Wednesday, 22 December 2021

Constitutional Development Of The European Communities

(Paper on Constitutional Development of the European Communities by Edward A.C. Goodman, January 1982).

On April 18, 1952 at Paris, the heads of state and foreign ministers of Belgium, France, Italy, the Netherlands and West Germany signed the treaty establishing the European Coal and Steel Community (E.C.S.C.). On March 25, 1957 at Rome, they signed the treaties establishing the European Economic Community (E.E.C. or Euratom). On April 8, 1965 at Brussels, they signed a treaty merging the institutions of the three European Communities. In 1973, Denmark, the Republic of Ireland and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland joined the European Communities. In 1981, Greece also adhered thereby increasing the number of member states to ten. It is anticipated that another countries, namely Portugal and Spain will join in the near future, and that Turkey will do so in the distant future.

Like all modern constitutions, that of the European Communities provides for an executive, a legislative, and a judiciary. The legislative consists of the Council of Ministers made up of one minister from each member state, each of whom has the right to vote. The chairmanship rotates every six months. The Council has a permanent secretariat at Brussels, but only meets there for nine months of the year, convening at Luxembourg for the remaining three. It holds approximately twenty sessions a year, each lasting about two days. These are held in secret, and no public minutes are published.

The Council of Ministers is assisted in performing its legislative functions by the European Parliament. However, it is a parliament in name only, having very limited powers indeed. These are to oversee the budget of the European Communities, to question and if necessary censure the European Commission, and the right to be consulted on important Community matters. The Parliament convenes at Strasbourg and at Luxembourg, where its secretariat is, and holds some committee meetings at Brussels. Its members are directly elected by the citizens of the countries of the European Communities.

The Executives of the European Communities, like the legislature, consists of two institutions, namely the European Commission, Policy is decided by the European Council and the European Commission. Policy is decided by the European Council which act as the Head of Government of the Communities. It consists of the Heads of Government of each of the member states meeting tri-annually.

The European Commission is the civil service of the European Communities. It is controlled by an executive of 14 members consisting of two members from each of the larger states of the Communities and one from each of the smaller ones. However, once appointed, the members during their terms of office enjoy diplomatic immunity and are completely independent of the countries that appointed them. The European Commission has its headquarters and most of its staff at Brussels, with some offices at Luxembourg. In accordance with the decisions of the Council of Ministers it promulgates the subsidiary legislation of the Communities, just as in each member country secondary legislation is effected by regulations issued by the executive while parliament concerns itself with primary legislation.

The judiciary of the European Communities consists of the European Court of Justice. This is made up of one judge from the European Court of Justice. This is made up of one judge from each member state, and sits at Luxembourg. It adjudicates on cases arising under Community law.

The Communities are financed by customs duties and one percent of the Value Added Tax collected by its constituent states. The legislation of the Communities is restricted by the treaties establishing them to dealing with economic matters. Thus the Communities are purely fiscal institutions. However they were designed as the framework for political federation which the founders hoped would follow economic union. This could be achieved by using the existing institutions. However notifications would have to be made to them before an effective political merger could operate.

The most important change necessary relates to the legislature. The dominant part consists of the Council of Ministers. However, these ministers in their own countries are part of the executive not of the legislature. It is therefore incongruous for them to have legislative power regarding the Communities, whereas the European Parliament merely has the right to advise them in the exercise of that power. To bring the Communities into line with their constituent states, it would be necessary to transfer the legislative function to the European Parliament. The Council of Ministers should then become part of the executive of the Communities acting as the Cabinet.

Thus if the dream of the founding fathers of the Communities is to be realised and they are to become political as well as economic union, a rational framework adopting the existing institutions could be on the following lines. The executive of the European Communities would consist of the European Council, the Council of Ministers, and the European Commission. The European Council would not as head of Government of the Communities, the Council of Ministers as Cabinet and the Commission as Civil Service. The legislature would consist of the European Parliament and the judiciary would remain the European Court of Justice.

In order to make these institutions more efficient and positive, it would be necessary for each of them to have a fixed site, thus ending the present peripatetic future of the European Council, European Commission and European Parliament. It would be logical for all those bodies to be in Brussels, which is at present the main site of the institutions in the Communities. Luxembourg, one of the other two centres of the Communities, would be compensated by the fact that the European Court of Justice would remain there. This leaves the question of Strasbourg, the other existing seat of the Communities. At the moment, the European Parliament holds most of the meetings there, although its secretariat is at Luxembourg. If France continues her policy of refusing to allow Strasbourg to be deprived of its status as one of the three centres of the Communities, then the European Parliament and the secretariat should be sited there.

This would produce a scheme whereby the executive of the Communities was at Brussels, the legislature at Strasbourg, and the judiciary at Luxembourg. This would emphasise that the Communities practise the fundamental precept of democracy, namely the separation of powers. It would also preserve the ideal of the founding fathers that the institutions of the Communities should be situated in the three bilingual towns of Brussels, Luxembourg and Strasbourg. Obviously it would be more efficient if all the institutions were in one town. However, it is not unprecedented for them to be in separate places. Some countries of the world, such as the Netherlands and South Africa have, because of rivalry between their leading cities, dispersed their administrative organs. In addition, other countries are purposely trying to decentralise. A good example is the United Kingdom. Her executive institutions are situated in many towns in addition to the national capital, eg in Belfast, Cardiff, Edinburgh and Swansea, and her biggest courts of appeal are divided between London and Edinburgh. It will be acceptable for the institutions of politically united European Communities to be similarly scattered.

Thus a blueprint for a “United States of Europe” exists in the European Communities, provided that they can be adapted so that the legislative power is transferred from the Council of Ministers to the European Parliament. So far, the member countries have resisted this, because the Council of Ministers is made up of their delegates, each having the right of veto, whom they appoint and direct, whereas the European Parliament is independent of their control.

The European Parliament is thus the key to political union. Progress has started with the direct election of its members in 1979. The next task will be to find a permanent site for the parliament and thus make it a more effective and respected body. Also it will have to assimilate the additional members from Portugal and Spain when they join the Communities. These tasks should be completed by 1990. Then there will be no excuse for further delay in transferring the legislative powers of the Communities from its constituent states, exercised through the Council of Ministers, to the European Parliament. If the governments of the member countries have the courage to crown the establishment of the European Communities by doing this, the dream of a “United States of Europe” and realised by the end of this century.

By transferring the legislative function to the European Parliament, a solution will be found to the persistent refusal of member countries to give up the veto that each has in the Council of Ministers. As it would become the Cabinet of the Communities, the right of veto could be retained because the Communities would be a loose confederation and thus policies would in any event, have to be agreed to by all member states would in any event, have to be agreed to all by all member states before it was possible to put them into effect. Perhaps, as the political union became stronger, it would be possible to evolve a system whereby it would not be necessary to have the unanimous consent of the constituent states to Community policies. However, as federation can, in the circumstances prevailing at present, only be achieved by a gradual process, initially each member country will have to retain its right of veto on Community policy. This is in accordance with usage in these countries, because leading ministers do in practice have to agree unambiguously before a national policy can be adopted.

Tuesday, 9 November 2021

Decentralisation Of Government

The key question regarding decentralisation is the unit of administration chose on which to devolve functions from the centre. England and Wales already have two-tier system of local government. If regional assemblies were added to this as a third tier, all that in practice would happen would be the administration would become more inefficient. The extra tier would provide further opportunity for buck-passing and expensive duplication of functions. It would also be contrary to the recommendations of all the responsible bodies that have investigated the system of local government since the War. *

The National Association of Local Government Officers and then the Redcliffe-Maud Royal Commission Report of Local Government Officers came to the conclusion that the most efficient system would be single-tier, with each unit having a population of about 300,000. However, the Conservatives rejected this and instead opted for a two-tier scheme. Nevertheless, they did accept the recommendation that a unit of about a quarter of a million people was the smallest practical one for local administration.

Therefore, when a new system of local government came into force in Greater London in 1965 and the rest of England and Wales in 1974, each Metropolitan Borough Council and each “shire” (ie non-Metropolitan) County Council was constituted so as to have a population equal to or greater than that figure. However, these units formed only one of two tiers. The “shire” counties were divided into districts, and the metropolitan boroughs were grouped together with the metropolitan counties. It would be easy to convert the present two tiers into a viable one-tier system by abolishing the districts in “shire” counties and abolishing the metropolitan counties (including the Greater London Council).

England and Wales are small in area and densely populated. There is therefore no necessity for a multi-tier system of administration to accommodate large and diverse areas. If it is desired to give home rule to Scotland and Wales, this should be done. The Royal Commission came to the conclusion that there was no desire for regional government in England. Therefore, decentralisation of the United Kingdom could and should only take the form of assemblies for Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, but should not mean setting up an undesired and uncalled-for system of regional authorities in England.

Functions which require a regional rather than a local system of administration, such as police forces, hospitals and water supplies, could be carried out by bodies constituted on a similar basis to the present Police Committees and thus consisting of members of the County Councils in the region concerned. Co-ordinating committees to carry out regional functions could be formed in this way thus avoiding the necessity for regional assemblies with separate directly elected members, separate officials and separate powers. The creation of another expensive layer of local government would thereby be avoided.

The existing two-tier system of local government in this country is neither popular nor understood. Often less than a third of the electorate votes in local elections and most of the representations regarding local government fictions are mistakenly made to the wrong authorities. For instance, some Members of Parliament have calculated that over 80% of the communications they receive from constituents are nothing to do with central government and therefore have to be passed on to the appropriate local authorities to whom they should have been made in the first place.

Also, most of the electorate do not understand which of the two tiers in their locality deal with which function. This confusion is increased by the fact that the higher tier often delegates some of its functions to the lower one. The Greater London Council for instance allows London boroughs to exercise many of hits housing responsibilities.

A one-tier system of local government would mean that there would be no confusion as to the relevant local authority. The population of the units constituting the single tier would be at least two hundred and fifty thousand. These units would therefore be large enough to efficiently carry out functions such as housing and education. Decentralisation could be achieved by transferring to them some of the functions at present performed by central government.

In addition, if it is desired, other functions could be given to assemblies in England and Wales. In fact, the Scottish Nationalist Party has stated that it desires a single-tier system of local government in Scotland to replace the two-tier system introduced there in 1975. Such a system has been established in Northern Ireland. England, Scotland and Wales have a two tier system which could easily be converted into a single tier one. The danger which must be avoided is the preservation of the existing two tiers with the addition of a third “provincial” tier, thereby creating an horrendous scheme in which there is central government and also three layers of local government, with the electorate having to pay for all of them and not understanding which one deals with what function.

EAC Goodman, circa 1985

The Campidoglio

The Campidoglio is the current home of the Mayor of Rome, on a hillside in the a tare della Pat which is the monument to Vittororio Emanuele II.

The Campidoglio (above) is now the office of the Mayor of Rome.

The Campidoglio is the major symbol of the ancient and powerful Rome. Some artefacts were recently found at the side of the capitol hill (Capitolinum) where the Campidoglio is placed, which without doubt proved that the first population was established there on the BC. In ancient Rome, the hill was a refuge for “asylum” during the Sabine War at a time when Titus Tatius (circa 750BC) was Joint King. To build the monument to Vitterio Emanuele II known as Aetare della Patria it was necessary to destroy some part of the Arx, the most ancient rock which joins the hill to the Aetare della Patria.

The Campidoglio is named after the supreme deity, Jupiter Capiolinus, for whom a temple was built by order of King Tarqunius Priscus. It was completed by King Tarquinius Superbus and officially opened after the proclamation of the Roman Republic in 509BC.

It has been destroyed and rebuilt many times during the republican and imperial epochs. It is known for certain that on the summit Vulca, an Etruscan artist had decorated the front gates. The road which leads to the temple was used by victorious soldiers, parading distinguished prisoners-of-war who were afterwards sacrificed (burnt).

Among the triumphs who used to go to the Campidoglio were the famous Luciou Emitio Paulo of 168BC, and Lucio Mumnio in 146BC, and four of Caesar, one of Augustus, and one of Titus.

The who hill was full of temples: one dedicated to Jupiter and one to the Fides Publica where treaties with other people were signed in the name of the Roman people.

One bill near the Arx is remembered as for a very famous episode which happened to Juno in 390BC during the siege of the Gauls. There is a legend that during the night Juno had some sacred geese which started to squawk. This noise permitted frightened the enemy soldiers into running away to avoid discovery.

For this event in 345BC, a temple was erected dedicated to Juno to commemorate the victorious event under the epithet of Moneta which gave its name to money because of the neighbourhood the mint of the Roman State War.

It would be impossible to follow all the historic events which are linked to the Campidoglio because account it would be too long. We remember that in 78BC the consul Q. Lvtzio Catulo erected on hill the Tolsilarium which was the state archive.

Unfortunately, in the second imperial period, part of the complex was destroyed by two disastrous fires which destroyed a great part of the artifacts there of history and culture, which many generations of Romans had collected. The first beaze occurred in 69AD during the war between Vitellio and Vespasean.

Immediately after it had been reconstructed (including the temple of Jupiter) another fire occurred. Titus and Domition organised a second rebuilding.

With the fall of the empire and the barbarian invasion commenced the ruin of the whole complex. The temples began to be abandoned and in their place the Christian religion started to organise their worship. They started to bring animals to market.

Between the Ninth and Tenth Centuries the whole hill changed completely its significance, in the public life. At that line they started to build a church there of Ara Coeli (Altar of the Sky), On the site of the Tabulasium and the shite of the temple of Veoive (old Italian divinity) arose the baronial fortress or the Corsi. They were expelled in 1084 by Henry IV temporarily, and definitely in 1105 by Pope Pasquale II, who demolished all the towers.

At that same period the news appeared about the birth of a local administration communal the more important decisions were taken by the people gathered in the Campidoglio. With the “Revived Senate” in 1143, the birth of this new communal system commenced the hatred between the nobles and the pope. In 1300, the start of the acting, everybody made the effort to found a powerful government.

In 1941, in one of the halls of the palace, Fracescopetrarca Petrarca (Putrardi) was solemnly declared a poet; and there in that same haill in 1344, Coladi Rienzp assurred the title of Tribune and 1363, the first offices of the state were created with their relative tasks.

At the beginning of the Sixteenth Century, the whole complex took the look a fortress with towers, defensive wals built by popes, particularly Paul III who in 1537 commissioned Michleangelo to decorate and pain the whole complex. He made the statue of Marcus Areulius the centre piece of the place and the Senatorial Palace. He made all the pavements of the square and two palaces on the side of the square.

The whole work took one century to complete. When it was finished, nothing had been added since untol the last years of the 1800s.

In the interior of the Caputoline Palce was placed the first public Roman art gallery called the Capitoline, initiated by popes in the Sixteenth Century and improved by new acquisitions. Precious works of art and sculture were placed there. At the end of the 1700s during the French occupation they brought their culture and made the Campidoglio a symbol of freedom.

When the restoration came, the reposess of temporal power of the pope, the birth of the Roman republic at the Campidoglio was marked by many historic events of capital importance.

After September 20, 1860, the November 29 in the Salon of the Senatorial Palace, the new communal council of Rome gathered for the first time to elect the new mayor of Rome.

It was a very important moment to remember, more important than the legend of the geese.

Monday, 14 November 2016

Prostitution (2)

Female prostitution is “the most ancient profession in the world”, as Rudyard Kipling wrote an 1889 short story (1). It may even be part of Mankind’s animal instinct, as it has been observed amongst chimpanzees and penguins. Female Adélie penguins sometimes demand pebbles from male nests for their own before mating (2). Similarly, female chimps have been observed sticking their hands out for food from males before copulation (3).

Back in the human kingdom, each jurisdiction legislates on female prostitution in one of four ways: (i) prohibition of sale; (ii) prohibition of purchase; (iii) restriction; (iv) regulation.

(i) Prohibition of sale is the most widespread, existing in mainland China (but not Taiwan), Russia, and the USA (except for eight counties in Nevada). It drives the sex trade underground and criminalises female practitioners.

(ii) Prohibition of purchase - “The Nordic Model/Scandinavian Model” (pioneered by the American radical feminist activist Catherine MacKinnon) bans men from paying women for sex. It has been adopted in Canada, France (2015) and Northern Ireland as well as Norway and Sweden. This model results in suspected prostitutes being placed under police surveillance, and any man contacting them is prosecuted. Such women thus become outcasts, prevented from having a normal social life.

(iii) Restriction is imposed in places such as England, Italy, the Republic of Ireland, Scotland, and Spain. Prostitution (sale and purchase) is itself lawful, but all associated activities are not, eg advertising, brothel-keeping, organising, pimping and procuring. This allows the activity but makes it very difficult. It is thus self-contradictory!

(iv) Finally there is regulation. ie licensed brothels in recognised “red light” areas. eg in most Australian states, Bangladesh, Belgium, Germany, India, Netherlands, New Zealand, Taiwan, and Turkey. This system imposes institutionalism in recognised districts and thus discriminates against freelance, sole prostitutes.

There is, of course, also male prostitution (heterosexual and homosexual) - but that is a different story!

Notes And References

(1) On The City Wall, first page.
(2)The Auk by F.M. Hunter and L.S. Davis, (1998), (pages 526-8).
(3) See for example Wild Chimpanzees Exchange Meat for Sex on a Long Term Basis by Cristina M. Gomes and Christophe Boesch, (2009).

(See also entry for September 9, 2015).

Wednesday, 17 August 2016

Real People Who Became Legends

From ancient times, certain exceptional individuals have become everlasting legends with highly exaggerated histories of their exploits.

Ancient Hebrew mythological figures include:
Adam (circa 4000BC) “Father of Mankind”;
Enoch (c3700BC) first writing prophet;
Solomon the Wise (King of Israel 970-930BC) sage.

The Heroic Age of Ancient Greece lasted from 1456BC (the Universal Flood) to 1101BC (the Fifth Age of Mankind), and produced the legendary characters of Greek Mythology. The following are examples:

Perseus (1356-1300 BC). His rescue of Andromeda (the Chained Lady) in 1322BC is commemorated in the constellations named after him and her, plus Cassiopeia (her mother), Cephus (Andromeda’s father) and Cetus (the whale that threatened Andromeda).

Hercules (1286-35BC) was deified and a constellation was named in his honour, with others named after his exploits, ie Leo (Lion of Nemea, which he killed), Hydra (the Water Snake he killed), Cancer (the Crab that attacked him while he was fighting Hydra), Centaur (the Horse-man he killed accidentally), Aquila (the Eagle he killed), Sagitta (the Arrow he used to do so) and Draco (Dragon he killed to obtain the Apples of the Hesperides).

The epic journey of Jason and the Argonauts in 1246BC likewise produced constellations named after parts of his vessel the Argo, ie Carina (Keel), Puppis (Poop) and Vela (Sails).

India had its own mythical heroic age c1000BC with Lord Krishna, a deified folk hero.

There followed in Asia:

Zoroaster (628-551BC) founder of the Zoroastrian religion;
Buddha (563-483BC) founder of Buddhism;
Mani (216-74AD) founder of Manichaeism.

China’s folk heroes include:

Laozi (601-531BC) - founder of the Tao religion;
Han Xin (circa 231-196 BC) general who never lost a battle;
Hua Mulan (circa 581-618AD) female warrior;

Mu Guiying (circa 1000AD) female warrior;
Yue Fei (1103-42) general;
Ji Gong (1130-1207), and “Crazy Ji” unorthodox monk
Mu Ying (1345-92) general.

An Irish mythical hero was Fion mac Cumhaill, leader of the Fianna (killed circa 250AD).

The Middle Ages, after the fall of the Western Roman Empire, produced more legendary heroes, amongst whom are the following:

Siegfried, hero and brother-in-law of Gundahar, King of the Burgundians (flourished 411AD);
King Arthur (494-537AD) “the once and future king” (of Britain) and his Knights of the Round Table (509-537), who defeated the invading Anglo-Saxons;
El Cid (Rodrigo Diaz (1043-99) Spanish folk hero;
Robin Hood (ie Robin of Loxley 1160-1247) who “robbed the rich to give to the poor”;
William Tell (c1280-1354) Swiss folk hero.
Vlad III, Prince of Wallachia (reigned 1456-62), known as Vlad the Impaler, who became Dracula created by Bram Stoker in 1897.
Dick Turpin ((1705-1739) highwayman.

Nineteenth Century America, with its Wild West, is remembered for a whole succession of legendary characters:
Daniel Boone(1734-1820) frontiersman;
John Chapman (1774-1845) - known as Jonny Appleseed - frontiersman;
Davy Crockett (1786-1836) “King of the Wild Frontier”;
Wild Bill Hickok (1837-76) gunfighter and gambler;
Buffalo Bill (1846-1917) cowboy, bison hunter and showman;
Jesse James (1847-82) outlaw;
Wyatt Earp (1848-1929) gambler turned lawman;
John Henry (1850-1900) railroad builder;
Calamity Jane (1852-1903) frontierswoman;
Annie Oakley (1860-1926) sharpshooter;

Casey Jones (1863-1900) heroic train driver.
Butch Cassidy (1866-1908) and the Sundance Kid (1867-1908) outlaws.

The Australian equivalent was the outlaw, Ned Kelly (1854-80).

Legendary heroes of the First Indian War of Independence (1857-8) were:

Nana Sahib (1824-57) pretender;
Rani of Jhansi (1828-58) female warrior.

The “Roaring Twenties” resulted in gangsters, fighting unpopular American Prohibition (of alcohol), becoming legends:

Bugs Moran (1893-1957);
Machine Gun Kelly (1895-1954);
Legs Diamond (1897-1931);
Lucky Luciano (1897-1962);
Al Capone "Scarface"(1899-1947);

Bonnie and Clyde [Bonnie Parker (1910-34) and Clyde Barrow (1909-34)].

Supremely there is Adolf Hitler (1889-1945), German Chancellor. Most of what is now written about him is false, showing that he has become a legend. Godwin’s Law describes this type of fantasy material, which originated in anti-Nazi wartime propaganda (1939-45) and is now used by journalists and politicians to dramatise their arguments, ie “this is what Hitler did” (or “would have done”).

Then Rocky - the film character who first appeared in 1976 - and was created by Sylvester Stallone, is based on Chuck Wepner (born 1939) who fought Muhammad Ali in 1975 for the heavyweight title. Wepner’s purse was a fraction of Ali’s and he was expected to be an easy opponent, but he went nearly the full fifteen rounds.

Monday, 27 June 2016


Human beings are herd animals, influenced by their fellows. This is evinced by the 195 national flags of the sovereign world. There are certain parent flags which are templates for a family. They are as follows:

The Dannebrog flag of Denmark of 1219 (a crusader flag), with its distinctive cross shifted to the hoist, was copied by the other Scandinavian countries: Finland (1917), Iceland (1944), Norway (1905), and Sweden (1442).

The Netherlands flag - the Prinsenvlag (1572) using the the blue, orange (red) and white livery colours of the Prince of Orange - was copied by the Russian flag (1696) which gave rise to the blue, red and white colours chosen by the Pan-Slav Congress of 1848 at Prague and thus adopted as the basis for the national flags of Croatia (1991), Czechia (1918), Serbia (2006), Slovakia (1992), and Slovenia (1991).

The American Stars and Stripes of 1777 (one stripe for each state) was similarly copied by Cuba (1902), Greece (1828), Liberia (1847), Malaysia (1963), Togo (1960), and Uruguay (1830).

The French vertical Tricolor adopted in 1790 (white for France; blue and red for Paris) was copied by Andorra (1866), Belgium (1831), Cameroon (1960), Chad (1960), Guinea (1958), Guinea-Bissau (1974), Italy (1805), Ireland (1922), Mali (1960), Mexico (1821), Moldova (1990), Romania (1868), and Senegal (1960).

The Union Jack of 1801 was incorporated into the flags of four of its former colonies - Australia (1901), Fiji (1970), New Zealand (1902) and Tuvalu (1997). This is the Red Cross of St George for England on the Red Cross of St Patrick for Ireland superimposed upon the White Cross of St Andrew on a blue field for Scotland.

The blue, red and yellow of the Republic of Gran Colombia of 1819-31 (golden America separated by blue sea from bloody Spain) were adopted by its three successor states of Colombia, Ecuador and Venezuela.

Ethiopia was the only African country to (with difficulty) maintain its sovereignty during the 19th Century European “scramble for Africa”. Its green, yellow, red flag adopted in 1897 (the colours of the Rainbow in the book of Genesis) thus became the Pan-African colours, a model for other African and Afro-Caribbean countries when they achieved independence in the 20th Century. As a result, the following countries adopted those colours for their flags:

Benin (1960), Burkino Fasso (1960), Cameroon (1969), Central African Republic (1960), Comoros (2002), Congo Brazzaville (1960), Dominica (1978), Eritrea (1993), Ghana (1957), Grenada (1974), Guinea (1958), Guinea-Bissau (1973), Guyana (1966), Mali (1960), Mauritius (1968) , Mozambique (1983), Namibia (1990), Sao Tome & Principe (1975), Senegal (1960), Seychelles (1996), St Kitts & Nevis (1983), South Africa (1994), South Sudan (2005), Surinam (1975), Togo (1960), Uganda (1962), Zambia (1964), Zimbabwe (1980).

Similarly, the Ottoman Empire was one of the few Islamic states to preserve its independence (despite Russian attacks) during the age of European expansion. Subsequent Moslem states thus copied its crescent flag ( adopted in 1793 to symbolise the lunar calendar in Islam), namely Azerbaijan (1991), Comoros (2002), Iran (1979), Libya (1951), Malaysia (1963), Maldives (1965), Mauretania (1960), Pakistan (1947), Tunisia (1956), Turkey (1923), Turkmenistan (1991) and Uzbekistan (1991).

In contrast, the black, green, red and white colours of the flag of the Arab nationalist revolt against the Ottoman Empire in 1916 were adopted by most Arab countries which gained independence thereafter, ie Iraq (2008), Jordan (1946), Kuwait (1961), Libya (1956), Sudan (1956), Syria (1946) and United Arab Emirates (1971).

The Argentine flag (blue and white of the Order of Charles III) was adopted by the Federal Republic of Central America 1823-40 and the successor states of that republic, ie Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua.

The United Nations Organisation sponsored the creation of four countries, which accordingly copied the blue and white of its standard of 1946 (blue for the sea; white for peace), for Micronesia (1990) and Somalia (1960).

Communist China (1949) and Vietnam (1954) have national flags modelled on that of the former Soviet Union ie red for revolution, on which there is a five-pointed star representing the Communist Party.

Monday, 16 May 2016

Legal Systems

There are three main systems in use throughout the world, namely Civil (Roman) Law, Sharia (Muslim) Law and Common (Anglo-Saxon) Law. Most Civil Law systems use juries, some Common Law ones do not (eg India and Pakistan).

Civil Law (used in 90 countries) is based on the Corpus Civilis Juris (codification of Roman law) promulgated by Emperor Justinian the Great in 529-34AD. Its rules were applied by European courts with no binding precedent case law. Then in the 19th Century it was incorporated into national codes, starting with the seminal Code Napoleon of 1804. It has been adopted throughout Asia (including China, Japan and Turkey), Francophone Africa and Latin America. It is easy to export, as all that is necessary is to promulgate legal codes. Unlike Common Law, no corpus of decisions in leading cases is necessary because Civil Law is based on principles, not precedent (although it does use case law as an indirect source). Unlike adversarial Common Law trials, it has judge-led inquisitorial hearings.

Sharia Law is based on the Qur’an (632 CE) and Hadiths (rival Shia and Sunni versions) circa 900AD. It was adopted by every Islamic jurisdiction, but most have, however, since modified it by importing some Civil Law law codes (eg Egypt, Tunisia). Similarly some Common Law countries have readopted some Sharia Law (eg Malaysia, Northern Nigeria and Pakistan). As a result, there are few pure Sharia Law countries. Even Saudi Arabia has adopted some Civil Law.

Common Law (used in 40 countries) is grounded on the 1166 Assize of Clarendon. Henry II, King of England, was disturbed by the fact that local courts were applying different laws. He, therefore, sent judges from the Court of King’s Bench on circuit throughout the realm applying a common system based on binding case law precedent (not Roman Law principles). The British Empire spread the system throughout Africa, Australasia, North America, and South Asia. Civil Law countries which fell under Anglo-Saxon control had Common Law superimposed, thereby creating hybrid systems such as the Channel Islands, Louisiana, Philippines, Quebec, Scotland, South Africa, Sri Lanka. Now (2016) some jurisdictions (such as Kazakhstan and United Arab Emirates) are adopting the English law of contract, ie importing some common law.