Write On! Albert S. Pergam International Law Writing Competition Award

To foster legal scholarship among law students in the field of international law. The competition is intended to encourage students of law to write on areas of public or private international law. The Section believes that by providing a forum for students to disseminate their ideas and articles, the professional and academic communities are enriched. Furthermore, the competition presents an opportunity for students to submit law review quality articles to the Section for possible publication in one of its publications.

Presented by: International Section of the New York State Bar Association
Contact:  Tiffany Bardwell
Nomination Deadline: Entries should be emailed by 4:00 p.m., Friday, November 10, 2017 to the staff liaison.
Date Presented: January 2018 Annual Meeting
Award Criteria: Articles must be submitted (in English), and emailed to tbardwell@nysba.org, double-spaced on 8 1/2″ x 11″ paper with one-inch margins, be no longer than 35 pages in length (including footnotes/endnotes). Citations are to conform with “A Uniform System of Citation” (The Blue Book).

All articles submitted for the competition become the property of the Section. No article submitted may be published in any journal or periodical other than the “New York State Bar Journal,” the “New York International Law and Review,” or the “International Law Practicum,” until after announcement of the winner of this competition in January.

Law students (including J.D., LL.M., Ph.D. and S.J.D. candidates) are cordially invited to submit an entry. Entries will be judged on a variety of factors including significance and timeliness of the subject matter, thoroughness of research and analysis, and clarity of writing style.

Please provide your permanent address, current email address and daytime phone number.

Prize Awarded: $2,000 and publication of the article (subject to editorial approval) in aforementioned publications.

Past Recipients of this Award

2017 Brochure

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Court of Justice of the European Union takes on Muslim headscarf employment discrimination cases

With the increased reach of the populist movement and changing demographics, several European countries have been confronted with the need to define secularism and freedom of religion in a way where each of these concepts do not impinge on the rights of the other. This has dominated several discussions in politics, law, education, and social interactions throughout Europe.

One issue that stands at the forefront of these arguments is the wearing of the headscarf by Muslim women in Europe as a practice of their faith. The Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU), the highest court in the European Union with regards to European Union law, provided judgments on two cases involving the headscarf in March 2017.

In Samira Achbita v. G4S Secure Solutions NV (G4S), the CJEU was asked to provide guidance on the interpretation of Council Directive 2000/78 as it related to the dismissal of Ms. Achbita, an employee of G4S, for wearing a headscarf as part of her religious beliefs. The Council Directive 2000/78 provides that the “principle of equal treatment” means that there will be no direct or indirect discrimination based on the grounds of religion or belief, disability, age or sexual orientation as regards employment and occupation. Furthermore, the Council Directive highlights that indiscrimination occurs when apparently neutral provisions, criteria, or practice put persons of a particular religion, disability, age, or sexual orientation, at a particular disadvantage unless it is “objectively justified by a legitimate aim and the means of achieving that aim are appropriate and necessary.”

G4S stated that the company has a policy of not allowing employees to wear any political, philosophical, or religious signs as it may compromise the visibility of G4S’s position of neutrality. The Court ruled that there was no direct discrimination as the Directive did not single out a specific group of people or religion to target and was facially neutral. The Court did leave room to say that the rule may constitute indirect discrimination if persons of a particular religion or belief were put at a particular disadvantage, “unless justified by a legitimate aim” and the means of achieving that aim are appropriate and necessary.

Similarly, in Asma Bougnaoui v. Micropole, SA (Micropole), Ms. Bougnaoui was dismissed from her employment at Micropole because of her refusal to remove the headscarf that she wore for religious reasons, and about which some customers of the company had complained. However, here the CJEU ruled that the “the willingness of an employer to take account of the wishes of a customer no longer to have the services of that employer provided by a worker wearing an Islamic headscarf cannot be considered a genuine and determining occupational requirement within the meaning of that provision.” Continue reading