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ESIL Annual Conference: the responses of international law

In preparation for the European Society of International Law (ESIL) 13th Annual Conference, we asked some of our authors to reflect on this year’s conference theme ‘Global Public Goods, Global Commons and Fundamental Values: The Responses of International Law’. How should international law respond to the fundamental challenge of defining and regulating global public goods, global commons, and fundamental values?

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How private are your prescription records?

Urgent public health crises generate pressures for access to information to protect the public’s health. Identifying patients with contagious conditions and tracing their contacts may seem imperative for serious diseases such as Ebola or SARS. But pressures for information reach far more broadly than the threat of deadly contagion. Such is the situation with the opioid epidemic, at least in Utah,

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Is advocating suicide a crime under the First Amendment?

Two different cases raising similar issues about advocating suicide may shape US policy for years to come. In Massachusetts, Michelle Carter was sentenced to two and a half years in prison for urging her friend Conrad Roy not to abandon his plan to kill himself by inhaling carbon monoxide: “Get back in that car!” she texted, and he did. The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court has already ruled that prosecuting her for involuntary manslaughter was permissible

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Combatting the spread of anti-vaccination sentiment

Vaccines are one of humanity’s greatest achievements. Credited with saving millions of lives each year from diseases like smallpox, measles, diphtheria, and polio, one would expect vaccines to be enthusiastically celebrated or, at the very least, widely embraced. Why is it, then, that we are witnessing the widespread proliferation of anti-vaccination sentiment?

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The ultimate quiz on environmental law and climate change

Climate change is one of the most controversial issues facing society today. The withdrawal of the United States from the Paris Agreement on Climate Change marked a pivotal point for the fight against environmental destruction. Barack Obama, 44th President of the United States, stated, “There’s one issue that will define the contours of this century more dramatically than any other, and that is the urgent threat of a changing climate.”

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Is there a right to report a disease outbreak?

Recently the World Health Organization’s (WHO) Health Systems and Innovation Cluster released its WHO Guidelines on Ethical Issues in Public Health Surveillance. This report was the first attempt to develop a framework to guide public health surveillance systems on the conduct of surveillance and reporting in public health emergencies. The guidelines are described as a ‘starting point for the searching, sustained discussions that public health surveillance demands’.

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Is memory-decoding technology coming to the courtroom?

“What happened?” This is the first question a police officer will ask upon arriving at a crime scene. The answer to this simple question—What happened?—will determine the course of the criminal investigation. This same question will be asked by attorneys to witnesses on the stand if the case goes to trial.

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The power of vision in the age of climate change

Helen Keller once said, “The only thing worse than being blind is having sight but no vision.” The sustainability revolution is unstoppable. Signs are everywhere; policy makers and the private sector are veering towards a decarbonized development model. The adoption of the Paris Agreement on Climate Change on December 2015 marked the political turning point.

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Ecosystem-based mitigation and adaptation

Payments for ecosystem services (PES), also known as payments for environmental services (or benefits), are incentives offered to farmers or landowners in compensation for proper land-management that provides ecological services. Among these benefits we can mention conserving animal and plant species, protecting hydric resources, conserving natural scenery, and storing carbon.

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DNA testing for immigration and family reunification?

Family reunification is one of the main forms of immigration in many countries. However, in recent times, immigration has become increasingly regulated with many countries encouraging stricter vetting measures. In this climate, countries’ laws and policies applicable to family reunification seek a balance between an individual’s right to a family life and a country’s right to control the influx of immigrants.

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Richard Susskind on the future of law

In the latest episode of the Oxford Law Vox podcast Richard Susskind talks to George Miller about the gaining momentum of technology and AI in the law profession. They discuss just how vital it is that lawyers learn to reinvent themselves and work alongside technology. He also address the importance of the opportunity young lawyers have to bring about and be a major part of social change in the legal profession.

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Why the Supreme Court should overrule Quill

In ‘Quill Corporation v. North Dakota’, the US Supreme Court held that, under the dormant Commerce Clause of the US Constitution, the states cannot require out-of-state vendors to collect sales taxes because such vendors lack physical presence in the taxing state. As internet commerce has grown, Quill’s physical presence test has severely hampered the states’ ability to enforce their sales taxes since the states cannot obligate out-of-state internet firms to collect the taxes attributable to their respective sales.

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What Norway might tell us about Venezuela’s economic crisis

It is common to blame Venezuela’s current crisis on the price of oil. Despite sitting atop the world’s largest proven oil reserves, the Venezuelan economy is in a shambles and the country is gripped by chaos. When the price of oil fell precipitously in 2014, so too did Venezuela’s access to foreign exchange. Without this money, Venezuela has been unable to buoy the country’s national oil company and the social programs and food subsidies that support the sitting government.

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Historical narratives and international tribunals

This post focuses on the role of non-criminal international tribunals in the development of collective memories: is it desirable for such tribunals to be involved in the construction of collective memories? International tribunals have not adopted a consistent approach concerning the presentation of the historical narrative in the background of the judgment.

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What Mubarak’s acquittal means for Egypt

On 13 March 2017, the legal saga of the trial of Hosni Mubarak ended. The deposed autocrat, who was convicted and sentenced to life in prison for his complicity in the killing of hundreds of demonstrators and embezzlement on a grander scale, was acquitted by Egypt’s Court of Cassation and freed from his detention. “The trial of the century”, as Egyptians have dubbed Mubarak’s prosecution.

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Brexit: what happens to international litigation?

At the present time, a large range of civil proceedings, especially in the commercial area, are governed by an EU measure, the Brussels I Regulation (Recast) of 2012. This applies whenever the defendant is domiciled in another EU country, whenever there is a choice-of-court agreement designating a court in the EU, and whenever an EU Member State has exclusive jurisdiction over a particular matter, for example title to land or registered intellectual-property rights.

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