Outlining SSRN

Although it is now 10 years old, SSRN (the Social Sciences Research Network) has really only become popular for lawyers (at least outside of the United States) in the past 2-3 years. The rise of SSRN has been accompanied in Europe in particular by some puzzlement and the purpose of this post is to give a brief overview of the workings of the Network and the reason people publish on it.

SSRN is a mechanism by which one can publicise work and can be perhaps best described as a repository or a paper bank. Some people choose to put full-text papers on SSRN and some to merely put up abstracts. Some publishers have publishing relationships with SSRN so that papers published in their journals can be downloaded for a fee online either through the publishing house’s own online database or through SSRN, although the vast majority of papers posted there are available for free.

Developing an SSRN page is a good way to boost one’s name-recognition (the site has a high ‘google’ rank) but also offers a shortcut in terms of publication. First of all it allows for the online publication of conference papers or unpublished works and readers frequently offer feedback on articles to the author thus making them stronger when it comes time for journal-submission. In addition, SSRN has its own ‘journals’ – essentially email lists that allow for the dissemination of work. These journals are organised in various ways – by topic area, by institution etc – but anyone can sign up to them and in that way keep abreast of contemporary scholarship in various areas of interest to them as well as using them as a way of advertising their own work. Finally, SSRN also allows people the facility of submitting their work to law reviews (mostly US-based journals) and (hopefully) beginning the traditional publication process.

For these various reasons SSRN is becoming increasingly popular – particularly with younger scholars joining the academic job-market – although some wariness continues particularly among people working on particularly innovative ideas who are cautious of publishing their work online prior to journal-publication because of the (sometimes quite realistic) risk of plagiarism.

A number of CCJHR members have SSRN pages – Dr. Siobhán Mullally, Dr. Shane Kilcommins, Dr. Darius Whelan, Prof. Maeve McDonagh, Fiona de Londras

Update If posting an accepted paper on SSRN it is advisable to ensure that the terms of your copyright release and/or licence with the publishing journal allow for the posting. If your agreement is silent on this issue it is usually advisable to contact the editor you worked with on the piece and check that it is acceptable to post the entire paper. In any case posting an abstract, with a full reference to the published paper, ought to be unproblematic.

Dublin Events of Interest

  1. The Irish Human Rights Commission and the Law Society of Ireland are holding their joint annual human rights conference on October 13th in Blackhall Place, Dublin. More information is available here.
  2. On October 15th the FLAC‘s Inaugural Dave Ellis Memorial Lecture will take place on at 6.30pm in Trinity College. The lecture will be delivered by Professor Gerry Whyte. RSVP and acquire further information from piln@flac.ie or 01-8745690.

President McAleese on Immigration

President Mary McAleese has delivered a speech to the Immigrant Council of Ireland, which highlights the need for integration of new communities while respecting cultural and ethnic diversity. In the speech the President notes the historical parallels with Irish emigration. She speaks of the need for inclusiveness and interaction with those immigrants who come to our shores, and for the need to break down the ‘us’ and ‘them’ mentality. The full speech by President McAleese may be accessed here.

This speech is particularly interesting in the context of the reform of our immigration laws by the Department of Justice, Equality and Law Reform. The Immigration, Residence and Protection Bill 2007, which lapsed upon the calling of the 2007 General Election outlined 21st century Ireland’s approach to the issue of migration and asylum. A new Bill seems likely to be brought forward within the New Year. There were a number of criticisms of the Scheme to the 2007 Bill from the Irish Refugee Council, Irish Human Rights Commission, CADIC and the CCJHR.

This post was contributed by PhD candidate, Liam Thornton

Staying Executions

The implications of the US Supreme Court’s decision to grant certiorari in Baze v. Rees (considering the constitutionality of certain combinations of chemicals used in lethal injections) are beginning to show (earlier post). Yesterday, Texas – the US’ ‘leading death penalty state’ – stayed the execution of Heliberto Chi who was due to be executed by lethal injection today (Wednesday) for a murder carried out in 2001.

The New York Times has more here.

Pantameter 2: Police Action on Trafficking

RTÉ News reports that the Irish and British police forces are today going to announce the launch of Pantameter 2; a transnational policing operation aimed at combating human trafficking (primarily, but not exclusively, sex trafficking). Operation Pantameter (1) was a similar operation run in the UK that resulted in the rescue of 84 “trafficking victims” and an additional 104 women at risk, 232 arrests and 134 indictments (Operation Report). The UK’s police force has a dedicated pentameter website which today displays some information on Pentameter 2, including a brief statement about the aims and policies underlying the initiative:

There is particular emphasis on understanding the nature and extent of trafficking, the involvement of organised crime groups and attacking the assets of such groups….One of the strategic aims of UKP2 is to increase knowledge and understanding of all forms of human trafficking in the UK but also raise awareness of the issue….2007 marks the passage of 200 years since Parliament passed the Act to abolish the slave trade in the British Empire. In this bicentenary year, the Government has indicated a commitment to redoubling efforts to address this modern day form of slavery.

Mental Health & Human Rights: Challenges for Law and Practice

On October 25th the Centre for Criminal Justice and Human Rights here in UCC will hold a seminar on “Mental Health & Human Rights: Challenges for Law and Practice”.

The seminar will start at 6pm with a welcome address from Professor Caroline Fennell to be followed by papers from Dr. Darius Whelan, UCC (“European Human Rights Standards in the Mental Health Act 2001 and the Criminal Law (Insanity) Act 2006”), Dr. Mary Donnelly, UCC (“Treatment for Mental Disorders and Protection of Patients’ Rights’”) and Aine Hynes, Roger Greene & Sons, Solicitors, Dublin (“The Mental Health Act 2001 in Practice: a Legal Representative’s Viewpoint”).

The session will be chaired by Dr. Edmond O’Dea of the Mental Health Commission and opened by Dr. Jimmy Devins, T.D., Minister of State with responsibility for Disability and Mental Health.

Full details of the location and registration, including booking form, are available here.

Book early to avoid disappointment!

Fallon & Maltzer on Habeas Corpus

Richard H. Fallon, Jr. & Daniel J. Meltzer have an interesting article on Habeas Corpus in the War on Terror in the current issue of the Harvard Law Review. In it they argue that the US Supreme Court was right to extend statutory habeas corpus rights to suspected terrorists in Guantánamo Bay but ought not extend constitutional habeas corpus protection to people detained in “wholly foreign locales as Afghanistan or Iraq”. The authors’ argument is essentially that Guantánamo Bay can be categorised as sufficiently connected to the United States to argue that the constitution ought to apply there. This results particularly from the nature of the lease enjoyed over the base (i.e. a perpetual lease giving the US exclusive jurisdiction).

This element of the argument advanced by Fallon & Meltzer is analogous to a leasehold-based argument that I published in the Irish Criminal Law Journal earlier this year (“In the Shadow of Hamdan v Rumsfeld” (2007) 17(2) ICLJ 8) and that has been discussed at length in almost every seminar/colloqium on Guantánamo that I’ve attended in the last few years, but it does suffer a serious deficiency from the perspective of rights-enforcement as it bases rights protection on the location of detention and not on the individual rights of the detainees. More expansive arguments relating to habeas corpus jurisdiction over suspected terrorist detainees are beginning to emerge at the moment, including an argument I’ll be publishing early next year calling for an effet utile approach to the question (abstract available here).

What is particularly significant about all of these arguments, however, appears to be the growning consensus that the US Supreme Court can, should and most probably will recognise Guantánamo detainees as constitutional rights-bearers when it decides Boumediene and Al-Odah this winter (background and briefings available here). Fallon & Meltzer’s article comes very highly recommended, not only for their Guantánamo-related argumentation but also their wider theoretical framework of habeas jurisdiction in the US.