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Article

The Reform of Contract Rules in China’s New Civil Code

Successes or Pitfalls

Journal European Journal of Law Reform, Issue 2 2021
Keywords Civil Code of the People’s Republic of China, Contracts of the Civil Code, Chinese legal system, legislative history
Authors Peng Guo and Linxuan Li
AbstractAuthor's information

    The Civil Code of the People’s Republic of China (Civil Code) came into force on 1 January 2021. Book III on Contracts of the Civil Code has adopted significant changes compared to the old Chinese Contract Law (Contract Law). This article provides a comprehensive and systemic analysis of those changes from structure to content, from legislative technics to values underpinning the Civil Code. It evaluates all the factors in the context of the development of Chinese society, Chinese culture and Chinese legal system.
    This article first outlines the historical background of the development of the Contract Law and the Civil Code. It then moves on to compare the Civil Code and the Contract Law, highlighting the changes in structure, the incorporation of new provisions and the amendments to old provisions in light of contemporary Chinese society and culture. Finally, it argues that the Civil Code is a significant milestone in China’s legislative history; that it reflects the legislative experience and judicial practice in China; that it adds provisions which are innovative and of Chinese characteristics to meet the needs of China’s changing society and legal system; and that it keeps pace with the development of the global law reform and harmonization.


Peng Guo
Peng Guo is a Lecturer in Law, Graduate School of Business and Law, RMIT University, Australia.

Linxuan Li
Linxuan Li, LL.M. University of International Business and Economics, LL.B. Shandong University, China.
Article

Consensual Accommodation of Sharia Law and Courts in Greece

Journal European Journal of Law Reform, Issue 2 2021
Keywords choice architecture, law reform, Molla Sali v. Greece, Mufti, multicultural accommodation, Muslim minority, nomoi group, Sharia law
Authors Nikos Koumoutzis
AbstractAuthor's information

    Having been exempted from a massive population exchange that took place between Greece and Turkey under the Treaty of Lausanne (1923), the Muslim minority of Western Thrace enjoys ever since a special status providing for the application of the Sharia law in family and succession matters, as well as the jurisdiction of the Mufti for the resolution of relevant disputes. A reform introduced by Law 4511/2018 marks a watershed moment in this long history. From now on, the Sharia law and the Mufti cease to be mandatory; their intervention requires the consent of the members of the minority, who also have the alternative to subject to the civil law and courts. This article tries to explore key features of the new model providing for an accommodation of the Muslim personal legal system based on choice. It focuses on the technique employed to structure the right of choice, on the proper ways for the exercise of choice, on the possibilities offered (or not) to make a partial choice only and revoke a previously made choice. In the end, a further question is raised, concerning how effective the right of choice may prove in the hands of women insiders, given that these are the most likely to experience pressure to demonstrate loyalty and not ignore the traditions and values – including the nomos – of their collective.


Nikos Koumoutzis
Nikos Koumoutzis is Associate Professor Law School at the University of Nicosia, ORCID ID: https://orcid.org/0000-0003-4362-2320
Article

Reducing Ethnic Conflict in Guyana through Political Reform

Journal European Journal of Law Reform, Issue 1 2021
Keywords Guyana, race, ethnic conflict, political power, constitutional reform
Authors Nicola Pierre
AbstractAuthor's information

    This article discusses using constitutional reform to reduce ethnic conflict in Guyana. I start by exploring the determinants of ethnic conflict. I next examine Guyana’s ethnopolitical history to determine what factors led to political alignment on ethnic lines and then evaluate the effect of the existing political institutions on ethnic conflict. I close with a discussion on constitutional reform in which I consider a mix of consociationalist, integrative, and power-constraining mechanisms that may be effective in reducing ethnic conflict in Guyana’s ethnopolitical circumstances.


Nicola Pierre
Nicola Pierre is Commissioner of Title and Land Court Judge in Guyana.
Case Law

Access_open 2021/1 EELC’s review of the year 2020

Journal European Employment Law Cases, Issue 1 2021
Authors Ruben Houweling, Daiva Petrylaitė, Marianne Hrdlicka e.a.
Abstract

    Various of our academic board analysed employment law cases from last year. However, first, we start with some general remarks.


Ruben Houweling

Daiva Petrylaitė

Marianne Hrdlicka

Attila Kun

Luca Calcaterra

Francesca Maffei

Jean-Philippe Lhernould

Niklas Bruun

Jan-Pieter Vos

Luca Ratti

Andrej Poruban

Anthony Kerr

Filip Dorssemont
Article

Why an atmosphere of transhumanism undermines green restorative justice concepts and tenets

Journal The International Journal of Restorative Justice, Issue 1 2021
Keywords green restorative justice, transhumanism, technological progress, animals, bioethics
Authors Gema Varona
AbstractAuthor's information

    Arising from the notions of green criminology and green victimology, green restorative justice can be defined as a restorative justice focused on environmental harm. Harm in this case is understood as criminalised and non-criminalised, and as individual and collective behaviours damaging the ecosystems and the existence of human and non-human beings. Impacts of environmental harm affect health, economic, social and cultural dimensions, and will be experienced in the short, medium and long term. Within this framework, after linking restorative justice to green criminology and green victimology, I will argue that the current weight of the cultural and social movement of transhumanism constitutes an obstacle to the development of restorative justice in this field. The reason is that it fosters individual narcissism, together with the idea of an absence of limits in what is considered technological progress. This progress is seen as inevitable and good per se, and promotes the perception of a lack of social and moral accountability. This reasoning will lead to some final reflections on how restorative justice has to constantly reinvent itself in order to keep creating a critical and inclusive justice of ‘otherness’. By doing so, restorative justice must join the current interdisciplinary conversation on biopolitics and bioethics.


Gema Varona
Gema Varona is a Senior Researcher at the Basque Institute of Criminology, University of the Basque Country, Donostia/San Sebastián, Spain. Contact author: gemmamaria.varona@ehu.eus.
Article

Smart Contracts and Smart Dispute Resolution

Just Hype or a Real Game Changer?

Journal International Journal of Online Dispute Resolution, Issue 2 2020
Keywords smart contracts, blockchain, arbitration, dispute resolution, contract law, distributed ledger technology, internet of things, cyber law, technology, innovation
Authors Mangal Chauhan
AbstractAuthor's information

    This article explains the functioning of smart contracts and technology underlying blockchain. This contribution aims to compare smart contracts with traditional contracts and discuss their situation under the present contract law. It further discusses possible issues that may arise out of the application of smart contracts, for instance, coding errors and programming defects. It studies the possible application of smart contracts to specific fields, such as e-commerce and consumer transactions and possible disputes arising out of this application. It divides the smart contracts into categories based on their form and discusses legal issues in regard to their application.
    Against the common perception that smart contracts will replace the judicial enforcement of traditional contracts, it argues that smart contracts will not replace the system but are rather another form of contracts to be governed by it. In fact, the interplay of smart contracts and contractual law creates possible legal issues as to their validity, recognition and enforcement. It provides possible solutions as to the legal issues arising out of the application of smart contracts under present contract law. The study concludes that a robust and ‘smart’ dispute resolution mechanism is required for dealing with disputes arising out of the application of new technology. Online or blockchain arbitration and other online dispute resolution mechanisms are argued to be better suited to dealing with such disputes.


Mangal Chauhan
Mangal Chauhan is Risk Analyst (Global Entity Management) at TMF Group, Amsterdam, Netherlands. Master of Laws (LL.M.) in Comparative and International Dispute Resolution from Queen Mary University of London, United Kingdom.
Article

Access_open Can Non-discrimination Law Change Hearts and Minds?

Journal Erasmus Law Review, Issue 3 2020
Keywords law and society, social change, discrimination, non-discrimination law, positive action
Authors Anita Böcker
AbstractAuthor's information

    A question that has preoccupied sociolegal scholars for ages is whether law can change ‘hearts and minds’. This article explores whether non-discrimination law can create social change, and, more particularly, whether it can change attitudes and beliefs as well as external behaviour. The first part examines how sociolegal scholars have theorised about the possibility and desirability of using law as an instrument of social change. The second part discusses the findings of empirical research on the social working of various types of non-discrimination law. What conclusions can be drawn about the ability of non-discrimination law to create social change? What factors influence this ability? And can non-discrimination law change people’s hearts and minds as well as their behaviour? The research literature does not provide an unequivocal answer to the latter question. However, the overall picture emerging from the sociolegal literature is that law is generally more likely to bring about changes in external behaviour and that it can influence attitudes and beliefs only indirectly, by altering the situations in which attitudes and opinions are formed.


Anita Böcker
Anita Böcker is associate professor of Sociology of Law at Radboud University, Nijmegen.
Article

Access_open How Far Should the State Go to Counter Prejudice?

A Positive State Obligation to Counter Dehumanisation

Journal Erasmus Law Review, Issue 3 2020
Keywords prejudice, soft paternalism, empathy, liberalism, employment discrimination, access to goods and services
Authors Ioanna Tourkochoriti
AbstractAuthor's information

    This article argues that it is legitimate for the state to practice soft paternalism towards changing hearts and minds in order to prevent behaviour that is discriminatory. Liberals accept that it is not legitimate for the state to intervene in order to change how people think because ideas and beliefs are wrong in themselves. It is legitimate for the state to intervene with the actions of a person only when there is a risk of harm to others and when there is a threat to social coexistence. Preventive action of the state is legitimate if we consider the immaterial and material harm that discrimination causes. It causes harm to the social standing of the person, psychological harm, economic and existential harm. All these harms threaten peaceful social coexistence. This article traces a theory of permissible government action. Research in the areas of behavioural psychology, neuroscience and social psychology indicates that it is possible to bring about a change in hearts and minds. Encouraging a person to adopt the perspective of the person who has experienced discrimination can lead to empathetic understanding. This, can lead a person to critically evaluate her prejudice. The paper argues that soft paternalism towards changing hearts and minds is legitimate in order to prevent harm to others. It attempts to legitimise state coercion in order to eliminate prejudice and broader social patterns of inequality and marginalisation. And it distinguishes between appropriate and non-appropriate avenues the state could pursue in order to eliminate prejudice. Policies towards eliminating prejudice should address the rational and the emotional faculties of a person. They should aim at using methods and techniques that focus on persuasion and reduce coercion. They should raise awareness of what prejudice is and how it works in order to facilitate well-informed voluntary decisions. The version of soft paternalism towards changing minds and attitudes defended in this article makes it consistent with liberalism.


Ioanna Tourkochoriti
Ioanna Tourkochoriti is Lecturer Above the Bar, NUI Galway School of Law.
Article

Crimes Against Humanity in the “Western European & Other” Group of States

A Continuing Tradition

Journal African Journal of International Criminal Justice, Issue 2 2020
Keywords crimes against humanity, Western Europe and Other Group of States, WEOG, Draft Articles on the Prevention and Punishment of Crimes Against Humanity
Authors Beth Van Schaack
AbstractAuthor's information

    The Western Europe and Other Group of states have a long history with crimes against humanity. They were pivotal in the juridical creation of this concept, in launching prosecutions in both international and national courts, and in formulating the modern definition of the crime. However, some members have expressed concerns around the International Law Commissions Draft Articles on the Prevention and Punishment of Crimes Against Humanity. This article provides a summary of the history of crimes against humanity in the Western Europe and Other Group of states, as well as the current status of crimes against humanity in their legal systems. It argues that although these states have successfully incorporated crimes against humanity into their legal frameworks, it would be beneficial for them to embrace the proposed Crimes Against Humanity Convention.


Beth Van Schaack
Leah Kaplan Visiting Professor of Human Rights, Stanford Law School.
Article

The Protection of the Right to Local Self-Government in the Practice of the Hungarian Constitutional Court

Journal Hungarian Yearbook of International Law and European Law, Issue 1 2020
Keywords right to local self-government, protected powers, European Charter of Local Self-Government, Hungary, Constitutional Court of Hungary
Authors Ádám Varga
AbstractAuthor's information

    A specific trait of local self-governments is that they exercise public power, while public power is also exercised against them. This means that those functions and powers that are obligations on the side of local self-governments, can be construed as rights against central public bodies. For this reason, the protection of the right to local self-government is a priority. The Charter of Local Self-Government takes the view that the autonomy of local self-governments shall be guaranteed against central public bodies. It is necessary to establish a legal framework which ensures that strong central public bodies cannot enforce their own political or professional preferences against the will of local communities with different political or professional beliefs. In my opinion, the central issue, also in Hungary, is that local self-governments are entitled to the protection of the Constitutional Court. Decision No. 3311/2019. (XI. 21.) AB sets out that local self-governments are entitled to turn to the Constitutional Court in their own right by submitting a constitutional complaint if the law violates their rights guaranteed in the Fundamental Law (including powers enshrined in the Fundamental Law). While the decision is still very recent, nevertheless, thanks to its local self-governments may expect the substantive review of their petitions by the Constitutional Court in the future.


Ádám Varga
Ádám Varga: visiting lecturer, Pázmány Péter Catholic University, Budapest; assistant lecturer, National University of Public Service, Budapest; counselor, Constitutional Court of Hungary, Budapest.

    The UK Employment Tribunals and England and Wales Court of Appeal (case [2018] EWCA Civ 2748) have ruled that any Uber driver who has the Uber App switched on, is in the territory where he/she is authorised to work, and is able and willing to accept assignments, is working for Uber under a worker contract. The UK courts disregarded some of the provisions of Uber’s driver agreement. They had been entitled to do so because the relevant provisions of the driver agreement did not reflect the reality of the bargain made between the parties. The fact that Uber interviews and recruits drivers, controls the key information, requires drivers to accept trips, sets the route, fixes the fare, imposes numerous conditions on drivers, determines remuneration, amends the driver’s terms unilaterally, and handles complaints by passengers, makes it a transportation or passenger carrier, not an information and electronic technology provider. Therefore the UK courts resolved the central issue of for whom (Uber) and under a contract with whom (Uber), drivers perform their services. Uber is a modern business phenomenon. Regardless of its special position in business, Uber is obliged to follow the rules according to which work is neither a commodity nor an online technology.


Andrzej Świątkowski
Andrzej Marian Świątkowski is a professor at Jesuit University Ignatianum in Krakow. ((ORCID: 0000-0003-1753-7810))

    The years 2018-2020 saw a number of new international legal instruments and guidelines relating to restorative justice. In 2018, a landmark Recommendation adopted by the Council of Europe and a Resolution by the Organization of American States encouraged its use in their regions. In 2019, the Milquet Report proposed amending a European Union Directive to promote restorative justice as a diversion from court, while in 2020, the European Union adopted a new Victims’ Strategy, and the United Nations published a revised Handbook on Restorative Justice Programmes. This article identifies and analyses the principal developments in this new international framework. It demonstrates the growing consensus on the potential applicability of restorative justice for all types of offences, and the emerging recognition that restorative justice should aim to satisfy the needs of all participants. It also explores statements endorsing the use of restorative justice beyond the criminal procedure and advising criminal justice institutions to utilise restorative principles to inform cultural change. The paper concludes that implementing international policies domestically requires justice reform advocates to build strong, trusting relationships, and organise inclusive partnerships, with all those who hold a stake in the development of restorative justice.


Ian D. Marder
Ian D. Marder is a Lecturer in Criminology at the Department of Law of the Maynooth University, Maynooth, Republic of Ireland. Contact author: Ian.Marder@mu.ie.
Article

Access_open Ship Recycling Financial Instruments: A Tax or Not a Tax?

Some Brief Reflections

Journal Erasmus Law Review, Issue 2 2020
Keywords Ship Recycling Fund, Ship Recycling License, green ship scrapping, EU concept of tax, earmarked tax
Authors Han Kogels and Ton Stevens
AbstractAuthor's information

    In this article the question is reviewed whether two by the EU Commission proposed financial instruments to stimulate ‘green’ ship scrapping, (i) a Ship Recycling Fund (SRF) and (ii) a Ship Recycling License (SRL), might be qualified as a ‘tax’ under Article 192(2) TFEU. Qualification as such a “tax” would mean that the EU Commission can only introduce such a financial instrument with unanimity voting. The authors first explore the concept of ‘tax’ in the TFEU in general and in Article 192(2) TFEU in particular. Based on this analysis, the authors conclude that levies paid to an SRF might be qualified as an ‘earmarked tax’ falling within the definition of a ‘fiscal provision’ in the meaning of Article 192(2) TFEU, which means that levies to such a fund can only be introduced by unanimity voting. The SRL fee consists of two elements: (i) a fee to cover administrative expenses and (ii) a contribution to a savings account. The fee to cover administrative expenses is qualified by the authors as a retribution that should not be qualified as a fiscal provision in the meaning of Article 192(2) TFEU. The contribution to a blocked savings account can neither be qualified as a tax nor as a retribution. Therefore, the SRL fee can be introduced without unanimity voting by the EU Council.


Han Kogels
H.A. Kogels is Emeritus professor of European tax law Erasmus School of Law.

Ton Stevens
A.J.A. Stevens is Professor of corporation tax law Tilburg University and of counsel Loyens & Loeff, Rotterdam. He was previously holding the chair of international tax law at Erasmus School of Law and initially involved in the ship recycling financial instrument project but did not participate in the drafting of the final report.

    On 3 October 2019, in case C-274/18 (Schuch-Ghannadan), the ECJ held that a national regulation, which provides for different maximum total durations of successive fixed-term employment contracts for part-time workers on the one hand and full-time workers on the other, could result in a discrimination of part-time workers and an indirect discrimination of women.


Ines Kager
Mag. Ines Kager is teaching and research assistant at WU Vienna University of Economics and Business.
Article

Gender and Language

A Public Law Perspective

Journal European Journal of Law Reform, Issue 1 2020
Keywords gender language, drafting, language, coercion, linguistic policies
Authors Maria De Benedetto
AbstractAuthor's information

    The article adopts a public law perspective in order to focus on Gender-Fair Language (GFL) policies and drafting, by considering both language neutralization and language differentiation in some legal systems characterized by different languages.
    The article argues that the real problem is whether it is possible to coerce legislative and administrative language as a tool for policies. In fact, coercion of language produces administrative costs and side effects on freedoms (such as freedom of speech and freedom to teach); controls and sanctions are needed for enforcement; but, overall, language (as an institution) is not a proper object of regulation.


Maria De Benedetto
Full Professor, Roma Tre University, Roma, Italy.
Article

Gender Neutrality in EU Legislative Drafting

Journal European Journal of Law Reform, Issue 1 2020
Keywords legislative drafting, EU legislation, EU treaties, multilingualism, gender neutrality
Authors William Robinson
AbstractAuthor's information

    In the English-speaking world the issue of gender-neutral drafting in legislation has been a much discussed topic for many years, and there are few legislative drafting manuals in the English-speaking world that do not address the issue.
    The EU and its institutions also attach great importance to gender issues, as is shown by the solemn commitments in EU texts to gender equality, by the establishment at the EU level of bodies or committees to focus on those issues, and by the EU actions and policies that seek to address them. But the issue of gender-neutral drafting in legislation is not even mentioned in the guidance drawn up by the legislative drafting experts of the EU institutions.
    This contribution, therefore, looks at how gender issues are dealt with in practice in the EU Treaties and in EU legislation. It finds signs of a traditional approach that is beginning to evolve but only slowly and somewhat unevenly.
    The contribution considers some of the reasons behind the approach taken by the EU institutions to gender neutrality in drafting and the impact of the important EU principles of multilingualism and multiculturalism before seeking to draw some conclusions.


William Robinson
Associate Research Fellow at the Institute of Advanced Legal Studies in London; formerly a coordinator in the Quality of Legislation Team of the European Commission Legal Service.
Article

Parliamentary Control over Delegated Legislation in Japan

Journal European Journal of Law Reform, Issue 4 2019
Keywords statutory instruments, sole law-making organ, supplementary resolution, legislative veto, Committee on Oversight of Administration
Authors Katsuhiro Musashi
AbstractAuthor's information

    The delegation of legislation from the parliament to the administration plays an important role in a modern administrative state. In Britain, parliamentary control – whereby the parliament has the right to approve or veto a delegated legislation – has been institutionalized and implemented. On the other hand, the Japanese parliament is powerless to approve a delegated order beforehand or ex post. Therefore, improper procedures such as the deviation of the delegated order from the enabling act by a governmental agency, or the introduction of arbitrary administrative measures, have been carried out under insufficient supervision by the parliament in Japan. The National Diet of Japan should, ideally, also hold the power to control the administrative order on the basis of the legal principles formulated by the Diet. Therefore, we propose the introduction of a parliamentary control system that invalidates the ex post enactment of a cabinet order if both Houses of parliament refuse the order within 40 days of its submission. These procedures would have increased efficacy when augmented with a political check function on the proposed cabinet orders by the parliament’s Committee on Oversight of Administration, or their standing committees.


Katsuhiro Musashi
Katsuhiro Musashi is Professor of Law and Policy at the Faculty of Policy Studies, Doshisha University in Kyoto, Japan.
Article

Economic Inequality, Capitalism and Law

Imperfect Realization of Juridical Equality, the Right to Property and Freedom of Contract

Journal European Journal of Law Reform, Issue 4 2019
Keywords capitalism, inequality, juridical, law, property
Authors Shabir Korotana
AbstractAuthor's information

    There is a general unease among the public across all jurisdictions about the progressive economic inequality that seems to define the new normal, and this phenomenon has been succinctly documented in numerous prominent studies. This trend of capitalism has been supported by the existing structures of the common law, albeit contrary to the aim and purpose of its original principles. The studies show that the modern capitalist societies display a persistent trend of increasing inequality, and this is summed up by the observation that modern capitalism generates progressive and intense economic inequality.
    Capitalism as a socio-economic system is structured and sustained by the law and by socio-economic systems of institutions. Capitalism is not only a social ordering; essentially, it is a legal ordering. At the heart of this legal ordering are private laws, and tort law, but the most important is contract law: freedom of contract. It is common law, similar to the private law in other jurisdictions, that is responsible for the extreme inequality because it allows the institutions of capitalism to function freely and without much control. The open-ended capitalism that allows accumulation of wealth without ceiling causes progressive inequality in society and consequently works against the very freedom and individualism that are supposed to be the ideals of common law and capitalism. Because of the existing institutions of capitalism and the legal construct, freedom, fairness and the intended progress of the individual were not properly realized; the understanding of the ideas and principles of freedom, individualism, juridical equality, the right to property and freedom of contract have been imperfectly realized. With rising inequality, it is this imperfect realization, particularly of juridical equality that is in question.


Shabir Korotana
Shabir Korotana is Senior Lecturer in Commercial Law at Brunel Law School, Brunel University London.
Article

Access_open Mercosur: Limits of Regional Integration

Journal Erasmus Law Review, Issue 3 2019
Keywords Mercosur, European Union, regionalism, integration, international organisation
Authors Ricardo Caichiolo
AbstractAuthor's information

    This study is focused on the evaluation of successes and failures of the Common Market of the South (Mercosur). This analysis of Mercosur’s integration seeks to identify the reasons why the bloc has stagnated in an incomplete customs union condition, although it was originally created to achieve a common market status. To understand the evolution of Mercosur, the study offers some thoughts about the role of the European Union (EU) as a model for regional integration. Although an EU-style integration has served as a model, it does not necessarily set the standards by which integration can be measured as we analyse other integration efforts. However, the case of Mercosur is emblematic: during its initial years, Mercosur specifically received EU technical assistance to promote integration according to EU-style integration. Its main original goal was to become a common market, but so far, almost thirty years after its creation, it remains an imperfect customs union.
    The article demonstrates the extent to which almost thirty years of integration in South America could be considered a failure, which would be one more in a list of previous attempts of integration in Latin America, since the 1960s. Whether it is a failure or not, it is impossible to envisage EU-style economic and political integration in South America in the foreseeable future. So far, member states, including Brazil, which could supposedly become the engine of economic and political integration in South America, have remained sceptical about the possibility of integrating further politically and economically. As member states suffer political and economic turmoil, they have concentrated on domestic recovery before being able to dedicate sufficient time and energy to being at the forefront of integration.


Ricardo Caichiolo
Ricardo Caichiolo, PhD (Université catholique de Louvain, Belgium) is legal and legislative adviser to the Brazilian Senate and professor and coordinator of the post graduate programs on Public Policy, Government Relations and Law at Ibmec (Instituto Brasileiro de Mercado de Capitais, Brazil).
Article

Access_open Levying VAT in the EU Customs Union: Towards a Single Indirect Tax Area? The Ordeal of Indirect Tax Harmonisation

Journal Erasmus Law Review, Issue 3 2019
Keywords single indirect tax area, VAT action plan, quick fixes, e-commerce package, definitive VAT system
Authors Ben Terra
AbstractAuthor's information

    This contribution deals with the latest proposals regarding levying VAT in the European Union (EU) Customs Union. The present system, which has been in place since 1993 and was supposed to be transitional, splits every cross-border transaction into an exempted cross-border supply and a taxable cross-border acquisition. It is like a customs system, but lacks equivalent controls and is therefore the root of cross-border fraud. After many years of unsuccessful attempts, the Commission abandoned the objective of implementing definitive VAT arrangements based on the principle of taxing all cross-border supplies of goods in the Member State of their origin, under the same conditions that apply to domestic trade including VAT rates. The European Parliament and the Council agreed that the definitive system should be based on the principle of taxation in the Member State of the destination of the goods. After a brief discussion of the VAT Action Plan of 2016 (Section 1), the e-commerce package in the form of Directive (EU) 2017/2455 is dealt with (Section 2), followed by the proposal to harmonise and simplify certain rules in the VAT system and introduce the definitive system, only partially adopted (Section 3). Section 4 deals with the proposal to introduce detailed measures of the definitive VAT system. The proposed harmonisation and simplification of certain rules were meant to become applicable on 1 January 2019, but will become only partially applicable on 2020. It is proposed to make the detailed measures of the definitive VAT system applicable in 2022. It remains to be seen whether the Member States are willing to accept the definitive VAT system at all; hence the subtitle ‘the ordeal of indirect tax harmonisation’.


Ben Terra
Prof. Dr. Dr. h.c. Ben Terra was a professor of tax law at the universities of Amsterdam and Lund and visiting professor at the Universidade Católica in Lisbon.
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