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Laura Nader

With the end of European empires and formal decolonization after the Second World War, more than 50 states with new names, borders, and government apparatus appeared on the scene. The state as a European idea did not matter at the time, although it matters a great deal in consideration of the question: Whose comparative law? States may be called nation-states when in actual fact they are centralized states encompassing a variety of nations, all operating under the rule of law. It is time for changes to the paradigms in comparative law studies, that are more inclusive.

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Mindie Lazarus-Black

This chapter illuminates the experiences of international attorneys who are traveling to the US to seek an LL.M. degree, the equivalent of a master’s degree in law. Following theorists Simmel (1908) and Schuetz (1944), I argue that international LL.M. students’ positions as “strangers” make them acute observers of US law, the students and faculty they encounter, the legal education they have chosen to pursue, and the ways in which US law constructs, and is constructed by, the wider social order. My work differs from Simmel and Schuetz, however, in that I give concrete voice to the strangers I am studying. In contrast to most studies of legal education, these students are already lawyers, almost all of them were trained first in a civil rather than a common law tradition, and most of them were learning US law in a second language. Their success, therefore, requires that they master different rules for speaking and maintaining silence, other methods of legal reasoning and other rules of procedures. As strangers, they must “undo” what they previously understood to be thinking like a lawyer so that they can think like a US lawyer. I also use the case of transnational lawyers to “de-familiarize” the law school experience, using a mode of inquiry that Marcus and Fischer (1999) identified as “anthropology as cultural critique.” My subjects of inquiry are thus both “them” – foreign lawyers in US law schools – and “us,” often punctuated in their eyes as “US.”

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Conor Quigley

This chapter describes the application of State aid rules to the United Kingdom during the financial crisis. It considers the schemes granted through bank recapitalization, the wholesale funding guarantee scheme, short-term liquidity measures, and a working capital guarantee scheme or asset-backed securities scheme. It also describes individual aid granted by the UK State to Northern Rock, Bradford & Bingley, Dunfermline Building Society, Royal Bank of Scotland and Lloyds Banking Group.

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Upendra D. Acharya

The Tharu people of Nepal are an indigenous people who have been exploited for their labor and for other more sinister purposes throughout the history of Nepal. The result has been a bonded labor (Kamaiya) system. Nepal’s merely technical or formal legal attempt to eradicate the system has been insufficient to address the problem. Instead, this perplexing social issue requires a comprehensive approach rooted in both anthropological and legal insights transcending legal formalism. So far, the challenges inherent in the social, cultural, economic, political and legal systems have not been particularly helpful in resolving a problem of labor structure that was created and facilitated by the class/caste system. It is unclear whether post-Kamaiya Nepal’s efforts to reconstruct its culture through social, political and legal movements will bring a constructive culture that not only is alive, dynamic and inclusive, but also fulfills a specific function in integrating Kamaiyas socially, economically and politically.

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Jorge Sánchez Cordero

Maize is deeply rooted in Mexican culture and has a national heritage that frames both biological and cultural bases. Maize is planted in a diverse range of climates and is one of the primary components of the Mexican population’s diet; it allows peasant farmers and indigenous communities to be self-sufficient. Recently, maize and other agricultural products have been challenged by the rise in the use of genetically modified organisms (GMOs). This has led to a legal and cultural battle throughout Mexico, and has produced social tensions and potential turmoil. Two mutually exclusive cultural approaches are evident; one envisages the maize seed as a commodity with its different derivations, while the other perceives it as a layer of both knowledge and traditions, which have a distinctive link with the Earth.

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Edited by François-Charles Laprévote, Joanna Gray and Francesco De Cecco

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Edited by François-Charles Laprévote, Joanna Gray and Francesco De Cecco

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François-Charles Laprévote and Florine Coupé

In the early days of the financial crisis, the Commission’s review of State aid granted to banks in order to remedy serious threats to a national economy was still in its infancy. However, the length and intensity of the crisis resulted in a tailored-made and detailed ‘Crisis Framework’. This chapter outlines the various measures used by Member States to support their banks facing financial difficulties, e.g., recapitalization, impaired assets measures, guarantees, and liquidity measures. This chapter also describes the applicable texts, the emblematic cases, and the Commission’s assessment of the main legal issues for each type of measure.

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Bart P.M. Joosen

This chapter discusses State aid to the Dutch financial sector, highlighting the most significant case of 2008. The banking consortium bidding to acquire ABN AMRO was subject to material constraints caused by the financial crisis. When one of the consortium members, the Belgian-Dutch conglomerate Fortis, was unable to complete the transaction due to a shortage of financing, this caused an immediate and severe crisis within ABN AMRO. Given the potentially severe consequences of that bank’s collapse on the Dutch economy, the government provided emergency liquidity assistance, nationalizing parts of the bank and becoming the new shareholder. The European Commission assessed compliance of that assistance with the prevailing State aid rules. The discussion of the ABN AMRO case demonstrates that State aid is permitted in exceptional circumstances, to remedy a serious disturbance in the economy of a Member State, albeit with limitations and strict conditions.

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Claire Froitzheim

French banks proved relatively resilient to the crisis. Their diversified model made their losses generally manageable, with the exceptions of Dexia and Crédit Immobilier de France, which ultimately had to be placed in resolution. However, the crisis revealed some of their weaknesses and led to targeted intervention by the State, including financial support schemes – through the creation of the Société de Financement de l’Économie Française and the Société de prise de participation de l’Etat – and individual measures. France also strengthened its oversight framework with the creation of the Autorité de Contrôle prudentiel and of the Conseil de Régulation Financière du Risque Systémique. This set of measures contributed to avoiding any major bankruptcy and maintaining funding to the real economy.