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Recap: First Library of Congress All-Virtual Transcribe-a-thon for Herencia: Centuries of Spanish Legal Documents

In Custodia Legis - 2 hours 44 min ago

Image detail from Royal Order of June 26, 1741 Concerning Payment of Annuities by the City of Zaragoza in Compliance with the Regulations on this Matter, Approved and Ratified on October 9, 1734. https://www.loc.gov/item/2018751786/

On Thursday, March 19, 2020, the Law Library of Congress, in collaboration with By the People, the Digital Collections and Management Services Division, the Hispanic Division, and the African, Latin American, and Western European Division of the Acquisitions and Bibliographic Access Directorate , held the first ever all-virtual Transcribe-a-thon to celebrate the launch of our new crowdsourcing campaign, Herencia: Centuries of Spanish Legal Documents. This marks the first collection to feature items in languages other than English including Spanish, Latin and Catalan. The collection contains print and manuscript documents from Spain from the 15th through the 19th centuries including royal decrees, papal bulls, legal opinions, judgments, and royal orders.

Throughout the day, staff live tweeted progress on the project, fielded questions on History Hub and Web/Ex, and shared all of our enthusiastic transcribers’ progress. Work was begun on 45 new documents and 19 completed the process of transcription. By the end of the Transcribe-a-thon, a total of 104 completed documents. As of today, we have a total of 194 completed documents in the collection from 199 contributors.

If you’d like the Law Library to host event like this, tweet at us with your feedback at @LawLibCongress or at @Crowd_LOC.

Learn more about transcribing this historical collection by watching our previous webinars:

How and Why to Transcribe Herencia / Password:  RtXH4sM@

Cómo y por qué transcribir Herencia / Contraseña: fQ7SJjZ@

What to Expect at the Transcribe-a-thon (or How to Hold your Own) / Password: xPQ8gRM*

Como organizar un maratón de transcripciones de By the People / Contraseña: nGkERe3$

Categories: Research & Litigation

Legal Research Reports: CORRECTION: Continuity of Legislative Activities during Emergency Situations

Law Library of Congress: Research Reports - Fri, 04/03/2020 - 3:08pm

Previous version of this notice was sent with incorrect links. 

The Law Library of Congress is proud to present the report, Continuity of Legislative Activities during Emergency Situations.

This reports the law of 36 foreign jurisdictions on the functioning of legislatures under emergency measures, arrangements in legislatures for a designated sub-group to constitute a kind of "emergency parliament" with devolved powers from the whole legislature, and arrangements made by national legislative bodies to ensure their work during the COVID-19 pandemic. In the vast majority of countries surveyed, legislatures have adopted preventative measures in response to the public emergency posed by the COVID-19 pandemic. Meanwhile, no country surveyed has explicitly invoked the powers of an "emergency parliament" with the devolved power from the whole legislature. However, several countries surveyed give various other emergency powers to the legislature in times of emergencies. 

This report is one of many prepared by the Law Library of Congress. Visit the Comprehensive Index of Legal Reports page for a complete listing of reports and the Current Legal Topics page for our highlighted and newer reports. 

 

Categories: Research & Litigation

Legal Research Reports: Continuity of Legislative Activities during an Emergency

Law Library of Congress: Research Reports - Fri, 04/03/2020 - 11:21am

The Law Library of Congress is proud to present the report, Continuity of Legislative Activities during Emergency Situations.

This reports the law of 36 foreign jurisdictions on the functioning of legislatures under emergency measures, arrangements in legislatures for a designated sub-group to constitute a kind of "emergency parliament" with devolved powers from the whole legislature, and arrangements made by national legislative bodies to ensure their work during the COVID-19 pandemic. In the vast majority of countries surveyed, legislatures have adopted preventative measures in response to the public emergency posed by the COVID-19 pandemic. Meanwhile, no country surveyed has explicitly invoked the powers of an "emergency parliament" with the devolved power from the whole legislature. However, several countries surveyed give various other emergency powers to the legislature in times of emergencies. 

This report is one of many prepared by the Law Library of Congress. Visit the Comprehensive Index of Legal Reports page for a complete listing of reports and the Current Legal Topics page for our highlighted and newer reports. 

 

Categories: Research & Litigation

Remote Library of Congress – Pic of the Week

In Custodia Legis - Fri, 04/03/2020 - 10:17am

The last few weeks have brought about a lot of changes.

I am extremely proud of the Congress.gov team. We have been working remotely for three weeks, and our team continues to work to improve the website. We had a release last week and are wrapping up development for our next one.

Margaret continues to update the Coronavirus Resource Guide with new legislation and timely items published from the Law Library of Congress.

I find myself in an unfamiliar situation of teleworking. Our blog team met remotely this week. For the Pic of the Week, we often share pictures of libraries that we have visited or glimpses of views around the Library of Congress. Of course, travel is out of the question right now. Even being at the Library is not an option for most. So instead, how about photos of where we are now?  Here are a few photos of our remote workstations.

My Desktop. Picture by Andrew Weber.

Betty:

Betty’s Makeshift Standing Desk. Picture by Betty Lupinacci.

Jim:

Jim’s Laptop and Piano Bench. Picture by Jim Martin.

Robert:

Robert Brammer’s Desk. Picture by Robert Brammer.

Although I don’t get to see my Library of Congress co-workers in person right now, I do have some great new co-workers sharing this space.

Picture by Andrew Weber.

Categories: Research & Litigation

Legal Research Reports: Plea Barganing

Law Library of Congress: Research Reports - Thu, 04/02/2020 - 12:55pm

The Law Library of Congress is proud to present the report, Plea Bargaining.

This report examines laws and practices related to plea bargaining in six countries: Georgia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Nigeria, Russia, and Singapore. Of these countries, three (Georgia, Malaysia, and Nigeria) have formalized both charge and sentence bargaining procedures in legislation. Russian legislation provides for a "special trial procedure" for defendants who plead guilty, and "special path" provisions based on Russia's approach are currently being considered as part of criminal procedure reforms in Indonesia. Russia has also implemented provisions on "pretrial cooperation agreements" aimed at providing incentives for individuals involved in organized crime to cooperate with authorities in exchange for a reduced sentence. Georgia also provides for "agreements on special cooperation". In Singapore, there are no current or proposed plea bargaining provisions in legislation. However, two programs have implemented that enable alternative case resolution processes to be applied. (March 2020) 

This report is one of many prepared by the Law Library of Congress. Visit the Comprehensive Index of Legal Reports page for a complete listing of reports and Current Legal Topics page for our highlighted and newer reports. 

 

Categories: Research & Litigation

Legal Research Reports: Points-Based and Family Immigration

Law Library of Congress: Research Reports - Wed, 04/01/2020 - 10:00am

The Law Library of Congress is proud to present the report, Points-Based and Family Immigration.

This report explains the points-based immigration systems adopted by Australia, Austria, Canada, Japan, New Zealand, South Korea, and the United Kingdom. Each of these countries determines a noncitizen’s eligibility to obtain a particular visa or residence status partly by whether that noncitizen is able to score above a threshold number of points in accordance with the country’s points scoring system. All of the countries have points-based immigration system for skilled workers. Other categories for which a points-based immigration system is used include investor, entrepreneur/business start-up, persons with exceptional capabilities, temporary worker, and job seeker.  

This report is one of many prepared by the Law Library of Congress. Visit the Comprehensive Index of Legal Reports page for a complete listing of reports and the Current Legal Topics page for our highlighted and newer reports. 

Categories: Research & Litigation

The Women’s Movement to Gain the Parliamentary Vote, Part 2

In Custodia Legis - Wed, 04/01/2020 - 8:30am

The following is a guest post by Clare Feikert-Ahalt, foreign law specialist for the United Kingdom at the Law Library of Congress. This is the second post in a two part series. To read the first post, click here.

Parliamentary Actions and Activities

A Parliamentary Committee for Women’s Suffrage was established in December 1893 as a non-party organization to provide women with the vote and worked to promote all bills and amendments that would help this cause. By 1897 the Committee had 31 members and at this time it became a Conservative Party committee.

In the years 1910-1912, the government considered various Conciliation Bills, which were introduced by backbench members of Parliament and would have provided some women who owned property with the right to vote, but none were enacted. In 1913, the Women’s Suffrage Bill was introduced as a private members bill, but did not make it past the second reading, when it was defeated by 269 votes to 221.

Christabel Pankhurst. Bain News Service. Between 1910 and 1915. Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division. //hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/ggbain.14981

World War I

While there was some support for women’s suffrage in Parliament, the majority continued to oppose extending the vote to women, and this opposition continued until World War I. The outbreak of war in 1914 led many suffragette activities, particularly militant acts, to come to an abrupt halt, with many organizations suspending their work. At this time, the government granted amnesty to women’s suffrage prisoners. As part of the amnesty, the Home Office compiled a list of the names and addresses of all the people arrested from 1906-1914 for activities related to women’s suffrage, along with the places and number of times they were arrested. The list covered over 1,300 arrests of over 900 female and male suffrage campaigners.

In 1916, during the midst of the war, the government had a fragile coalition and, while an election was not immediately necessary, one was needed. Attention was turned toward electoral law as during the war, the electoral register had not been updated. It became readily apparent that if a new register was prepared a significant number of electors would be unable to register. Some estimates showed that only 50% of the electorate would have been able to register, as the law provided that only men resident in their constituencies for 12 months or more prior to the election could vote. The Prime Minister noted that any Parliament elected using that register “would command no moral authority either in this country or in Europe.” With the prospect of a general election looming and a significant number of the electorate disenfranchised, the government faced significant pressure to ensure that soldiers who had fought overseas during the war and others who were absent from their homes due to the war effort were not ineligible to vote upon their return.

The Speaker’s Conference on Electoral Reform

The government initially sought to create a select committee to consider electoral issues but faced significant opposition due to concerns that such committees did not have any power to make binding recommendations. The government instead followed a suggestion that a conference be established instead. The Speaker’s Conference on Electoral Reform on 1916-17 was subsequently created to consider electoral reforms:

with regard to the Parliament which is going to undertake the work of reconstruction after the War, it is eminently desirable that you should provide an electoral basis which will make that Parliament reflective and representative of the general opinion of the country, and give to its decisions a moral authority which you cannot obtain from what I may call a scratch, improvised and makeshift electorate. Let us by all means use the time—those of us who are not absolutely absorbed in the conduct of the War—in those months to see if we cannot work out by general agreement some scheme under which, both as regards the electorate and the distribution of electoral power, a Parliament can be created at the end of the War capable and adequate for discharging these tasks, and commanding the confidence of the country.

The Conference brought MPs and peers who represented opposing viewpoints together to “find a solution which may be a lasting settlement of a very old and difficult problem” that Parliament would find acceptable.

The Speaker’s Conference issued a report in the form of a letter to the Prime Minister in 1917. The document was short and concise at only nine pages. It contained a number of recommendations that covered the reduction of the qualifying period for registration from 12 to six months, reformation of the franchise for male voters, and the redistribution of parliamentary seats and votes for soldiers and sailors. Towards the end of the document, two short paragraphs were included with a sentence that simply stated “[t]he Conference decided by a majority that some measure of woman [sic] suffrage should be conferred.”

The Representation of the People Bill was subsequently introduced, using the recommendations of the Speaker’s Conference as “a blueprint for what was politically possible.” The government noted that women’s suffrage leader Ms. Fawcett had informed Walter Long that the National Union of Women’s Suffrage Societies, and a further 22 organizations under its umbrella, would accept the main recommendations of the Speaker’s Conference “as a reasonable compromise” if they were put forward in a bill. Long considered this an important step as he considered the recommendations of the Speaker’s Conference contained limited concessions that could be accepted by those who, like himself, were strongly opposed to women’s suffrage.

Votes for Women

The Representation of the People Act 1918 was enacted and provided limited voting rights to women. Section 4 of this Act provided that a woman was entitled to vote if:
• she was over the age of 30 years;
• she was not subject to any legal incapacity; and
• either she, or her husband, was entitled to register to vote in a local government election, which were based on the property qualifications of occupying a home or owning land or premises with an annual value of a minimum of £5 (approximately US$6.50) in the constituency; or
• she was eligible to vote in a university constituency if she had graduated or passed the qualifications for graduation at a British university.

The first draft of the bill only provided the vote to women who had graduated from university. At the time, some universities would not award degrees to women, even if they had successfully completed the required course of study. This provision was removed prior to the passage of the bill, enabling anyone who held a degree, or who had carried out a course of study that could be awarded a degree, to vote. The act also removed the prohibition originally presented in the bill that prevented women from voting in local government elections if their husbands could vote in this election on the basis of owning or inhabiting the same property.

While the act was progressive by the standards of the day, universal suffrage for women was not considered at the time, as it would have resulted in more women than men having the vote. Thus women’s right to vote was more restricted than that of men. The requirement that women be aged 30 or older to be eligible to vote while men could vote at age 21 was an attempt to balance the views of all MPs and peers in order to ensure the passage of the bill through Parliament. The bill also effectively served to disenfranchise 22% of women over the age of 30 from voting due to the requirement that to be eligible women must be qualified to vote in local council elections.

While the act will primarily be remembered by many as introducing the vote to women, it also served to introduce near universal suffrage to men. Prior to the act, around 58% of men could vote; the remaining 42% were ineligible due to residency restrictions or other issues. The act abolished the property and other restrictions for men and allowed almost all men over the age of 21 and those serving in the armed forces from the age of 19 to vote, adding almost two million men to the electorate.

The government’s change in attitude towards women and the vote may, in part, be attributable to women who had promoted suffrage and stepped down from that platform to aid the war efforts, which was still underway during debates on the bill. Others have seen the bill as rewarding women for their efforts during World War I, when over two million women assumed jobs that were traditionally filled only by men. These roles, however, were primarily filled by women who remained disenfranchised. As can be seen above, many other factors also influenced the legislation, including the significant groundwork that occurred before the war, a wish from both sides not to return to the militant methods of the suffragettes, and a general shift in social attitudes.

Result of the Representation of the People Act 1918

The Representation of the People Act 1918 enfranchised approximately 8.5 million women for the first time. This comprised around 40% of women across the UK, who were eligible to vote for the first time in the “Victory” general election on December 14, 1918. The result of the act in the government was uncertainty caused by concern not only over how the first women to vote would do so, but also over logistical issues, such as updating the electoral register and how to store the large volume of extra ballot papers. Despite the tireless work over the previous century by women’s suffrage organizations to ensure that women could vote, the election saw the lowest turnout ever recorded. While the 1918 Act was welcomed by many, a significant number of women were still unable to vote and continued to press the government for change, which happened over the following decade.

Categories: Research & Litigation

The Women’s Movement to Gain the Parliamentary Vote, Part 1

In Custodia Legis - Tue, 03/31/2020 - 8:45am

The following is a guest post by Clare Feikert-Ahalt, foreign law specialist for the United Kingdom at the Law Library of Congress. This is the first post in a two-part series.

Voting rights were greatly extended to all people, both men and women, across Great Britain in the 19th and early 20th century. In 1832, the Representation of the People Act, commonly referred to as the Great Reform Act, was passed. This act reformed the distribution of parliamentary seats, provided for a system of voter registration, and extended the vote to more men, notably shop keepers, small land owners and tenant farmers, increasing the number of eligible male voters from 509,000 to 721,000.

Mrs. Emmeline Pankhurst. Bain News Service. 1912. Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division. http://hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/ggbain.12112

The Great Reform Act specifically excluded women from voting by defining voters as “male persons”, and the first petition on women’s suffrage also occurred in 1832. It took another 35 years for the first serious debate on women’s suffrage to occur in Parliament. In 1867, amid concerns that the Interpretation Act 1850 could be used to mean the term “man” applied to women, an amendment to replace the word “man” with “person” in the Representation of the People Act 1867 was debated, but later defeated, with 196 votes against and 73 votes for the amendment. In 1867 and 1884, further Reform Acts were enacted, which extended the vote to cover 60% of men but, despite the efforts for women’s suffrage, did not include women. Many petitions to provide for women’s suffrage were introduced on an almost annual basis in Parliament from 1870 onwards.

In 1868, the Court of Common Pleas heard the case of Chorlton v Lings where, as was feared by some MPs, it was argued that the Interpretation Act 1850 provided the term “man” in the Representation of the People Act 1867 “shall be deemed and taken to include females … unless the contrary is expressly provided” and meant that women who otherwise met the eligibility requirements could vote. The court held that women were subject to a legal incapacity from voting at general elections and that the term “man” in the Representation of People Act was not to be interpreted to include women.

Organizations for Women’s Voting Rights

Supporters of women’s suffrage in England were first recorded as forming groups in 1866 with the Women’s Suffrage Committee. This was followed by a number of other suffrage groups forming over the next fifty years. In 1889, the Women’s Franchise League was formed with the aim of securing voting rights for single, married, and widowed women. The National Union of Women’s Suffrage Societies, led by Millicent Fawcett, was a non-militant group founded in 1897 as an umbrella organization for regional societies that covered women’s suffrage. This group has been described as “instrumental in building up the legal and constitutional support for the enfranchisement of women.” It was not just women who organized to secure their rights to vote. A number of men were also involved in the cause of women’s suffrage. The Men’s League for Women’s Suffrage was formed in 1909, although its activities were effectively stopped at the outbreak of World War I, when conscription removed large numbers of its members.

The suffrage campaigns started out using peaceful means of campaign to raise attention to, and support for, their cause but, after decades of disappointment over the government’s failure to progress bills through Parliament, the early 1900s saw a marked increase in the number of protests, and in 1905 some suffrage organizations turned to militant activities. At this point, two terms started to be used for women who fought for the vote. Suffragettes was used for suffrage supporters who used militant actions, and suffragists was used for supporters who were non-militant campaigners, although the government frequently used the terms interchangeably.

Significant Militant Suffragette Activities

“Frustration continued in the movement at the lack of progress by government on conciliation bills. In retaliation, suffragettes waged unprecedented arson campaigns on both public and private property” to try and secure the vote for women. One of the more militant and well known branches of the suffragette movement was the Women’s Social and Political Union (WSPU), formed by Emmaline and Christabel Pankhurst in Manchester in 1903. The WSPU later moved to London in 1906 in order to lobby Parliament more effectively. It became a prominent militant branch of the suffragettes, with the motto “deeds, not words.” Its actions led to intense police surveillance and investigations and resulted in a significant amount of documentation and evidence of their activities, which included demonstrations, property damage, arson, tax evasion, and the disruption of transportation.

In 1905, Christabel Pankhurst was the first suffragette recorded as being imprisoned for suffrage activities. The Mud March, the first large procession organized by the National Union of Women’s Suffrage Societies, occurred in 1907. In October 1908, the suffragettes encouraged the public to invade the House of Commons and 60,000 people gathered for a “rush on Parliament,” but the police managed to maintain the cordon around Parliament, using what some described as brutal methods, and kept the public out. Later that month, the suffragette banner was unfurled from the Ladies’ Gallery in the Houses of Parliament, and suffragettes chained themselves to a heavy metal grill that divided women from the Commons Chamber below. July 1909 saw the first hunger strike that led to forced feeding of imprisoned suffragettes. These hunger strikes were to continue until 1913 when, due to widespread use of hunger strikes among suffragette prisoners and public outcry to the forced feeding of these prisoners, the government enacted the Prisoners’ Temporary Discharge for Ill-health Act. The act, which was frequently referred to as the “Cat and Mouse Act,” provided for the release of prisoners who were on a hunger strike until they had regained their health, at which point they would be arrested and imprisoned again to continue their sentences.

In 1911, many suffragettes boycotted the census in protest, stating that if they did not count to have the vote, then they would not be counted on the census. One census in London reported that approximately 500 women and 70 men were present at the Aldwych Skating Rink to avoid participating in the census. Others spoiled the census forms. Louisa Burnham spoiled hers by writing “If I am intelligent enough to fill in this Census Form I can surely make a [sic] X on a Ballot Paper” across half of the paper.

Black Friday demonstrations outside of Parliament occurred in November 1910, after a general election was called and a Conciliation Bill, which would have provided limited voting rights for women, was dropped. The demonstration involved over 300 suffragettes marching to Parliament Square, where police had preemptively cordoned off the area. The demonstration resulted in violence and the arrest of 115 women and four men.

During the 1910 general election, suffragettes encouraged attendance of its members at polling booths to protest the exclusion of women and claim that the elections were invalid as qualified people were restrained from voting. In March 1912, after frustration over the lack of impact of protests and demonstrations on the development of legislation, the WSPU increased their militant activities and engaged in an organized campaign of smashing windows across London’s West End, leading to 220 arrests. In June 1913, one of the most famous acts of the suffragette movement occurred when Emily Davidson ran out in front of the King’s horse at the Epsom Derby and was killed. There has since been some doubt and questions raised as to whether this was an intentional act to further the women’s suffrage cause, a suicide attempt, or a tragic mistake in timing of crossing the track.

The second part of “The Women’s Movement to Gain the Parliamentary Vote” will be published tomorrow on In Custodia Legis.

Categories: Research & Litigation

Ask-a-Librarian: We Are Here for You

In Custodia Legis - Mon, 03/30/2020 - 7:59am

This guest post is by the chief of the Law Library’s Public Services Division, Andrew Winston. Andrew has written several posts for the blog, including The Constitution Annotated–Impeachment ClausesFederal Courts Web Archive LaunchedA Visit to the Peace Palace Library, and The Revised Statutes of the United States: Predecessor to the U.S. Code.

Anna Price, legal reference librarian, at the Law Library of Congress Reading Room reference desk. Photo by Barbara Bavis. [Note: the photo is for illustrative purposes only; no staff are currently working in the Reading Room.]

Our reading room is closed, college campuses are quiet, and schools are empty. Learning, however, still continues. The Law Library wants to make sure that researchers know that we are still here for you, albeit online (and, alas, without the benefit of access to our print collection at the present).

If you’ve never taken advantage of our Ask-a-Librarian service, allow us to introduce you!

Through our online reference service, we can help you with:

  • Legal and legislative research assistance for US federal and state, foreign, international, and comparative law
  • Queries on resources unique to the Law Library of Congress

We typically respond within five business days (often faster!).

We can assist you by directing you to resources that may help answer your question or advance your research. However, there are a few things we cannot help you with:

  • Providing legal advice, interpretation, or analysis which could be interpreted as the practice of law (that includes interpreting pending or enacted laws and how they affect you)
  • Performing research for you or compiling bibliographies or legislative histories
  • Providing answers for student assignments

If you can’t find a resource on the Law Library website on your own, consider reaching out to us via Ask-a-Librarian. We’re here to help!

By the way, our colleagues in other parts of the Library of Congress are also here to help! Reference librarians from across the Library are monitoring all the Ask-a-Librarian sites and welcome your questions on other topics, too.

Categories: Research & Litigation

New Report Published: Airport Noise Regulations

In Custodia Legis - Fri, 03/27/2020 - 3:05pm

The Homestead, Hot Springs, Virginia. Airport, Gottscho-Schleisner Collection, Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division. //hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/gsc.5a12894.

As airlines and airports are limiting operations across the globe, many airports are significantly less busy and noisy than usual. However, they are not completely quiet and there are reports that some commercial airplanes continue to fly, without passengers.

In a recently-published report, Airport Noise Regulations, the Law Library of Congress looks at national strategies and rules for reducing noise from civil airports, including building regulations and tax penalties for airlines and airports that violate set noise level thresholds. The reports covers France, Germany, Italy, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, the United Kingdom, as well as the European Union. Although all jurisdictions surveyed subscribe to the “balanced approach” of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), they have used different measures and approaches to attain the same goal of limiting and reducing the number of people affected by significant aircraft noise. We hope you find it interesting!

You can also search the Current Legal Topics or Comprehensive Index of Legal Reports pages for additional reports from the Law Library. To receive alerts when new reports are published, you can subscribe to email updates and the RSS feed for Law Library Reports (click the “subscribe” button on the Law Library’s website.

And please remember, you can always contact us via Ask a Librarian if you have a foreign or US law question.

Categories: Research & Litigation

New Report Compares Regulation of Gender Equality in the Middle East and North Africa

In Custodia Legis - Thu, 03/26/2020 - 9:00am

A recent Law Library of Congress report, Legal Provisions on Gender Equality, examines the legal provisions governing inheritance rights, the legal age of marriage, and the transmittal of citizenship through the mother in 18 Middle Eastern and North African countries. The countries surveyed include Israel, Iran, and 16 Arab countries (Algeria, Bahrain, Egypt, Jordan, Iraq, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Morocco, Oman, Qatar, Syria, Tunisia, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and Yemen).

Boiling over, by Mabel Lucie Attwell (May 30, 1914), Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress, https://www.loc.gov/item/2011649789/

According to the report, constitutional provisions promoting the principle of gender equality may be found in many Arab countries. Gender equality in these countries, however, is usually subject to the standards of Islamic law that do not give women equal status with men. Israel does not have a one-document constitution but its Proclamation of Independence guarantees “complete equality . . . irrespective of religion, race, or sex.”

The report notes that Arab countries and Iran apply Islamic law to matters of inheritance. Under this law, a woman’s share of an inheritance is generally half that of a man. Israel is the only country in the Middle East that does not differentiate between males and females with regard to inheritance.

The Israeli Citizenship Law similarly does not differentiate between a husband and wife for purposes of acquisition of citizenship based on marriage to an Israeli citizen, nor does it differentiate between the parents based on their gender or marital status for purposes of conferring citizenship on a child. In contrast, Jordan, Qatar, and Lebanon do not allow mothers to transmit citizenship to their children. Countries such as Libya, the United Arab Emirates, and Bahrain, condition such transmission on the child’s father being unknown or stateless. In Iran, women were unable to transmit citizenship to their children until the approval of a law allowing this by Iran’s Guardian Council in early October 2019.

Age of marriage laws in the countries surveyed vary. Underage marriage is allowed by the religious courts of many Arab countries. In Bahrain, the minimum age for marriage is 16 for females, while Yemen allow females as young as nine years old to marry. In Iran, the minimum age of marriage for females is 13 with marriages at an even younger age requiring approval by the child’s guardian and a court. In Israel, the minimum age of marriage is 18, and marrying, officiating, or assisting in the marriage of a minor in the absence of judicial authorization granted under special circumstances is a criminal offense punishable by imprisonment or a fine. The criminal liability associated with underage marriage in Israel, however, does not affect the validity of the marriage where it is recognized under the personal status law of the parties.

The report explains that Israel’s Family Violence Prevention Law, 1991-5751, authorizes courts and religious tribunals to issue protective orders, order participation in treatment plans, and confiscate weapons to protect women and other family members from domestic violence. Unlike Israel, Iran, Egypt, Qatar, Oman, and Yemen do not have anti-domestic violence laws. While a number of Arab countries have adopted provisions criminalizing marital rape, countries such as Jordan and Lebanon have not done so.

We invite you to review the information provided in our report. You can also browse the Current Legal Topics or Comprehensive Index of Legal Reports pages for additional reports from the Law Library on related issues such as: Constitutional Provisions on Women’s Equality (July 2011); Inheritance Laws in the 19th and 20th Centuries (Mar. 2015); and Spousal Agreements for Couples Not Belonging to Any Religion—A Civil Marriage Option? (Sept. 2015). To receive alerts when new reports are published, you can subscribe to email updates and the RSS feed for Law Library Reports (click the “subscribe” button on the Law Library’s website).

Categories: Research & Litigation

Legal Research Reports: Legal Provisions on Gender Equality

Law Library of Congress: Research Reports - Wed, 03/25/2020 - 10:00am

The Law Library of Congress is proud to present the report, Legal Provisions on Gender Equality.

This report discusses the legal provisions governing inheritance rights, the legal age of marriage, and the transmittal of citizenship through the mother in 18 Middle Eastern and North African countries, including Israel, Iran, and 16 Arab countries (Algeria, Bahrain, Egypt, Jordan, Iraq, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Morocco, Oman, Qatar, Tunisia, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and Yemen). To the extent applicable, the report also discusses constitutional provisions promoting gender equality in these countries.

This report is one of many prepared by the Law Library of Congress. Visit the Comprehensive Index of Legal Reports page for a complete listing of reports and the Current Legal Topics page for our highlighted and newer reports. 

Categories: Research & Litigation

Join Us for an “Orientation to Legal Research” Webinar on Federal Regulations

In Custodia Legis - Tue, 03/24/2020 - 8:46am

The following is coauthored by Anna Price, a legal reference librarian at the Law Library of Congress.

Harris & Ewing, photographer. “Wage-Hour Administrator and assistants. Washington, D.C., Sept. 14…” 1938. Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division. https://www.loc.gov/item/2016874005/

Recently, the Law Library of Congress started a new webinar series on U.S. laws and legal resources. We welcome you to attend the next entry in this series, regarding tracing federal regulations, which will take place on Thursday, April 9, 2020, from 11 a.m. to 12 p.m.

This webinar will provide an overview of U.S. federal regulations, including information about the notice and comment rulemaking process, the publication and citation of regulations, and the tracing of regulations from the Code of Federal Regulations, to the proposed rule in the Federal Register, to the regulation’s docket.

This webinar will be presented by the Law Library’s bibliographic and research instruction librarian, Barbara Bavis. Barbara holds a BA in history from Duke University, a JD from the University of North Carolina School of Law, and an Master of Science in Library and Information Science (MSLIS) with a specialization in law librarianship from Catholic University.

To register for the webinar, please click here or call (202) 707-5080.

Categories: Research & Litigation

Congress.gov Keeps You Up To Date With Email Alerts

In Custodia Legis - Mon, 03/23/2020 - 6:26pm

Our latest Congress.gov release concerns a lot of work on back end infrastructure that is being built to support future enhancements, such as adding new collections and alerts to the site. Since this work concerns building support for future alerts, I thought this would be a good opportunity to review the many alerts that Congress.gov currently offers.

Member profile page alerts. If you click “get alerts” at the top of a member profile page, you will receive an email each time a member sponsors or cosponsors a piece of legislation.

Saved search alerts. You can choose to save a search, and then choose to receive email alerts when there has been a change to your results set. Also, if you perform your search from the legislation homepage search form or the advanced search form, you can track specific changes to legislation.

Bill activity alerts. If you click “get alerts” at the top of the page for a bill that is in the current Congress, and which has not yet passed both chambers of Congress, you will receive an email each time there is activity on a bill or a new summary.

You can receive an alert when new activity is taken on a bill or when there is a new summary.

Congressional Record alerts. If you choose to get an alert from the Congressional Record, you will be alerted by email whenever a new issue of the Congressional Record is available.

Committee Schedule alerts. You can click “get weekly alerts” at the top of a committee schedule page and receive an email every Monday with the committee schedule for the coming week.

You can receive an alert each Monday when the committee schedule for the upcoming week.

Nomination alerts. You can click “get alerts” on a nomination to receive an email when new actions are taken on a nomination.

In addition to email alerts, Congress.gov offers a variety of RSS feeds that will let you know what the top ten, most-viewed bills are for a given week; what is on the House and Senate floor for a given day; when a bill is presented to the president for a signature; when new features are added to Congress.gov; and more.

Categories: Research & Litigation

Coronavirus Resource Guide

In Custodia Legis - Fri, 03/20/2020 - 8:37am

This is intended as a guide to laws, regulations and executive actions in the United States, at both the federal and the state level, and in various countries with respect to the new coronavirus and its spread. We are also including links to Congressional Research Service (CRS) reports that provide information to Congress about the novel coronavirus. In addition, we provide links to relevant federal agency websites. We intend to update this guide on at least a weekly basis for the immediate future.

United States Legislation

H.R.6201, Families First Coronavirus Response Act (signed by the President on 3/18/2020)

Public Law 116-123, Coronavirus Preparedness and Response Supplemental Appropriations Act 

Congress.gov

Proposed legislation relating to the novel coronavirus can be searched through the Library’s Congress.gov website. You can search for legislation through the homepage or explore other Search methods. Here is a broad starter query that finds current legislation about COVID-19  You can then set up Alerts so you are notified any time there is an action on a bill.

You can also use Congress.gov to explore the Most-Viewed bills, check the Congressional Record or look up your members.

Presidential Actions

  • Proclamation No. 9996, 85 F.R. 15341: Suspension of Entry of Immigrants and Nonimmigrants of Persons Who Pose a Risk of Transmitting 2019 Novel Coronavirus (applied to persons traveling to the U.S. who have been in the United Kingdom and the Republic of Ireland within the preceding 14 days)
  • Proclamation No. 9994, 85 F.R. 15337:  Declaring a National Emergency Concerning the Novel Coronavirus Disease (Covid-19) Outbreak
  • Presidential Memorandum, 85 F.R. 15049: Making General Use Respirators Available
  • Proclamation No.9993, 85 F.R. 15045 : Suspension of Entry of Immigrants and Nonimmigrants of Persons Who Pose a Risk of Transmitting 2019 Novel Coronavirus (applied to persons traveling to the U.S. who have been in the Schengen Area within the preceding 14 days)
  • Proclamation No.9992, 85 F.R. 12855: Suspension of Entry of Immigrants and Nonimmigrants of Persons Who Pose a Risk of Transmitting 2019 Novel Coronavirus (applied to persons traveling to the U.S. who have been in the Islamic Republic of Iran within the preceding 14 days)
  • Proclamation No. 9984, 85 F.R. 6709: Suspension of Entry of Immigrants and Nonimmigrants of Persons Who Pose a Risk of Transmitting 2019 Novel Coronavirus (applied to persons traveling to the U.S. who have been the People’s Republic of China in the preceding 14 days, excluding Macau and Hong Kong)

U.S. Government Agencies

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Coronavirus.gov

Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Coronavirus Tax Relief

U.S. Department of Treasury Deferral of 2019 Tax Payments

State Government Information

You can use the Law Library’s Guide to Law Online for U.S. States and Territories to locate information about state actions taken in response to the novel coronavirus. Each state or territory has its own page in the Guide: see for example New Mexico. Each state page is organized in the same way with links divided into the various categories such as Constitution or Executive. Links to a state governor’s office and state administrative regulations can be found under the Executive header on each page while existing laws and pending state legislation can be found under the Legislative header .

The American Institute of CPAs (AICPA) has created a page with information about State Tax Filing Guidance during the novel cronavirus Pandemic.

Congressional Research Service (CRS) Reports

CRS reports can be accessed and searched from a link on the Congress.gov homepage. To date, CRS has published 43 reports relating to the Coronavirus. We are listing some of the more recent reports below but here is a link to the full list of reports.

Law Library Posts

Law Library Global Legal Monitor Articles

Users can search for GLM articles using Topics including “Epidemics” or “Infectious or parasitic diseases.” Users can also set up RSS feeds by Topic or Country and receive an alert when a new article is published.

Law Library of Congress Legal Reports

  • Legal Responses to Health Emergencies (25 countries).  This report was published five years ago and we suggest you check our GLM and blog articles for additional information about new laws and regulations issued for any of the countries covered in this report.

As always, if you have any questions, please contact us through Ask a Librarian.

Categories: Research & Litigation

Historical Law Library Reports to be Published Online

In Custodia Legis - Fri, 03/20/2020 - 8:04am

Compulsory Voting in Various European Countries. Washington, D.C.: Law Library of Congress, 1965.

The Law Library of Congress has digitized and published its first batch of historical legal reports as part of a multi-year effort to archive and share thousands of these reports with researchers and other members of the public.

These first 250 digitized reports are now available through the Publications of the Law Library of Congress collection, which features research reports and other publications on a wide range of legal topics. The reports were prepared by the Law Library of Congress in response to requests or recurring interest from Congress and other federal government entities on issues concerning foreign, comparative, and international law (FCIL).

In addition to current research products on FCIL topics, this collection includes legal reports that have been previously unavailable to the public. The reports contain analysis of foreign and international law from the period of the 1940s to the present, and will be released in phases that include both digitized paper reports as well as older born-digital reports that have not previously been made available online through law.gov. Please note: these reports are provided for reference purposes only. They do not constitute legal advice and do not represent the official opinion of the United States Government. The information provided reflects research undertaken as of the date of writing, which has not been updated unless specifically noted.

This project presents the opportunity to engage new audiences with works authored by the Law Library over the last several decades. It will expand digital access not only for the legal historians, policymakers, scholars, and foreign legal specialists who currently refer to Law Library reports, but also for students of history, government, public policy, and international relations, as well as to interested members of the public who would benefit from the ability to sort, browse, and download these historical reports all in one online collection.

As part of a joint effort to provide increased access to Library-generated research reports, the Law Library is proud to work with the U.S. Government Publishing Office (GPO), who will provide full bibliographic records for these newly available reports. In addition to their availability on loc.gov, these reports will also be discoverable through the Catalog of U.S. Government Publications (CGP).

Legislation Concerning Wiretapping and Eavesdropping in Near Eastern and African Countries. Washington, D.C.: Law Library of Congress, 1965.

Reports released in this first batch cover a range of legal topics from regions across the globe, from Eastern and Western Asia to Europe and Africa, and are mostly concentrated in the 1960s-1980s. One word of caution about the legibility of some of these older reports: many were digitized from thin, carbon paper copies and have not been found in any other printed format. In many cases, these historical copies represent the only known remaining versions of the reports, and the presentation quality is not what is available in contemporary Law Library reports. Please note that, in this batch as well as in future updates to the collection, there will be a wide range in the original quality of the older reports released, not due to the quality of the scanning, but due to the poor print quality of the copies of the original reports themselves.

Users can now browse this growing trove of historical legal research and analysis through the Law Library of Congress’s Digital Collections page, and can look forward to seeing updates on a regular basis. New and recent reports will continue to be published on law.gov, but will later be available in the digital collection as well. A complete list of reports currently hosted on law.gov is available through the Comprehensive Index of Legal Reports and current legal reports are available on the Current Legal Topics section of law.gov.

Categories: Research & Litigation

FALQs: India’s Government Response to COVID-19 (Novel Coronavirus)

In Custodia Legis - Thu, 03/19/2020 - 9:05am

The following is a guest post by Tariq Ahmad, a foreign law specialist in the Global Legal Research Directorate of the Law Library of Congress. Tariq has previously contributed posts on Islamic Law in Pakistan – Global Legal Collection Highlights, the Law Library’s 2013 Panel Discussion on Islamic LawSedition Law in India, and FALQ posts on Proposals to Reform Pakistan’s Blasphemy Laws and Article 370 and the Removal of Jammu and Kashmir’s Special Status.

The Law Library of Congress has published a number of blog posts and Global Legal Monitor articles related to COVID-19 responses in different jurisdictions.

This post provides an overview of some of India’s responses to Covid-19 (or novel coronavirus) by the union (or central) government and at the state level. According to the World Health Organization (WHO) as of March 19, 2020, ““166 COVID-19 cases (141 Indians and 25 foreign nationals) have been reported in 18 states/union territories. These include 15 who have recovered and 3 reported deaths. Hospital isolation of all confirmed cases, tracing and home quarantine of the contacts is ongoing.” The states of Maharastra, Kerala, Karnataka and Uttar Pradesh appear to be the most affected.

Novel Coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 (NIH Image Gallery Feb. 21, 2020), used under Creative Commons license 1.0)

1What is the constitutional and legal framework for the management of epidemics and health emergencies?

India is a union of twenty-eight states and seven territories, with a constitutional division of legislative responsibilities between the union government and the states that are enumerated by legislative subject lists in the Seventh Schedule of India’s Constitution. Both the union government and the state governments are constitutionally empowered to legislate on matters related to public health. The union law deals with port quarantine, including in connection with seamen’s and marine hospitals, and interstate quarantine. State legislatures may provide for matters relating to public health and sanitation, hospitals, dispensaries, and prevention of animal diseases. The union government and states have concurrent jurisdiction to prevent transmission from one state to another of infectious or contagious diseases or pests affecting humans, animals, or plants.

The Epidemic Diseases Act 1897, a 125 year old British colonial era law, is the main legislative framework at the union level for the prevention and spread of dangerous epidemic diseases. It was enacted to “tackle the epidemic of bubonic plague that broke out in the then Bombay state at the time.” According to one news report, it has been “historically used to contain the spread of various diseases — swine flu, cholera, malaria and dengue.” Section 2A of the Act empowers the union government to take necessary measures and prescribe regulations to deal with dangerous epidemic disease at ports of entry and exit. Under section 2, states are empowered to take special measures or promulgate regulations to deal with epidemics within their jurisdictions. Thus, any state government, when satisfied that any part of its territory is threatened with an outbreak of a dangerous disease, and upon determination that the ordinary provisions of the law are insufficient for the purpose, may adopt or authorize all measures, including inspection of traveling persons and quarantine, to prevent the outbreak of the disease. Section 3 stipulates that any person who disobeys any regulation or order made under the 1897 Act may be charged with an offense under the Indian Penal Code and a person is liable, upon conviction, to a sentence of simple imprisonment for one month, a fine, or both. Section 4 states that no suit or legal proceeding will be initiated against any person or authority for anything done, or in good faith intended to be done, under the Act.

The law has been described as “archaic,” having “major limitations” including placing “too much emphasis on isolation or quarantine measures, but is silent on the other scientific methods of outbreak prevention and control, such as vaccination, surveillance and organised public health response.” Nor, according to one report, does it have provisions “to speedily set up management systems required for a coordinated and concerted response.” Some states have amended the law as far as it is applicable in their jurisdictions with “regard to introduction of isolation or quarantine of infected patients, travel or movement restrictions, prohibition of mass gatherings, closure of educational and other institutions, compulsory vaccination, etc.” In addition, some states have their own health acts, but as one expert has put it, these vary in “quality and content” and are “policing” acts aimed at controlling epidemics and do not deal with coordinated and scientific responses to prevent and tackle outbreaks.”

2What measures has the government taken to contain the virus?

On the directions of Prime Minister Modi, a high level Group of Ministers (GOM) was “constituted to review, monitor and evaluate the preparedness and measures taken regarding management” of novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in the country. The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW) has been coordinating the efforts of the central government “in order to mitigate the impact of the outbreak in India.” On March 11, 2020, the GOM decided that the MoHFW should advise all state and union territories to invoke section 2 of the Epidemic Disease Act, 1897, so that all advisories being issued by the MoHFW, the states and union territories, are enforceable. On the same day, the union government invoked section 69 of the Disaster Management Act, 2005, to delegate powers of the Home Secretary, who is chairman of the National Executive Committee (NEC), which is a coordinating and monitoring body for disaster management, to the secretary of the MoHFW. Unlike the Epidemic Disease Act, this law “provides for an exhaustive administrative set up for disaster preparedness.” On March 14 the union government declared COVID-19 as a notified disaster and assistance is available under the State Disaster Response Fund (SDRF), which was established also under the Disaster Management Act.

Here are just some of the guidelines and guidance recently issued by the MoHFW (for a complete list click here):

Some states and union territories have also issued emergency measures and regulations (Karnataka being the first State to issue regulations) for their own jurisdictions pursuant to the Epidemic Disease Act to deal with COVID-19:

These regulations and measures vary but can include provisions on duties and obligations of hospitals and laboratories, powers of district administrations to implement containment measures (sealing off geographical areas, barring entry or exit of containment area, designating quarantine facilities, and closure of schools, offices, etc. and banning mass gatherings), and combatting COVID-19 related misinformation. The WHO also stated that various measures have been taken by central and state/union territory ministries “in terms of strengthened community surveillance, quarantine facilities, isolation wards, adequate PPEs, trained manpower, rapid response teams for management of COVID-19.”

3What are some of the travel and other visa restrictions that India has imposed in response to COVID-19?

India has been issuing travel advisories from January 17, 2020, with increasingly more stringent travel restrictions as the virus grew more virulent and global. On March 11, 2020, the government of India imposed visa and other travel restrictions that are enumerated in a consolidated advisory published by the Ministry of Home Affairs’ Bureau of Immigration (the bureau also has an FAQ document on the new restrictions). The advisory suspends most visas of those who have not entered into India, including all tourist visas, and went into effect on March 13, 2020. It does not apply to visas issued to official passport holders, such as diplomats, members of the UN or other international organizations, those on “[e]mployment, project visas and those who are operating aircrew of scheduled commercial airlines.”

Under the new advisory, travel to India for Overseas Citizenship of India (OCI) card holders is also suspended until April 15, 2020. This does not apply to OCI card holders who are already in India presently. Any foreign national (including OCI cardholder) who “intends to travel to India for compelling reasons may contact the nearest Indian Mission for a fresh visa.”

The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare has also issued compliance restrictions that must be followed:

i. Passengers traveling from/having visited Italy or Republic of Koreaand desirous of entering India will need certificate of having tested negative for COVID-19 from the designated laboratories authorized by the health authorities of these countries. This is in enforcement since 0000 hrs of 10th March, 2020 and is a temporary measure till cases of COVID-19 subside.

ii. All incoming travelers, including Indian nationals, arriving from or having visited China, Italy, Iran, Republic of Korea, France, Spain and Germany after 15th February, 2020 shall be quarantined for a minimum period of 14 days. This will come into effect from 1200 GMT on 13th March 2020 at the port of departure.

iii. Incoming travelers, including Indian nationals, are advised to avoid non-essential travel and are informed that they can be quarantined for a minimum of 14 days on their arrival in India.

iv.  Indian nationals are further strongly advised to refrain from travelling to China, Italy, Iran, Republic of Korea, Japan, France, Spain and Germany.

Additional travel advisories published on March 16 and 17 have temporarily prohibited travelers from entering India from Afghanistan, Philippines, Malaysia, the European Union, the European Free Trade Association, Turkey and United Kingdom and expanded compulsory quarantine for additional countries. As the situation and response are changing daily, for a complete list of travel advisories visit the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare website and for the current travel and visa restrictions related to Covid-19 visit the Bureau of Immigration website.

Categories: Research & Litigation

FALQS: Qatar’s New Counterterrorism Law

In Custodia Legis - Wed, 03/18/2020 - 12:00pm

The following is a guest post by George Sadek, a foreign law specialist at the Law Library of Congress who covers Arabic-speaking countries.

Map of Qatar. Central Intelligence Agency, 1995. Library of Congress Geography and Map Division, http://hdl.loc.gov/loc.gmd/g7580.ct001693.

The Middle East region is a theater for the activities of multiple terrorist groups. Accordingly, countries in the region, especially Arab countries, have adopted various new laws in an effort to combat the problem. In this post, I discuss a new counterterrorism law enacted by the State of Qatar. It is the latest counterterrorism legislation issued by an Arab country.

1. What is the aim of the new law?

On December 27, 2019, the Amir of the State of Qatar, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, issued Law No. 27 of 2019 on Combating Terrorism. The Law is a comprehensive legal instrument aimed at combating terrorism in Qatar and abroad. It enhances the penalties imposed on acts of terror in the Penal Code and classifies any violent acts against a government facility to be acts of terrorism. It also enables the prosecution of Qatari citizens who commit acts of terror or join terrorist groups either abroad or in the country. Finally, it establishes the National Counter Terrorism Committee and the National Sanctions List of terrorist persons and entities.

2.  How does the Law define terrorism?

Law No. 27 of 2019 consists of 42 articles. Article 1 covers various terms and definitions, such as a terrorist crime, a terrorist entity, punishment list, financial assets, freezing of assets, conventional weapons, unconventional weapons, financial institutions, non-government organizations, legal person, and natural person. The Law follows the definitions used by International Convention for the Suppression of the Financing of Terrorism for the terms “terrorism” and “financial assets that belong to terrorist entities or persons.”

The Law defines a terrorist crime as a violent act causing injury and death of people when the purpose of such act is to terrorize a group of people or to obligate a government or an international organization to act or refrain from acting. The Law also defines an act of terror as a violent crime committed against a government facility. (Art. 1.)

The Law defines financial assets that belong to a terrorist entity or person as assets of every kind, whether tangible or intangible, movable or immovable, legal documents or instruments in any form, including electronic or digital, evidencing title to, or interest in, such assets. (Id).

3.  What is the scope of application of the Law?

The provisions of the Law apply to Qatari citizens who commit acts of terrorism inside the country and abroad. (Art. 2(2).)

4.  What are the main crimes and their penalties under the Law?

The law enhances the penalties contained in the Penal Code pertaining to crimes of terrorism. If the sentence for a terrorist offense was previously life imprisonment, the Law increases the punishment to the death penalty. (Art. 3(1).) Likewise, life imprisonment replaces a term of imprisonment of 15 years. (Art. 3(2).) Finally, a penalty of 15 years of imprisonment replaces a term of imprisonment for 10 years. (Art. 3(3).)

Crimes punished by death and life imprisonment

Under the Law, individuals who use the internet in committing or plotting a terrorist act can be punished by death or life imprisonment. (Art. 4 (para. 1).) Life imprisonment also applies to individuals who join terrorist organizations (art. 4 (para. 2)); individuals who supply terrorists with the technology to commit a terrorist act (art. 5); and individuals who coerce someone else to join a terrorist group (art. 6). A person who provides any form of training to others in order to carry out a terrorist crime must be punished by life imprisonment or a term of imprisonment of not less than 15 years. (Art. 8 (para. 1).)

In addition, if a person obtained or possessed an unconventional weapon to carry out a terrorist attack, he or she must be punished by imprisonment for life. (Art. 9 (para. 2).) (The Law defines unconventional weapon as nuclear, biological, and chemical weapons or substances that have the power to kill persons, or to cause dangerous harm to people, environment, and buildings.) Such a person must be punished by death if the attack resulted in deaths. (Art. 9 (para. 3).) Any person who kills a law enforcement officers must be punished by death. (Art. 14 (para. 4).) Life imprisonment applies to a person who kidnaps a law enforcement officer or one of the family members of a law enforcement officer. (Art. 14 (para. 2).)

Crimes punished by a term of imprisonment of 15 years

Any person who uses his managerial position in a non-government organization to entice other individuals to commit a terrorist act must be punished with a term of imprisonment between 10 and 15 years. (Art. 7.) The same penalty applies to any person who enables someone who committed a terrorist crime to escape (art. 10(3)) and to a person who received any training abroad from terrorist entities (art. 11 (para. 3)). If a person uses a conventional weapon (“cold weapons,” firearms, bombs, and C-4) to commit a terrorist act, he or she must be punished by a term of imprisonment between 5 and 15 years. (Art. 9 (para. 1).) Any person who hides weapons that will be used, or have already been used, in a terrorist crime must be punished by a term of imprisonment of between 15 years and life. (Art. 13.)

5.  What are the powers of the Public Prosecution under the Law?

The Public Prosecution has the right to investigate crimes of terrorism by ordering the audio and video surveillance of communications and obtaining access to information systems used by the suspected perpetrators. (Art. 24.) The Public Prosecution may also order that messages of all kinds, publications, parcels, and telegrams be impounded. (Art. 25.) Furthermore, the Public Prosecution may order the review or collection of any data or information relating to accounts, deposits, trusts, safe boxes, or any other transaction with banks or other financial institutions. (Art. 26.) If there is sufficient evidence of guilt of the accused person, the Public Prosecution may issue a temporary order preventing the accused person from disposing of his/her property or managing it, or to take any other provisional measures. The order may include the property of the spouse and minor children of the accused person. (Art. 27.)

Qatar law books at the Law Library of Congress. Photo by George Sadek.

6.  What is the National Counter Terrorism Committee?

The Law establishes “The National Counter Terrorism Committee at the Ministry of Interior.” Members of the Committee will be appointed by the Minister of Interior. (Art. 28.) The Committee is responsible for implementing the counterterrorism strategies of the State of Qatar and coordinating antiterrorism efforts carried out by different government bodies. The Committee is also in charge of public awareness campaigns educating the public about the dangers of terrorism. (Art. 29.)

7.  How does the Law regulate the statute of limitations for terrorist acts, and periods of pretrial detention?

Under the Law, there is no statute of limitation for terrorist crimes. (Art. 21.)

The pretrial detention period for terrorist crimes is 15 days, which can be extended. However, it must not exceed 180 days. (Art. 23.)

8.  What is the Sanctions List?

The Law establishes a “Sanctions List,” also known as the “Terrorist Designation List.” (Art. 31.) The List includes the names of individuals and entities suspected of; enabling and training terrorists or funding, sponsoring, carrying out, planning, promoting, and enticing crimes of terrorism. (Art. 32(2)(a).) Those crimes could be carried out against the interests of the State of Qatar inside the country or abroad. (Art. 32(2)(b).) The National Counter Terrorism Committee will publish the List on its website. (Art. 32(2)(c).) The Committee will also recommend the persons and entities to be included on the Sanctions List. Based on the suggestions of the Committee, the General Prosecutor will issue a decision to add those names to the list. (Art. 32(2).) The General Prosecutor will also send the names on the List to foreign countries and international organizations, including the U.N. Security Council. (Art. 33.)

An entity or a person on the List can submit a petition to the General Prosecutor to remove their name. The General Prosecutor must refer those petitions to the National Counter Terrorism Committee, which reviews them and gives its feedback. The General Prosecutor has the power to remove a person or entity’s name if there is no ground to keep their name on the List. (Art. 34.)

9.  What are the legal consequences of listing a natural or legal person on the Sanctions List?

Natural Person

Natural persons whose names are on the Sanctions List will be apprehended once they arrive in Qatar or leave the country. The person’s passport will be confiscated and his/her financial assets will be frozen. (Art. 38(1).)

Legal Person

The headquarters of a legal person on the Sanctions List will be shut down. All financial assets belong to the legal person will be frozen. Natural persons are prohibited from joining such a legal person or funding its activities. (Art. 38(2).) The Law defines “legal person” as any entity that establishes a working relationship with a financial institution and owns financial assets, including a company, institution, and non-government organization.

10.  How has the Law been received?

Legal scholars, such as Mohamed al Tamimi, have endorsed the Law. They consider that the Law assists Qatar to achieve its goal of combatting terrorism and terrorist entities by enhancing the penalties for the offense of recruiting people to join terrorist groups. Also, Nahar Rashed al Na’aimi, a Qatari attorney, has supported the measure adopted by the State of Qatar to create the National Counter Terrorism Committee to coordinate the efforts of different government agencies in combating terrorism and the recruitment of individuals to join terrorist groups abroad.

Another scholar, Abd Al Hasan Al Fatees, a professor at the University of Qatar College of Law, has stated that Law No. 27 of 2019 adheres to all international standards set forth by the UN conventions on combatting terrorism and terrorist financing. According to Fatees, the Law is one of the most advanced antiterrorism laws in the region.

Categories: Research & Litigation

Legal Research Reports: Airport Noise Regulations

Law Library of Congress: Research Reports - Wed, 03/18/2020 - 11:37am

The Law Library of Congress is proud to present the report, Airport Noise Regulations.

This multinational report on airport noise regulations surveys the laws of the European Union; six of its Member States (France, Germany, Italy, Portugal, Spain, and Sweden); and the United Kingdom.  Noise thresholds typically vary between the surveyed jurisdictions as well as between individual airports, taking into account both geographic and commercial interests. All jurisdictions surveyed require that noise from airports be taken into account when planning and zoning new residential areas and airports. Other methods for limiting noise levels include the imposition of taxes or fines on airlines or airports that violate established noise thresholds.

This report is one of many prepared by the Law Library of Congress. Visit the Comprehensive Index of Legal Reports page for a complete listing of reports and the Current Legal Topics page for our highlighted and newer reports. 

 

Categories: Research & Litigation

Join us for our first all virtual Herencia Transcribe-a-thon!

In Custodia Legis - Tue, 03/17/2020 - 4:13pm

Image detail from Royal Order of June 26, 1741 concerning payment of annuities by the city of Zaragoza in compliance with the regulations on this matter, approved and ratified on October 9, 1734. https://www.loc.gov/item/2018751786/

[Click here for the Spanish version of this post/Haz clic aquí para la versión en español.]

On Thursday, March 19, 2020, starting at 8:00 a.m. EDT we will be LIVE in a completely virtual Transcribe-a-thon for our new crowdsourcing campaign, Herencia: Centuries of Spanish Legal Documents. Participants can transcribe, review, and tag documents from our collection of Spanish Legal Documents, which contains print and manuscript documents from Spain from the 15th through the 19th centuries including royal decrees, papal bulls, legal opinions, judgments, and royal orders.

Here’s how you can get involved:

Visit our Herencia homepage to start transcribing documents here! 

Our staff from By the People and the Law Library of Congress will hold two sessions for WebEx Office Hours that volunteers can join and ask questions about the collection and the transcription process. These will be held from 12:00 p.m. to 1:00 p.m. and from 3:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.

For the 12:00 p.m. WebEx Office Hours Meeting, click here!

For the 3:00 p.m. WebEx Office Hours Meeting, click here!

You can ask questions, and learn more about the collection with hourly updates from our Twitter accounts at @LawLibCongress and @CROWD_LOC.

Join can also join the conversation on our History Hub page.

If you would like to participate you can learn more about transcribing this historical collection by watching our previous webinars:

How and Why to Transcribe Herencia / Password:  RtXH4sM@

Cómo y por qué transcribir Herencia / Contraseña: fQ7SJjZ@

How and Why to Host a By the People Transcribe-a-thon / Password: xPQ8gRM*

Como organizar un maratón de transcripciones de By the People / Contraseña: nGkERe3$

Categories: Research & Litigation

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