Oxford University Press's
Academic Insights for the Thinking World

  • Law

Legal scholarship and methodology in the era of big data

In a recent Financial Times article, the journalist and anthropologist Gillian Tett reflected on the significance of Cambridge Analytica’s (CA) work in relation to Donald Trump’s successful 2016 Presidential Campaign. While Hilary Clinton had run a campaign using what was understood as traditional ‘political’ data, CA had collected many thousands of data points on people, much of it amassed from their online consumer and social identities.

Read More

Constitutional resistance to executive power

In a blog post following the election of Donald J. Trump, Professor Mark A. Graber examined the new president’s cavalier attitude toward constitutional norms and predicted that, “[o]ver the next few years, Americans and constitutional observers are likely to learn whether the Framers in 1787 did indeed contrive ‘a machine that would go of itself’ or whether human intervention is necessary both to operate the constitution and compensate for systemic constitutional failures.”

Read More

Workplace bullying and the law

Is the law able to offer any assistance to victims of workplace bullying? Let me recite an example, which is all too commonplace. Daniel* worked in an office in local government in the UK. When he was bullied by his manager he didn’t even realise it at first. The conduct was subtle. He would be given more than his fair share of the unpopular tasks. Everything he did was criticised, not aggressively, but constantly.

Read More

The reign of law in international investment decision-making

The second Investment Claims Summer Academy took place on 6-7 July 2017 at Lady Margaret Hall and focused on the role of international law in international investment decision-making. The Summer Academy opened with a quote from Sir Hersch Lauterpacht’s 1933 The Function of Law in International the International Community:

Read More

Perpetual peace

In the fall of 1697, the great powers of Europe signed a series of peace treaties at Rijswijk [Ryswick], near The Hague, which ended the Nine Years’ War (1688–1697), in which France was opposed by a great coalition of the Holy Roman Emperor, Britain, the Dutch Republic, and Spain. In its first article, the peace treaty between Britain and France, signed on 20 September 1697 (21 CTS 409), stated that, henceforth, there would be ‘universal and perpetual peace’

Read More

Can marriage officers refuse to marry same-sex couples?

Freedom of religion and same-sex equality are not inherently incompatible. But sometimes they do seem to be on a collision course. This happens, for instance, when religiously devout marriage officers refuse to marry same-sex couples. In the wake of legal recognition of same-sex marriage around the world, states have grappled with civil servants who cannot reconcile their legal duties with their religious beliefs.

Read More

Time for international law to take the Internet seriously

Internet-related legal issues are still treated as fringe issues in both public and private international law. Anyone doubting this claim need only take a look at the tables of content from journals in those respective fields. However, approaching Internet-related legal issues in this manner is becoming increasingly untenable. Let us consider the following: Tech companies feature prominently on lists ranking the world’s most powerful companies.

Read More

The House Appropriations Committee and the Johnson Amendment

he Committee on Appropriations of the US House of Representatives, in a so-called rider to the pending federal budget bill, has proposed significant procedural restrictions on the IRS’s ability to enforce the Johnson Amendment. The Johnson Amendment is the provision of the Internal Revenue Code which prevents all tax-exempt institutions (including churches) from participating in political campaigns.

Read More

H is for History: making the case for studying environmental law history

In our ‘time of change’ – which in the United Kingdom largely revolves around Brexit but takes different forms elsewhere – it is important for environmental lawyers to think about history. How, though, are we to do so, given that history is the most underdeveloped area of socio-legal environmental law, with very little literature to guide the way?

Read More

How well could you manage a crime scene?

The role of a crime scene manager is one which is complex; it requires a wide range of forensic, policing, and practical knowledge. A crime scene manager must be well organised, observant, and meticulous to ensure that the processing of crime scenes follow rules.

Read More

Free speech and political stagflation

First Amendment Law is distorting public debate. We need the Supreme Court to do better. Public political debate in the United States seems to have run off the rails. The gulf between Republicans and Democrats in political opinions, views of the other party, and even factual beliefs keeps growing. Big money dominates the electoral process. Journalists and political dissenters face relentless hostility.

Read More

What do the people want?

It has become commonplace for Government departments at all levels to ask people for their views. It seems as if no new policy or legislative plan can be launched without an extensive period of consultation with all those who may be affected. The UK government’s website page for ‘Consultations’ lists 494 consultations published already this year out of a total of 3,796 since the decade began.

Read More

Why we still believe in the state

How do we explain the resilience of the modern state? State power, whether expressed by politicians, parliamentarians, policemen, or judges, seems to be routinely questioned. Yet, the state as an institution remains. The constitutional state is today the universal expression of power despite its constant questioning and its lack of ability to maintain a minimal order in large parts of the world.

Read More

The traps of social media: to ‘like’ or not to ‘like’

A recent Swiss case reported in the media has raised the spectre of criminal liability and/or defamation for merely ‘liking’ a 3rd party post on Facebook. Whilst this may have been the first time that this specific issue has come up in court it may not be the last! We are all already very aware of the trouble that can result from indulging in posts and tweets on line which may cause offence but until now merely ‘liking’ a post has not, to the author’s knowledge, given rise to any liability.

Read More

Taxing or exempting the church

Religious entities pay more taxes than many people believe. Moreover, churches and other religious organizations are treated quite diversely by different taxes and by different states. Sometimes churches and other religious entities are taxed in the same fashion as secular organizations and persons are.

Read More

Russia, sanctions, and the future of international law

The current geopolitical and military troubles between the West and the Russian Federation are simultaneously also international legal troubles. One of the interesting aspects of the Western sanctions against Russia since 2014 has been that Moscow has criticized them as ‘illegal’. There are two elements in Moscow’s unexpected argument. On the one hand, Moscow denies any wrongdoing, from international legal perspective, in Ukraine.

Read More