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Volume 10:2 (2014)
The Role of Substantive Equality in Finding Sustainable Development Pathways in South Africa
Abstract: This article explores how substantive equality, as it has been applied to the realization of socio-economic rights in South Africa, can be employed to shift the sustainable development paradigm from environmentalism to poverty eradication. Making this shift requires alternative pathways that counter the dominant sustainable development discourse. This article discusses how to open up such alternatives by applying the legal rhetoric of substantive equality to issues of sustainable development as presented in cases of socio-economic rights dependent on ecosystem goods and services, referred to here as “socio-ecological rights”. Under the conditions of natural resource scarcity that are projected in the medium- to long-term, it is important to understand the principles governing our resource allocating institutions. Substantive equality provides a useful context in which to start incorporating global environmental discourse on distributive justice into domestic legal frameworks that recognize sustainable development as both environmental stewardship and social justice.
Tax Transparency and the Marketplace: A Pathway to State Sustainability
Abstract: This article advances the argument that market participants, increasingly concerned about the sustainability of the social benefits and opportunities derived from the state, are interested in how companies contribute to society via taxation. The article advocates that companies should disclose their tax returns for each jurisdiction in which they operate, in order to give market participants a tool to better understand a company’s comprehensive economic contribution to society. It then investigates how more diffuse measurements based on externality assessment could be used to “score” a company’s contribution to society, and how such scoring could affect both the markets and tax policy. The article concludes by reiterating aspirations for tax transparency, and by advocating for a new state-business tax paradigm in order to ensure the continued viability of the state as a provider of social goods.
L’effectivité de l’urbanisme à l’épreuve de la transition énergétique en France
Félix François Lissouck
Abstract: The global environmental crisis, and the energy crisis in particular, has been brought to the forefront by social activists, non-governmental organizations, and most recently, by state governments. To address this crisis, France has adopted measures that will enable urban planning laws to promote the transition to renewable energy. The nature of this energy transition must be considered within the framework of urban planning laws. Whereas the flexibility of urban planning law has allowed it to take concerns about the energy transition into account, the effectiveness of these laws in promoting the energy transition has been limited. This article considers the theoretical challenge posed by the energy transition in order to determine how urban planning laws can help facilitate it.
The Canada—FIT Case and the WTO Subsidies Agreement: Failed Fact-Finding, Needless Complexity, and Missed Judicial Economy
Abstract: On May 6, 2013, the Appellate Body of the World Trade Organization (WTO) made public its decision in the Canada—Feed-in Tariff Program case. The multitude of observers anticipated a watershed decision regarding renewable energy generation and the application of world trade law to its subsidization. Unfortunately, both the WTO Panel and the Appellate Body irked this constituency with their failure to come to a decisive conclusion under the WTO Agreement on Subsidies and Countervailing Measures (SCM Agreement). This comment traces this indecisiveness back to an unwarranted complication of the test for demonstrating the existence of a benefit under Article 1.1(b) of the SCM Agreement and to fact-finding failures on the part of the WTO Panel. It will conclude by asking why neither the Panel nor the Appellate Body invoked judicial economy to forego their inconclusive analyses under the SCM Agreement after having found a violation under the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade 1994 and the WTO Agreement on Trade-Related Investment Measures.
Book Review: Assessing and Restoring Natural Resources in Post-Conflict Peacebuilding (New York: Earthscan, 2012)