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The curious tale of Roman emperors as judges

The first dynasty of Roman emperors, collectively known as the Julio-Claudians, knew how to make headlines. From the frequent accounts by contemporary and later writers of their use of torture, rape, and murder to the more recherché ways of humiliation and abuse such as seeking to appoint a horse as consul (as the historian Cassius Dio says of Caligula), there is little to suggest that the administration of justice was very high on their agenda.

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What is new about Roman law?

Aside from the field of history itself, few disciplines routinely reach out to texts dating back several millennia to reassess fundamental issues. Theology is one, for obvious reasons. Another is philosophy, where the texts of Plato or Aristotle, not to mention more obscure writers, routinely warrants attention. In legal scholarship, a similar foundational position is held by Roman law.

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Crimes without criminals

There are crimes without victims and crimes without criminals. Financial crime belongs to the second type, as responsibilities for crises, crashes, bubbles, misconduct, or even fraud, are difficult to establish. The historical process that led to the disappearance of offenders from the financial sphere is fascinating.

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Why the Logan Act should be repealed

Congress should repeal the Logan Act. Modern, globalized communications have destroyed any remaining rationale for this outdated law. The Logan Act today potentially criminalizes much routine (and constitutionally-protected) speech of US citizens. During the presidency of John Adams, Dr. George Logan, a private citizen, engaged in freelance diplomacy with the government of revolutionary France.

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President Trump: shortcuts with executive orders?

Every President is attracted by the idea of making public policy by unilaterally issuing an executive order — sounds easy and attractive. Get someone to draft it, add your signature, and out it goes. No need to spend time negotiating with lawmakers.

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Brexit and muddled thinking

When Sir Ivan Rogers stepped down in January as the UK’s top official in Brussels, he urged his colleagues to ‘continue to challenge ill-founded arguments and muddled thinking’ and not to be afraid ‘to speak the truth to those in power.’ The implication was clear. The government’s Brexit preparations displayed all these failings but the politicians responsible did not like having this pointed out.

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Mass incarceration and the perfect socio-economic storm

In nature, there are weather conditions, referred to as ‘perfect storms’, arising from a rare combination of adverse meteorological factors creating violent storms that significantly affect the socio-economic conditions of an area. Social scientists refer to similar adverse factors as cultural amplifier effects. Currently, there are approximately 2000 correctional and detention facilities in the US with over 450,000 employees.

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The future of US financial regulatory reform in the Trump era

Under the Trump Administration, many changes are in the air. Our prediction is that the post-financial crisis paradigm shift in financial regulation is here to stay. There will be a rebalancing of regulatory and supervisory goals away from a sole focus on financial stability to thinking about jobs and economic growth as well, but we do not expect to see a wholesale dismantling of the Dodd-Frank Act.

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Impact of domestic courts’ decisions on international law

The Distomo cases, the Urgenda Foundation v The Netherlands case, the Alien Tort Statute cases, and the Israeli targeted killings cases are among the most fascinating domestic cases on international law. But why should we care about domestic courts’ interpretation and application of international law?

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What is the role of the Environmental Protection Agency?

During his first official week in office, United States President Donald Trump is moving quickly on his to-do list for his first 100 days in office, proving that he plans on sticking to the promises that he made as a candidate. Earlier this week, the Trump administration ordered a media blackout at the Environmental Protection Agency and has instructed staff to temporarily suspend all new contracts and grant awards.

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Trump’s Twitter coliseum of torture

President-elect Donald Trump promised on multiple occasions during the campaign to bring back torture in order to “fight fire with fire.” As with some of his other campaign promises (draining the swamp of lobbyists, getting rid of Obamacare in its entirety), Trump may pivot away from torture as well. If Trump does what he says, however, we are entering a new chapter in the history of torture.

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President Trump and American constitutionalism

Citizens of the United States may be witnessing a constitutional crisis, a normal constitutional revolution or normal constitutional politics. Prominent commentators bemoan Donald Trump’s victory in the 2016 presidential election as the consequence of a breakdown of vital constitutional norms that augurs the destruction of constitutional governance in the United States.

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Direct democracy and the 2016 election cycle

In US general elections a great deal of attention, and much of the money, focuses on events at the national level. But a very great deal of electoral activity also occurs at the sub-national level, with elections for statehouses, governorships, and also initiatives and referendums. In the November 2016 election voters in 35 states were given the opportunity to vote on 154 statewide ballot measures.

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The Mental Capacity Act 2005: an opportune time to reflect

More than a decade has passed since the Mental Capacity Act (‘MCA’) received royal assent. Described as a ‘visionary piece of legislation’, the MCA was a significant landmark on the legal landscape. It represented a triumph of autonomy by recognising that, as far as possible, people should play an active role in decisions about their welfare.

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Human Trafficking Prevention Month: There are no “teen prostitutes”

January is Human Trafficking Prevention Month, declared each year since 2010 by presidential decree. However, there is still confusion as to what exactly human trafficking is. Despite seven years of raising awareness , on 21st November, the Washington Post published a story with the headline “Two teen prostitutes escaped through a bathroom window, and a sex ring began to unravel.”

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How President Reagan’s six assurances continue to shape US-Taiwan relations

When asked to describe the foundations of, many experts dutifully point to the three Joint Communiques of 1972, 1978, and 1982 and the Taiwan Relations Act of 1979 (TRA). Often overlooked are President Reagan’s Six Assurances to Taiwan, which were issued to the Republic of China (ROC) on Taiwan shortly after the Third Communique with China became public in 1982.

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