Article ‘Combining Efficiency and Transparancy in Legislative Processes’ in Issue 3 of The Theory and Practice of Legislation (2015)

Theory and Practice of Legislation

The abstract of the article, co-authored with Wim Voermans and Reijer Passchier, reads as follows:

‘In this contribution, we will illustrate the modern-day dynamics of the interplay between the need for expedience and efficiency on the one hand, and the demand for openness, inclusiveness and transparency on the other by looking into one of government’s main decision-making processes: the legislative process. Particularly in the field of legislation, the balancing of both efficiency and transparency is of the essence for modern legislatures in parliamentary democracies: laws expressed by acts and legislative instruments can only be truly effective if they rest on broad societal support. As we will argue, a transparent and inclusive legislative process functions as a kind of democratic check on government action: it guarantees sufficient deliberative activity before a government may act. Throughout our contribution, a 2012 comparative study commissioned by the Dutch Ministry of Security and Justice, and carried out by an interdisciplinary team of researchers from Leiden University will be used as a guiding rail to illustrate some the ways in which different jurisdictions in Europe have managed to combine, or at least balance, the need for legislative efficiency and transparency. We will use this study to demonstrate how traditional legislative processes nowadays grapple to translate the will of the citizens into effective legislation, how modern administrations still need democratically underpinned legislative procedures as the basis for the legitimation of (their) decisions, how efficient delivery of decisions and careful (lengthy) scrutiny interact. On the basis of this material we will further discuss concepts of, respectively, efficiency and transparency and especially the way modern legislatures examined in the study use information and communication technology (ICT) to overcome the sometimes opposing demands on their legislative processes. Insofar as possible we will try to highlight a few ‘best practices’ that show how legislative processes can (and cannot) adapt to new present day demands.’

For access options of the full article, see:

http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/pdf/10.1080/20508840.2015.1133398.

About the journal:

‘The  Theory and Practice of Legislation aims to offer an international and interdisciplinary forum for the examination of legislation. The focus of the journal, which succeeds the former title  Legisprudence, remains with legislation in its broadest sense. Legislation is seen as both process and product, reflection of theoretical assumptions and a skill. The journal addresses formal legislation, and its alternatives (such as covenants, regulation by non-state actors etc.).

The editors welcome articles on systematic (as opposed to historical) issues, including drafting techniques, the introduction of open standards, evidence-based drafting, pre- and post-legislative scrutiny for effectiveness and efficiency, the utility and necessity of codification, IT in legislation, the legitimacy of legislation in view of fundamental principles and rights, law and language, and the link between legislator and judge. Comparative and interdisciplinary approaches are encouraged. But dogmatic descriptions of positive law are outside the scope of the journal. The journal offers a combination of themed issues and general issues.
All articles are submitted to double blind review.’

Presentation during Second National Conference of Christians in Political Science, Calvin College, Grand Rapids, MI (1999)

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About the Conference:

‘The Paul Henry Institute will host the second national conference of Christians in Political Science, June 17-20, 1999. Christian political scientists from the United States, Canada, the Netherlands, and Australia have already registered to attend the event. More than twenty different panels, each addressing different thematic issues, have been organized, with more than sixty papers being given by different scholars in the field. On Friday, June 18, the Rev. Richard John Neuhaus will deliver an address that will be open to the public.’

Source: http://henry.calvin.edu/dotAsset/182cb684-4848-4d40-8150-9476e78b335d.pdf.

About the Henry Institute:

‘The Paul B. Henry Institute for the Study of Christianity and Politics was created in 1997 to continue the work of integrating Christian faith and politics advanced by its namesake, educator and public servant Paul B. Henry.

The Institute is dedicated to providing resources for scholarship, encouraging citizen involvement and education, structuring opportunities to disseminate scholarly work, seeking avenues to communicate and promote information about Christianity and public life to the broader public, and motivating and training future scholars and leaders.’

About Christians in Political Science:

‘Christians in Political Science aims to encourage students of politics to integrate their Christian faith into their research and writing; stimulate and assist members to bring insights and perspectives from their faith to classroom teaching; and provide a forum for fellowship. We recognize that Christians of good faith may disagree about how Christianity should inform our professional, political, and other activities. Indeed, a major goal of CPS is to encourage discussion of these matters among believers from different traditions and with divergent views.’

My own presentation was entitled ‘The Fall of Christian Democracy in Europe’.

Contribution to volume on ‘Rethinking Europe’s Constitution’ (2007)

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‘The beginnings of this book go back to 2003 when the editor asked the contributors and several others to participate in an expert meeting on the Draft Treaty establishing a Constitution for Europe, which at that time had just been made public. Subsequently, all went to work and towards the end of 2004 most participants at the meeting had completed their contribution to the book. During the editing process, however, something happened which nobody – least of all the editor – had taken into consideration. In May and June 2005 – as we all know – the French and Dutch people rejected the Draft Treaty in a referendum, thus bringing the constitutional process to a sudden standstill.

The editor asked the contributors to revise their papers in such a manner that they would also answer the question:
• What should be the basic legal framework of institutions of the European Union in the near and not-so-near future? In other words: what would be essential constitutional elements of a modified Treaty establishing a Constitution for Europe? (Never mind whether it will be called a ‘Constitution’ or not.)

The result is the book you are holding in your hands. We hope that it will be of some use in thinking through the question that should be – but is not – on everyone’s mind because it is a question of invaluable importance for the future of Europe: What should become of the European Union?

All in all, you will find here a collection of eleven essays on various aspects of that question. For clarity’s sake, the essays are divided into four parts.
Part I is about what many constitutions, including the Draft Treaty, start with: the preamble. More specifically, it is about the issue, heavily contended in the recent discussion on the Draft Treaty, whether the preamble should contain any references to God or religion. Paul Cliteur’s essay on God and Religion in the Preamble of Constitutions starts off this book with a thorough discussion of this issue and defends a laicist constitution, radically separating state and church.

Part II comprises four essays, which, from very different perspectives, deal with the overall constitutional structure of the European Union. In his paper United we stand, divided we fall, a Case for the United States of Europe, Andreas Kinneging makes a case – as the title already leads us to suspect – for a United States of Europe, along the lines of the case made by the American Founding Fathers for a strong United States of America. Likewise, in his essay Europe of the 21st Century and the Fears and Formulae of the 18th and 19th Century, Paul De Hert also pleads for the creation of an American style federal state in Europe, but for very different reasons. He is mainly concerned with balancing the powers of the Union and of the national governments, in order to ensure the liberty of the individual. From this same perspective he also discusses and criticizes the Charter of Fundamental Rights. In the third contribution to the second part, in a paper entitled Pluralism and European Unification, Hans-Martien ten Napel explores what a pluralist Christian vision of a good European constitution looks like, and assesses the extent to which the Draft Treaty is consistent with this vision. He concludes that the demands of pluralism are insufficiently honoured. Sophie van Bijsterveld’s essay on Governance in the EU: Democratic Equality and the Separation of Powers concludes the second part. It looks at the developments in the European Union from the point of view of two principles which are also central to the US Constitution: the separation of powers and democracy, with regard to both formal and informal governance of Europe.

Part III subsequently singles out the principle of democracy for further discussion. Everybody knows that, traditionally, the democratic image of the decision-making processes in the European Union and its predecessors is rather questionable. Perhaps in order to counter that image, the framers of the Draft Treaty devoted a number of articles (44-51) explicitly to ‘The democratic life of the Union’. The question is of course whether this questionable image is justified to begin with, and if so, whether constitutional changes along the lines of the Draft Treaty would improve the situation and make the European Union more democratic. The two essays included in part III are rather pessimistic on both regards. In a paper aptly named The Aristocratic Surplus, Armin Cuyver gives an overview of the lack of democracy in the institutions of the European Union. In The Democratic Life in Europolis, Paul Nieuwenburg then follows up with a critique of the above-mentioned articles of the Draft Treaty, which he argues to be muddled and shallow.

Finally, in part IV, four authors discuss different aspects of the governance of the European Union. In his paper The Coming of Age of the European Legislator, Wim Voermans examines the various issues pertaining to the legislative power in Europe. He contends that, contrary to what is often believed, the European Parliament is now a full-blown legislative power, comparable to the national parliaments. In his contribution The President of the European Council as the Servant of the United States of Europe, John Sap focuses on the executive power. Carla Zoethout and Rick Lawson round off the book with essays on the position of the European Court of Justice and its case law. In her paper The Court and the Charter of Fundamental Rights, Zoethout focuses on the question how the European Court should interpret the Charter of Fundamental Rights. And in his paper In Search of Polaris: which Rights for the European Union, Lawson asks which human-rights standards the European Court should apply and how they should be applied.’

My own contribution is entitled: ‘Pluralism and European Unification’.  You can download it here: https://openaccess.leidenuniv.nl/bitstream/handle/1887/12437/Pluralism+and+European+Unification.pdf?sequence=4.

Order information of the volume as a whole:

http://www.wolfpublishers.com/book.php?id=282;

http://www.amazon.com/Rethinking-Europes-Constitution-Andreas-Kinneging/dp/9058502619.

Co-editor, Religion and Mass Electoral Behaviour in Europe (Routledge/ECPR Studies in European Political Science, 2000)

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‘The onset of a new millennium has given renewed impetus to the study of religion and its place in the secular world. Religion and Mass Electoral Behaviour in Europe is an innovative, cutting-edge study, which focuses on the question of whether – and how – religion continues to influence and shape electoral behaviour across Europe.

With exceptional detail, this book presents empirical data drawn from a range of country case studies to provide examples of different religious experiences and relationships.’

Order information:

http://www.amazon.com/Religion-Electoral-Behaviour-Routledge-Political/dp/0415201292;

http://www.tandf.net/books/details/9780415201292/.

Co-editor and co-author, Regulating Political Parties. European Democracies in Comparative Perspective (2014)

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‘Regulating Political Parties provides a novel and valuable contribution to the existing literature on political parties by discussing the various dimensions of party law and regulation, in Europe and other regions of the world. To what extent are political parties legitimate objects of state regulation? What are the dilemmas of regulating political finance? To what extent are parties accorded a formal constitutional status? What are the consequences of legal bans on political parties? How do legal arrangements affect parties representing ethnic minorities? These and related questions are discussed and examined from both theoretical and empirical perspectives. By bringing together international experts from the disciplines of law and political science, this volume thus addresses from an interdisciplinary and comparative point of view what has long been a notable lacuna in the study of political parties.’

The volume includes a chapter I co-authored with Jaco van den Brink, entitled ‘The SGP Case: Did it Really (Re)Launch the Debate on Party Regulation in the Netherlands?

Order information:

Leiden University Press: http://www.lup.nl/product/regulating-political-parties/;

The University of Chicago Press: http://press.uchicago.edu/ucp/books/book/distributed/R/bo20133500.html;

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Regulating-Political-Parties-Democracies-Comparative/dp/9087282184.

Contribution to Annual Comparative Law Work-in-Progress Workshop

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This weekend I will be participating in the above workshop, co-sponsored by Princeton University’s Program in Law and Public Affairs, the American Society of Comparative Law, the University of Illinois College of Law and the UCLA Law School.

I will be commenting on a paper on “Administrative Democracy in Europe: Expanding the ‘Public Space’ Through Stakeholder Participation in Regulatory Policymaking”.

See for more information on the program of the workshop: https://lapa.princeton.edu/content/annual-comparative-law-work-progress-workshop-0.

RELIGARE Conference on ‘Secularism and Religious Diversity in Europe: Opportunities and Perspectives, Leuven & Brussels, 4 – 5 December 2012

I am pleased to pass the invitation for the above conference on to anyone interested in this topic. I had the honor to make a contribution to one of the volumes produced in the course of this project (see http://hmtennapel.weblog.leidenuniv.nl/2012/08/06/a-test-of-faith-religious-diversity-and/). Speakers during the conference include Tore Lindholm (University of Oslo), Olivier Roy (European University Institute), Abdulla An-Na’im (Professor Emeritus, Emory University), José Casanova (Georgetown University) and Heiner Bielefeldt (UN Rapporteur on Freedom of Religion).

‘RELIGARE (‘Religious Diversity and Secular Models in Europe: Innovative Approaches to Law and Policy’) is a European research project funded by the Seventh Framework Programme for Research and Technological Development (FP7, 2007-2013) of the European Commission. It focuses on the coexistence and interactions of secular and religious values in contemporary Europe.

To mark the end of this 3 year project, a high level Conference will be organized on 4-5 of December 2012 to present the project’s results and recommendations. The event has been organized as follows:

4 December 2012 – Leuven (University of Leuven)
• Conference (9.00 a.m. – 6.30 p.m.):
Presentation of the research results by the project partners, accompanied by an in-depth analysis of scientific findings by invited academics and experts.
Venue: Tiensestraat 41, Law Faculty, 3000 Leuven – Auditorium Zeger Van Hee, Collegium Falconis.
• Evening debate (7.30.p.m. – 9.30 p.m.):
Featuring a panel discussion and a keynote speech by Herman Van Rompuy, President of the European Council.
Venue: Promotiezaal: Universiteitshal, Naamsestraat 22, B-3000 Leuven.

5 December 2012 – Brussels (Centre Albert Borchette, European Commission)
• Conference (9.00 a.m. to 5.30 p.m.): Day two focuses on the EU policy relevance of the RELIGARE results, and aims at stimulating discussion and feedback between researchers and EU policymakers.
Includes the participation of Mr. Lázló Surján, Vice-President of the European Parliament, who will deliver a Keynote Speech at 2 p.m.

Venue: Albert Borschette Conference Centre, 36 Rue Froissart, Brussels

(…)

The RELIGARE Steering Committee (on behalf of the RELIGARE project)

Prof. Marie-Claire Foblets, University of Leuven (Coordinator of the RELIGARE project)
Prof. Veit Bader, University of Amsterdam
Dr. Sergio Carrera, Centre for European Policy Studies
Prof. Silvio Ferrari, University of Milan
Prof. Francis Messner, National Centre for Scientific Research (PRISME-University of Strasbourg)
Prof. Jørgen Nielsen, University of Copenhagen
Prof. Mathias Rohe, University of Erlangen-Nürnberg
Dr. Prakash Shah, Queen Mary, University of London
Prof. Rik Torfs, University of Leuven’

You can access the full programme, and register for this event at http://religareproject.eu/content/religare-conference-secularism-and-religious-diversity-europe-opportunities-and-perspectives.

A Test of Faith? Religious Diversity and Accommodation in the European Workplace

Pleased to learn, upon my return from vacation, that the above book, edited by Katayoun Alidadi, Marie-Claire Foblets and Jogchum Vrielink, all at the Catholic University of Leuven, Belgium, is now available from Ashgate Publishing. The flyer of the book, to which I contributed a chapter entitled ‘Beyond Lautsi: An Alternative Approach to Limiting the Government’s Ability to Display Religious Symbols in the Public Workplace’, contains the following information: 

‘Religion and modernity meet in the European workplace. The implications are many and varied. The contributions to this timely volume are concerned with the legal dimensions of these encounters. They merit very careful scrutiny.’ – Grace Davie, University of Exeter, UK

‘Throughout Europe, religion in the workplace is perceived as self-evident in some contexts, and as hugely problematic in others. The increasing number of legal scholars and practitioners who confront this issue, will find in this book numerous pathways along which to form their own legal opinion, and to help shape the as yet undecided legal approaches in many European countries.’ – Eva Brems, Ghent University, Belgium

Issues of religious diversity in the workplace have become very topical and have been raised before domestic courts and the European Court of Human Rights. Examining the controversial and constantly evolving position of religion in the workplace, this collection brings together chapters by legal and social science scholars and provides a wealth of information on legal responses across Europe, Turkey and the United States to conflicts between professional and religious obligations involving employees and employers.

Contributors: Katayoun Alidadi, Marie-Claire Foblets, Jogchum Vrielink, Lucy Vickers, Saïla Ouald Chaib, Kristin Henrard, Hans-Martien ten Napel, Titia Loenen, Yves Stox, Mine Yildirim, Rim-Sarah Alouane, Efrat Tzadik, Gabrielle Caceres, Amandine Barb, Julie Ringelheim.

To order, please visit: www.ashgate.com. All online orders receive a discount. Alternatively, contact our distributor: Bookpoint Ltd, Ashgate Publishing Direct Sales, 130 Milton Park, Abingdon, Oxon, OX14 4SB, UK. Tel: +44 (0)1235 827730 Fax: +44 (0)1235 400454. Email: ashgate@bookpoint.co.uk.

August 2012, 382 pages, Hardback, 978-1-4094-4502-9, £75.00, www.ashgate.com/, isbn/9781409445029. Sample pages for published titles are available to view online at: www.ashgate.com

Contents: Introduction; Part I European Components of the Religion and Workplace Debate: Section I Religion, Workplace Accommodations and the Case Law of the European Court of Human Rights: Section II New Player Joining In: the European Union and Religious Discrimination: Part II Identity, Neutrality, Secularism: Case Studies and Comparative Perspectives: Section I Country Studies: Turkey, France and Belgium: Section II Comparative Perspectives In the Public and Private Workplace: Index.

Full contents listing is available on the website: http://www.ashgate.com/default.aspx?page=637&calctitle=1&pageSubject=501&title_id=11755&edition_id=15297 .’