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Research in European Law

Recent Research

Fair Relations in the Food Supply Chain: Establishing Effective European Enforcement Structures

In May 2014, BIICL produced a report for Traidcraft on how an effective enforcement mechanism arranged at the EU level might be established and operate. This was in response to the European Commission's January 2013 Green Paper calling on stakeholders to give evidence on the existence and nature of unfair commercial practices in the retail supply chain, with a view to issuing a Commission plan of action before autumn 2014.

The report focuses on the food supply chain. It recommends that the EU should establish a network of national enforcement mechanisms that monitor and enforce against unfair trading practices in the food supply chain, according to principles and procedures prescribed by the EU through legislation.

The full Report is available for download in PDF format here.

The Executive Summary may be downloaded in PDF format here.

This report follows on from a 2012 report produced by BIICL on Models of Enforcement for Relations in the Food Supply Chain in Europe (see below).

Enforcing Good Practice in Vertical Relationships in the Food Supply Chain

Following from a study completed in April 2012 on Models of Enforcement in Europe for Relations in the Food Supply Chain, BIICL has completed a paper which proposes an EU-level method of enforcement of good relations in the food supply chain and responds to a proposed framework for enforcement suggested by a Core Group of stakeholders.

The paper looks to the Unfair Commercial Practices Directive (2005/29/EC) and the Directive on unfair terms in consumer contracts (93/13/EC) for inspiration with regard to the creation of a B2B instrument. In particular, it highlights key issues that any EU instrument should include, such as whether it should take the form of a directive or regulation, its scope, elaboration of principles and offenses, and principally, what strong enforcement might look like under a legislative instrument.

The paper suggests that the adoption of a legislative instrument would result in binding, yet flexible, obligations and strong enforcement. A flexible, multi-level approach would provide Member States with a framework offering regulation that can include existing arrangements under bilateral or multilateral frameworks, such as codes of conduct or dispute resolution, but would also offer the firm enforcement of a legislative instrument in case soft law frameworks prove to be inadequate.

Past research includes:

Models of Enforcement in Europe for Relations in the Food Supply Chain

BIICL completed a study identifying how the European Union can take steps to ensure fair play in the grocery market. The report looks at how EU member states have tried to tackle unfair commercial practices in dealings between retailers and suppliers. This report was commissioned by farm organisations Boerenbond, Coldiretti and National Farmers Union as well as Consumers International, Association of Conscious Consumers Hungary, Centre for Research on Multinational Corporations (SOMO) Netherlands, Oxfam Germany, Christliche Initiative Romero (CIR) Germany, Traidcraft, UK, Fair Trade Advocacy Office.

Armed Conflicts, Peacekeeping, Transitional Justice: Law as Solution (ATLAS project) (2011)

A project which reviewed the activity of the EU in promoting human rights and international humanitarian law both during and after armed conflicts, mainly through its peace-keeping operations, and offered recommendations for improvements and best practice in these activities.

Analysis of Law in the European Union pertaining to Cross-Border Disaster Relief (2010)

The Institute was asked by the British Red Cross to participate in a study concerning the implementation of disaster response laws, rules and principles in several countries throughout Europe. The project was conducted by the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (the International Federation) and is funded by the Civil Protection Financial Instrument of the European Commission. Copies of the UK report, EU report and synthesis report are available to download.

Rights and Responsibilities of Citizenship (2008)

The British Institute of International and Comparative Law was asked by the the former Attorney General Lord Goldsmith QC to undertake research on a project on the Rights and Responsibilities of Citizenship. This independant study formed part of a wider review of Governance in Britain conducted by the United Kingdom's Ministry of Justice.

For further details on BIICL's European Law research programme, please contact Justine Stefanelli.

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