Animal Rights and Buddhism

From a Buddhist perspective, it seems to me the tricky part of this question is not "animals," but "rights." The concept of rights developed in western civilization over many centuries and came to fruition during the 17th century or so, in the work of Enlightenment philosophers such as John Locke.  But there was no such concept in the world 25 centuries ago, during the time of the Buddha.

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Legal Theory Lexicon: Welfare, Well-Being, and Happines

Normative legal theory is concerned with the ends and justifications for the law as a whole and for particular legal rules.  Previous entries in the legal have examined exemplars of the three great traditions in normative theory–consequentialist, deontological, and aretaic (or virtue-centered) perspectives.  There are important differences between these three families of theories at a very general and abstract level: for example, deontologists emphasize rights and wrongs while consequentialists emphasize the goodness or badness of states of affairs.  And there are differences between particular theories within the broad families: within consequentialism, for example, welfarists emphasize preference satisfaction, whereas hedonistic utiliarians emphasize pleasure and pain.

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Book Review: ‘Public Interest Litigation in India: A Renaissance in Social Justice’ by Mamta Rao

This book gives a brief description on the past, present and future of the public interest cases in India and abroad. It proves to be an excellent guide to the law students especially at beginning of their studies. Author Dr. Mamta Rao is currently a lecturer of Durgawati University, Jabalpur. She is eminent author who has written a number of law related books for basic and advanced studies in law.

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Russia: Investigate Beating of Human Rights Lawyer

The lawyer, 31-year-old Sapiyat Magomedova, represents victims of human rights abuses, including taking their cases to the European Court of Human Rights. Her colleagues at Omarov and Partners, the law firm she works for in Khasavyurt, Dagestan's second largest city, told Human Rights Watch that police officers beat Magomedova unconscious on the premises of the Khasavyurt police department on June 17, 2010.

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Legal Theory Lexicon: Path Dependency

The phrase "path dependency" is used to express the idea that history matters–choices made in the past can affect the feasibility (possibility or cost) of choices made in the future.  This entry in the Legal Theory Lexicon introduces this idea to law students, especially first-year law students, with an interest in legal theory.

The General Idea of "Path Dependency"  

The general idea of path dependency is that prior decisions constrain (or expand) the subsequent range of possible or feasible choices.  That is, a decision, d, made at tmay affect the choice set, S = (c1, c2, . . . cn) at t2.  We can define a choice set as a set of actions that a given agent could take.  Or to expand the path metaphor, if we imagine a network of paths through time, from past to future, decisions to branch at an earlier point on the chosen path may affect the destinations that one can reach from a later point on the path.  Sometimes, if we choose the left fork, we may be able to reach exactly the same destinations we could have reached via the right fork, but sometimes, our choices foreclose some possibilities altogether.  It isn’t always the case that in the long run, there’s still time to change the road you’re on.

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Legal Theory Lexicon: Efficiency, Pareto, and Kaldor-Hicks

Almost every law student get's some introduction to normative law and economics in their first year of law school.  One of the basic ideas of normative law and economics is that the law should be "efficient."  But what does efficiency mean?  For economists, "efficiency" is a technical idea–with only a tangential connection to the use of "efficiency" in ordinary speech.  In order to understand economic efficiency, we will look at what are called the Pareto principles and a related idea that is sometimes called Kaldor-Hicks efficiency.

In addition to explicating the idea of efficiency, we will take a qucik look at some of the criticisms that might be made of this concept.  Although many economists operate on the assumption that "efficiency" is an uncontroversial good, that conclusion is controversial both inside and outside of the discipline of economics.

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Legal Theory Lexicon: The Law Is A Seamless Web

F.W. Maitland, the famous legal historian wrote, “Such is the unity of all history that any one who endeavors to tell a piece of it must feel that his first sentence tears a seamless web.”  (A Prologue to a History of English Law, 14 L. Qtrly Rev. 13 (1898))  Maitland didn't actually say that the "law is a seamless web," but he is usually given credit for the idea that the law forms some kind of "organic unity" or is characterized by strong interconnections.  The idea that law is seamless web is ambiguous–the aphorism expresses different ideas on different occasions.  This post in the Legal Theory Lexicon series will explicate the seamless web metaphor and its several implications for legal theory.

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Legal Theory Lexicon: Contractarianism, Contractualism, and the Social Contract

Some of the key conceptual tools deployed by legal theorists are likely to be familiar to most law students from their undergraduate education.  One of these is the notion of the "social contract"–familiar from Hobbes, Locke, and Rousseau.  But unless you were an undergraduate philosophy major or have some graduate work in philosophy, you may not be as familiar with some of the ideas that have grown out of the social-contract tradition.

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A Theory Of Legal Argumentation

    What is to be understood by 'rational legal argument'? To what extent can legal reasoning be rational? Is the demand for rationality in legal affairs justified? And what are the criteria of rationality in legal reasoning? The answer to these questions is not only of interest to legal theorists and philosophers of law. They are pressing issues for practicing lawyers, and a matter of concern for every citizen active in the public arena. Not only the standing of academic law as a scientific discipline, but also the legitimacy of judicial decisions depends on the possibility of rational legal argumentation. 

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International Law

On 17 December 2009, the Rome I Regulation (EU Regulation 593/2008) on the law applicable to contractual obligations comes into force and will be directly applicable in all EU Member States with the exception of Denmark. When we last reported on the draft Regulation, the UK was still considering whether to opt in. It decided to do so and a statutory instrument, The Law Applicable to Contractual Obligations (England and Wales and Northern Ireland) Regulations, adopting the EU Regulation into national law, will also come into force on 17 December. This will replace the Contracts (Applicable Law) Act 1990, which will then only apply to contracts concluded before 17 December 2009.

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Abolishing death penalty

The death penalty is the ultimate denial of human rights. It is the premeditated and cold-blooded killing of a human being by the state. This cruel, inhuman and degrading punishment is done in the name of justice.

It violates the right to life as proclaimed in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

Amnesty International opposes the death penalty in all cases without exception regardless of the nature of the crime, the characteristics of the offender, or the method used by the state to kill the prisoner.

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What legislation covers discrimination on the grounds of religion or belief in the UK?

The principal legislation governing discrimination on the grounds of religion or belief in the UK is:

  • Race Relations Act 1976
  • Employment Rights Act 1996 (especially sections 45 and 101 which protect shop and betting workers who do not wish to work on Sundays)
  • Independent Schools (Employment of Teachers in Schools with a Religious Character) Regulations 2003 (SI 2003/2037)
  • The Employment Equality (Religion or Belief) Regulations 2003 (SI 2003/1660) – these apply across England, Scotland and Wales
  • The Employment Equality (Religion or Belief) (Amendment) Regulations 2004 (SI 2004/437)
  • Equality Act 2006.

Most employment claims involving religion are brought under The Employment Equality (Religion or Belief) Regulations 2003 which came into force on 2 December 2003 and have already been amended and will be consolidated into a single Act if the Equality Bill comes into force. See question below on future developments.

These Regulations implement the religious discrimination aspects of EC Equal Treatment Framework Directive (2000/78/EC). In addition, the following aspects of the European Human Rights Convention are relevant and will be relied on by some employees:

  • Article 9 – guarantees freedom of thought, conscience and religion
  • Article 14 – provides that rights and freedoms shall be secured without discrimination on any ground such as sex, race, colour, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, association with a national minority, property, birth or other status.

Legislation primarily applying outside employment includes:

  • Part 2 of the Equality Act 2006 which came into force on 30 April 2007 now provides protection against religion or belief discrimination in the wider area of the provision of goods, facilities, premises and the exercise of public functions.
  • The Employment Equality (Sexual Orientation) (Religion or Belief) (Amendment) Regulations 2007 (SI 2007/1263) – makes minor amendments to the provisions in the 2003 Regulations dealing with discrimination by qualifications bodies and providers of vocational training. The Regulations came into force on 14 September 2007.
CIPD Resources

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The Fairer Sex-What do we mean when we say we need more female justices?

Sandra Day O'Connor. Click image to expand.Former Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor It's almost an article of faith among Supreme Court watchers that President Obama will fill the bench's next vacancy—and perhaps the one after that, too—with a woman. The current court's sole female member, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, has said she is "lonely" there, and even if she's not the next to step aside and another women joins her, that's still just two out of nine. Americans seem quite certain that isn't enough. Former Justice Sandra Day O'Connor, on learning in 2005 that John Roberts would take her place, declared him "good in every way, except he's not a woman." Americans concur. In a CNN/USA Today/Gallup poll taken just before Roberts was appointed, 80 percent of respondents said it was a good idea to replace O'Connor with a woman, and 13 percent said it was "essential." And with women claiming a large share of responsibility for Obama's victory over John McCain, the demand for a more gender-balanced court is stronger than ever.

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Future developments expected in the area of tribunal claims, settlement and compromise in UK

Employers and employees will be encouraged to resolve disciplinary and grievance issues themselves, using a third party (for example a mediator or an arbitrator) to help resolve the problem, ending up in an employment tribunal as a very last resort. The revised Acas code of practice on disciplinary and grievance procedures will become even more important as failure to follow its provisions may lead to a 25 per cent reduction or increase in compensation.

Other changes under the Employment Act 2008

Other changes resulting from the Employment Act 2008 include:

   * technical matters relating to the appointment of the President of the Tribunals and lay members,
   * removing employment judges’ discretion not to issue a default judgment in certain circumstances,
   * providing that, where electronic communications are used in hearings, and oral evidence is given, the public must be able to see and hear all parties to the communication,
   * clarifying provisions on the withdrawal and dismissal of proceedings,
   * automatic dismissal of proceedings where the parties to an Acas settlement have confirmed in writing their understanding that the proceedings covered by the settlement will be dismissed and the claimant has withdrawn the claim,
   * enabling an employment judge to review certain default judgments on his own initiative,
   * enabling an employment judge sitting alone to hear Stage 1 Equal Pay claims based on equal value.

Compromise Agreements

No major developments are expected in the area of compromise agreements. Any further changes are likely to occur on a piecemeal basis by way of case law.

Tribunal system

Further legislation governing tribunals generally (not just employment tribunals ) are already underway. Some aspects of The Tribunals, Courts and Enforcement Act 2007 come into force in April 2009 and some are already in force. Although the main provisions of the Act do not directly affect the employment tribunal system, the following changes may be of interest:

   * Unification of tribunals under a single organisation with a simplified structure of two tiers and the creation of the post of Senior President which will provide the tribunals judiciary with clear leadership and a single voice.
   * Creation of a hierarchy of two new tribunals, the First-tier Tribunal which will be a superior court of record and generally will have appellate functions, and the Upper Tribunal. The First Tier and Upper Tribunal system will start on 3 November 2008 for tribunals dealing with such matters as social entitlement, health, education and social care, taxation and land, property and housing. The new system does not directly concern employment tribunals and the Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT)which will be separate from the First Tier and Upper Tribunal respectively although there will be close links between them.
   * Abolition of the current requirement for a tribunal award to be registered in the County Court (or High Court) if it has to be enforced.
   * Renamed employment tribunal chairmen employment judges.


Other possible future developments in the courts and tribunal system generally may result from   EC Directive (2008/52/EC) on mediation in civil and commercial disputes. The Directive requires all Member States to simplify and improve access to justice by promoting mediation as a method of settling disputes. The Directive must be implemented by 21 May 2011. Radical changes resulting from the Directive are unlikely in UK employment matters for a number of reasons:

   * There is already an increasing emphasis on mediation in the UK which pre-dates the Directive.
   * The measures apply to cross border disputes (however, there is nothing to prevent a Member State choosing to apply provisions internally).
   * The Directive should apply in civil and commercial matters and not to 'rights and obligations on which the parties are not free to decide themselves under the relevant applicable law'. Such rights and obligations are particularly frequent in family law and employment law.

From CIPD Sources

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