that the consequence – to have all outsourceable services be performed by means of legal technology – will become public knowledge in the branch, as the costs saved by the usage of legal technology are considerable. Legal technology, or Legal Tech, in this context represents a broad range of solutions that affect both lawyers and clients on various levels. However, the discourse on automatisation of law has been scant and sporadic. This paper aims to shed some light on the current operating technical solutions for innovation with the primary aim of explicating the different aims and levels of development of different legal technologies.

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The past, present and future of the EU’s federal experience

Abstract

In 2017 we celebrated the 60th anniversary of the Treaty of Rome and the 25th anniversary of the Treaty of Maastricht. The commemoration of these historic events was the perfect excuse for a critical and renewed discussion of European integration. It was also an opportunity for discussing the EU through the lens of “federalism”, i.e. to look at it from the perspective of federal theory and / or through its substantive and formal dimension. This issue of Perspectives on Federalism includes papers presented in conferences organized at Warsaw University in June 2016 and at Lisbon Nova Law School on May 2017 under the Jean Monnet Project “More EU - More Europe to Overcome the Crisis”. The articles discuss, either from a more general or from a more specific standpoint, within a variety of subjects, some of the federal features of the EU.

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Reconstructing Social Dialogue

Abstract

The European Social Dialogue, and its output, the European collective agreements, are intended to implement minimum standards of working conditions that bind all Member- States, in a logic of legal harmonisation of the European Union’s social objectives. However, despite some federal traits of the European Union (“EU”), since the beginning European social dialogue has faced numerous challenges, particularly when confronted with the need to balance economic interests, giving social policies a subsidiary role, and when facing the different agendas of each Member-State. This article proceeds with a historical analysis of the development of European Social Dialogue, its implementation stages, and past and current challenges, which can be divided in three phases: past experience, present experience and current challenges and, finally, an attempt to project what new social policies might hold for the future.

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The referenda for more autonomy in Veneto and Lombardia: constitutional and comparative perspectives

Abstract

In a global context where popular referenda are increasingly used to decide contested issues, this paper aims at exploring the framework in which, in October 2017, two referenda took place in the Italian northern regions of Veneto and Lombardia to seek additional forms and conditions of autonomy within the Italian regional state as painted by the Constitution after the 2001 reform. By adopting mainly an analytical perspective, this contribution studies the political and constitutional underpinnings of the two referenda while at the same time providing a cursory comparative account of differential and asymmetric regionalism.

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Right of Access to Supreme Courts in Light of the Guarantees under Article 6 § 1 of the Convention on Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms (civil aspect)

Abstract

Right of access to a court, enshrined in Article 6 § 1 of the European Convention on Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms forms one of the basis for reinforcement of the principle of rule of law. However, the right of access to a court may be limited by provisions of national legislation regulating the functioning of the judicial system and rules of judicial procedure. The higher the hierarchy of the court, the more limits may be placed on the right of access to it. The aim of this article is to examine the different modalities of organisation of supreme judiciaries in European countries (members of the Council of Europe) and mechanisms established in national legislation for filtering applications to those jurisdictions in civil cases, in light of the principles set forth in that regard by the ever evolving case-law of the European Court of Human Rights, and the effects of its judgments and decisions on national legal systems.

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The role of the Capital Markets Union: towards regulatory harmonisation and supervisory convergence

Abstract

The Council is a crucial intergovernmental institution of the European Union. However, the complex, opaque and consensual character of the decision-making process in the Council puts its legitimacy into question. Intergovernmentalist theory posits that it is sufficiently legitimised, indirectly, by the member state governments. Constructivist research, on the other hand, suggests that socialisation might disturb the relaying of positions from the national to the supranational level, as the former approach implies. This paper aims to explore these issues, in particular related to representation and consensus. It contains an analysis of material generated in in-depth interviews. The Capital Markets Union (CMU) initiative serves as an umbrella term for regulatory changes directed at the overall development of European capital markets. As such, when analysing the legal framework of the CMU, it is important to note that this involves an undertaking which goes beyond the regulation of financial systems, also aiming to achieve supervisory convergence throughout the member states of the European Union. Indeed, it is perhaps one of the clearest examples of federal implications within the EU. All the synchronous movements enacted into law, leading towards harmonisation and supervisory convergence, show us that the CMU is an foundational piece in a collective journey towards ever greater integration in terms of economic governance and economic policies. Nonetheless, even if the CMU is one of the few cross-country risk-sharing mechanisms available to the EU, its implementation faces difficulties (as well as the looming Brexit) that demand careful analysis.

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The Second-Generation Theory of Fiscal Federalism: A Critical Evaluation

Abstract

This paper evaluates the second-generation theory (SGT) of fiscal federalism. It spells out the main arguments of the theory and discusses the fiscal architecture of Nigerian federalism with a view to using the case study to work out the strengths and weaknesses of the theory. After arguing that the weaknesses of the theory outweigh its strength, the paper goes on to point out the dangers of using a particular construct of fiscal federalism as a model. It notes that SGT theory is an attempt at reviving and modelling nineteenth century American fiscal federalism as a universal standard.

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Socialisation and legitimacy intermediation in the Council of the European Union

Abstract

The Council is a crucial intergovernmental institution of the European Union. However, the complex, opaque and consensual character of the decision-making process in the Council puts its legitimacy into question. Intergovernmentalist theory posits that it is sufficiently legitimised, indirectly, by the member state governments. Constructivist research, on the other hand, suggests that socialisation might disturb the relaying of positions from the national to the supranational level, as the former approach implies. This paper aims to explore these issues, in particular related to representation and consensus. It contains an analysis of material generated in in-depth interviews and concludes that more effort is invested into reaching a more inclusive compromise in the Council than one would expect if it were to decide by qualified majority. Socialisation is weakening the input legitimacy of decisions made in the Council, while at the same time enhancing their output legitimacy by favouring genuine consensus.

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The voting systems in the Council of the EU and the Bundesrat – What do they tell us about European Federalism?

Abstract

The Treaty of Lisbon introduced a new system of weighted votes in the Council, which radically departs from the principles on which the distribution of votes between the Member States of the EU was based for more than half a century. At the same time, the system of double majority is fundamentally different from the assumptions on which voting systems in federal states are based, including in the Bundesrat. Systems used in federal states are usually based on a compromise between the equality of states, and the equality of citizens. Consequently, in the Nice system, smaller Member States in the EU had relatively greater power compared to their populations than smaller federal units in the German Bundesrat. The results presented in this paper indicate that the Lisbon system of voting in the Council differs significantly from voting systems in federal states.

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Declining systemic trust in the political elite in the EU’s new member states: the divergence between east-central Europe and the baltic states

Abstract

In the last decade there has been a process of rolling-back Europeanization efforts in the EU’s new member states (NMS), a process intensified by the global crisis. This de-Europeanization and dedemocratization process in the NMS has become a significant part of a more general polycrisis in the EU. The backslide of democracy in the NMS as a topical issue has usually been analysed in terms of macro-politics, formal-legal state institutions, party systems, and macroeconomics. The most significant decline of democratization, however, is evident in the public’s decreasing participation in politics and in the eroding trust. This decline in systemic trust in political elites in the NMS has been largely neglected by analysts. Therefore, this paper concentrates on this relatively overlooked dimension of declining trust and social capital in the NMS. This analysis employs the concepts of governance, trust, and social capital to balance the usual formalistic top-down approach with a bottom-up approach that better illustrates the divergence between East-Central Europe and the Baltic states’ sub-regional development.

Open access