Saving Italian chocolate companies – and reforming Italian law

Eugenio Vaccari, lecturer at the University of Essex School of Law, has written for The Conversation on the problems of Italian chocolate company, Pernigotti, and how Italy’s approach to corporate rescue hurts the country.

Cases like Pernigotti, Ilva and Alitalia have become all too common in a country (Italy) whose industries often struggle to successfully compete, particularly with developing countries. And in spite of jobs being saved at Ilva, they also reveal serious problems with Italy’s approach to rescuing companies. It is a major drag on the economy, and desperately needs to be reformed.

Feminist Scholarship on International Law in the 1990s And Today: An Inter‑Generational Conversation

Hilary Charlesworth (University of Melbourne), Gina Heathcote (SOAS), Emily Jones (University of Essex)

(Full text of the article)

The world of international relations and law is constantly changing. There is a risk of the systematic undermining of international organisations and law over the next years. Feminist approaches to international law will need to adapt accordingly, to ensure that they continue to challenge inequalities, and serve as an important and critical voice in international law. This article seeks to tell the story of feminist perspectives on international law from the early 1990s till today through a discussion between three generations of feminist international legal scholars: Hilary Charlesworth, who, with her colleagues, contributed to the area in the immediate post-Cold War years, Gina Heathcote, who over the past decade has published extensively on feminist perspectives on the use of force and collective security, and Emily Jones, an early career scholar working on feminist approaches to international law.

The conversation, which began as a Skype discussion, considers both the ways in which feminist approaches to international law have changed over the past two decades, as well as the ways in which they have been shaped by global politics, before turning to consider the future for feminist approaches to international law. The impact of feminist approaches to international law has been considerable. However, it seems that feminist approaches still lack legitimacy and credibility in many mainstream circles, remaining on the disciplinary periphery. Charlesworth, Heathcote and Jones discuss potential ways in which to manage some of these tensions, noting both the importance of ‘speaking to ourselves’ (Charlesworth in Feminist perspectives on contemporary International Law: Between resistance and compliance? Hart, Oxford, pp. 17–32, 2011) as a creative and nurturing space, as well as the need to be seen as a more credible voice in the mainstream. They note the need, too, for further feminist work beyond the realms of sexual violence and women’s representation. While the great amount of work in this area is, indeed, foundational, having achieved many important legal and political outcomes, feminist approaches should now develop beyond these areas.

Doing so will not only propel this area of scholarship in new and exciting directions, but it might help feminist scholarship gain further traction by avoiding categorisation only under the umbrella of “women’s issues” and thus ready dismissal as just another specialist area of international law in the era of fragmentation.




Extradition law research

Extradition law researchers at the University of Essex include Professor Geoff Gilbert.

His most recent publication in the area is ‘Undesirable but Unreturnable – Extradition and other forms of Rendition‘, published in the Journal of International Criminal Justice in 2016. It concerns the fight against international crimes, considering how extradition and other forms of rendition might be utilized to rid a state of an undesirable alien, particularly one who is excluded from refugee status, whether that be to the International Criminal Court or, more likely, to another state with jurisdiction. The text is available here – for those who can log in to  the Essex Research Repository.

Rule of Law in the EU

The issue of the rule of law within the EU is timely, given current disputes regarding Spain/Catalonia, Hungary and Poland. A new book by Theodore Konstandinides – a Senior Lecturer in the Law Department at the University of Essex – looks at the internal dimension of the concept of the rule of law within the EU.

The book argues that the preservation of the values underpinning the rule of law (such as legality, legal certainty, prohibition of arbitrariness, respect for fundamental rights) is essential to the success of EU integration. However, the idea of the EU rule of law often faces criticism: it is only window dressing for the EU to obtain new powers, and does little to constrain EU institutions or Member States in practice.

Does the EU rule of law deserve those criticisms? The book answers that question first of all by setting out an analytical guide to the EU rule of law. It also asks if the EU is based on the rule of law – taking account of the degree of compliance and the overall effectiveness of the EU enforcement acquis.