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Tuesday, 22 June 2021

Cambridge Faculty of Law Legal Studies Research Paper SeriesThe Faculty has published Volume 12 Number 6 of the University of Cambridge Faculty of Law Legal Studies Research Paper Series on SSRN.

This issue includes the following articles:

David Erdos: Comparing Constitutional Privacy and Data Protection Rights within the EU (21/2021)

Although both data protection and the right to privacy (or respect for private life) are recognised within the EU Charter, they are otherwise generally seen as having very different constitutional histories. The right of privacy is often seen as traditional and data protection as novel. Based on a comprehensive analysis of rights within EU State constitutions, it is found that this distinction is overdrawn. Only five current EU States recognised a constitutional right to privacy prior to 1990, although approximately three quarters and also the European Convention do so today. Subsidiary constitutional rights related to the home and correspondence but not honour and/or reputation are more long-standing and this helps link the core of privacy to the protection of intimacy. Constitutional rights to data protection emerged roughly contemporaneously and were often linked to a general right to privacy but are still only found in around half of EU States. There is also no clear consensus on specific guarantees, although around half of the States which recognise these do include rights to transparency and a slightly lower number right to rectification. This could suggest that data subject empowerment over a wide range of connected information is an important emerging particularity tied to data protection as a constitutional guarantee.

Eyal Benvenisti: The International Law of Prolonged Sieges and Blockades: Gaza as a Case Study (22/2021)

In 2007, after Hamas’ takeover of the Gaza Strip, the area was subjected to an Israeli land siege, complemented in 2009 by a sea blockade. Since then, the already-dire living conditions in the Strip have declined consistently and the area’s dependence on external aid has grown. Yet, there is no end in sight for either the siege or the blockade, or – by extension – for the inhumane circumstances of the Strip’s population. This essay examines the duties of a military power in imposing what is effectively a years-long confinement of people and outlines a general argument for expanding the obligations of a party that imposes a prolonged siege or blockade. I consider these obligations in light of three potentially relevant legal frameworks: the law of occupation; international humanitarian law; and human rights law. In this essay, I argue that, although Gaza is no longer occupied, Israel, in exercising prolonged siege and blockade, must respect a set of obligations that encompass much more than simply not starving the besieged population or not cutting off their water supply. Paying attention only to the basic, biological needs of the besieged population ignores their human dignity because it reduces – in the eyes of the blockader – human existence to the intake of food and water. The essay concludes that the law should be interpreted as demanding that the besieger respect a wider scope of rights – including, among others, the right to enter and exit the besieged area – and, while it may limit such rights, such limitations must be compatible with the requirements of proportionality, taking into account the human toll caused by the extraordinary yet long-term situation.

Federica Paddeu & Michael Waibel: Necessity 20 Years On: The Limits of Article 25 ARSIWA (23/2021)

Investment tribunals have fleshed out the requirements of the defence of necessity in Article 25 of the Articles on State Responsibility. This article considers the impact of necessity in international investment law and in general international law. The decided cases of the early 21st century have revealed three difficulties in Article 25 and in the defence of necessity. First, rather than assessing necessity from the vantage point of the State invoking necessity, they assess it ex post with hindsight bias. Second, the standard of proof required to demonstrate the existence of a grave and imminent peril is infeasible for many situations of risk and uncertainty. Third, the ‘only way’ criterion is not only unduly strict and virtually impossible to prove, but is wholly unrealistic for macro-level crises, such as pandemics or financial crises. To account for these difficulties, tribunals should avoid hindsight bias, especially with respect to ‘grave and imminent peril’ and the ‘only way’ criterion. The defence of necessity is a blunt instrument and has not afforded States a significant ‘safety valve’. As a result, States have begun to reconsider the substantive standards in investment treaties and to include internal exceptions in their investment treaties.

Surabhi Ranganathan: The 'English School' of International Law: Soundings via the 1972 Jubilee Essays (24/2021)

As part of the Cambridge Law Journal’s centenary celebrations, this article reads two essays on the law of the sea from the journal’s 50th anniversary issue. The essays, by Cambridge professors Robert Jennings and Derek Bowett offer resources for the history of international law and its historiography. They shine a light on key debates on the law of the sea at a crucial moment of its development. A close reading of these essays also reveals starting points for new scrutiny of an ‘English tradition’ of international law, including its relation to empire and capitalism.


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