The impact of the pandemic on the legislative process

Within the research project started in 2005 at the NOVA School of Law, Lisbon, – Observatory of Portuguese Legislation – we were collecting data from 1976 (since the approval of Portuguese Constitution) to the present day, referring in particular to the volume of legislative production. This paper aims to analyse if the pandemic had effects on the production of legislation, in its number, but also in its comprehensibility. In fact, portuguese «COVID-19 legislation» had severeal amendments, which exacerbates the difficulty of implementation, as well as legal certainty. Furthermore, this paper analyses which legislator approved more laws during the emergency state, Parliament or Government, and the reasons for that division. Finally, the paper will reflect about the evolution of the legislation since 2020 until now. Had legislative production in Portugal returned to the pré-COVID era?

Plunging into the legal conundrum: how relevant are EU law sources in Portugal?

EU law is the law of the land in the Member States. It is a layer of federal law in the bulk of legal fields that structure the national legal orders. One of the persistent legal conundrums of European integration has been the share of EU law applicable in the Member States. In 2007, Roman Herzog and Lüder Gerken mentioned that in Germany 84% came from European sources. That would have meant the fulfilment of Jacques Delors’ prophecy made in 1988 that in ten years 80% of the Member States legislation in the economic and social fields would came from the EU. Recent studies have, however, estimated that EU law may after all correspond to 10% to 20% of the applicable law in the Member States. Beyond discussing the reasons for these variations in the measurement of the share of EU law in the Member States, this contribution showcases the information related to Portugal collected by the Observatory of the Portuguese Legislation.

Laboratory for the analysis of legislative production in the city of São Paulo (Brazil)

Brazil is a federative republic in which the municipalities have broad legislative and administrative powers, legislating on matters that concerns local interest. The São Paulo City Council, which is the local body of the Legislative Power, developed in partnership with the University of São Paulo a laboratory for the analysis of local legislative production. The laboratory offers public access to the Laws. The Municipality of São Paulo enacted a total of 4579 laws between 2000 and 2020. The retrospective (ex-post) analysis of the São Paulo’s legislation identified that in this period, 8% of the enacted laws did not produce effects due to lack of regulation, 20% of the laws submitted for sanction by the head of the Executive Branch received a full veto and 8% received a partial veto. The Judiciary invalidated 2% of the laws and 5% of the laws were revoked. The laboratory opens research perspectives on the impact of norms on strategic areas and specific thematic directions.

Penal Populism and the Quantity of Laws with Harsher Punishment in Japan

This paper analyses the Japanese lawmaking process of laws with harsher punishment from a quantitative perspective. While a tendency toward harsher punishment is common in advanced Western countries, a similar tendency in Japan has prompted scholarly discussion on whether it can be understood through the “penal-populism” framework. However, it lacks in systematic evidence. This paper extracts laws with harsher punishment from all legislation passed by the Japanese Diet from 1990 to 2016 (N=3427). By using the data, this paper examines the time-series variation of legislation with harsher punishment, compares legislation with harsher punishment and one without harsher punishment, and reviews policymakers' justifications of these laws. Through this analysis, this paper aims for constructing new explanatory framework of the severer criminal justice policy in Japan.

The numbers of legislation in democratic transitions

The numbers of legislative processes are, usually, less impressive in the experience of developing countries. However, they are not any less important. The quantity of legislation and other normative acts are evidence of the stability of successive political cycles. Over the years, these numbers are a relevant indicator of the sucess of political, one would hope, democratic transitions. The processes of Succesion of States opened by the decolonization of portuguese speaking countries, in Africa and Asia, are an interesting example of these trends over the last almost fifty years.