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Article

Access_open Legal Legitimacy of Tax Recommendations Delivered by the IMF in the Context of ‘Article IV Consultations’

Journal Erasmus Law Review, Issue 2 2017
Keywords legitimacy, International Monetary Fund (IMF), Article IV Consultations, tax recommendations, global tax governance
Authors Sophia Murillo López
AbstractAuthor's information

    This contribution examines the legal legitimacy of ‘Article IV Consultations’ performed by the IMF as part of its responsibility for surveillance under Article IV of its Articles of Agreement. The analysis focuses on tax recommendations given by the Fund to its member countries in the context of Consultations. This paper determines that these tax recommendations derive from a broad interpretation of the powers and obligations that have been agreed to in the Fund’s Articles of Agreement. Such an interpretation leads to a legitimacy deficit, as member countries of the Fund have not given their state consent to receive recommendations as to which should be the tax policies it should adopt.


Sophia Murillo López
Sophia Murillo López, LL.M, is an external PhD candidate at the Erasmus University Rotterdam and a member of the ‘Fiscal Autonomy and its Boundaries’ research programme.
Article

Access_open The Questionable Legitimacy of the OECD/G20 BEPS Project

Journal Erasmus Law Review, Issue 2 2017
Keywords base erosion and profit shifting, OECD, G20, legitimacy, international tax reform
Authors Sissie Fung
AbstractAuthor's information

    The global financial crisis of 2008 and the following public uproar over offshore tax evasion and corporate aggressive tax planning scandals gave rise to unprecedented international cooperation on tax information exchange and coordination on corporate tax reforms. At the behest of the G20, the OECD developed a comprehensive package of ‘consensus-based’ policy reform measures aimed to curb base erosion and profit shifting (BEPS) by multinationals and to restore fairness and coherence to the international tax system. The legitimacy of the OECD/G20 BEPS Project, however, has been widely challenged. This paper explores the validity of the legitimacy concerns raised by the various stakeholders regarding the OECD/G20 BEPS Project.


Sissie Fung
Ph.D. Candidate at the Erasmus University Rotterdam and independent tax policy consultant to international organisations, including the Asian Development Bank.
Article

Access_open The Peer Review Process of the Global Forum on Transparency and Exchange of Information for Tax Purposes

A Critical Assessment on Authority and Legitimacy

Journal Erasmus Law Review, Issue 2 2017
Keywords Global Forum on Transparency and Exchange of Information, exercise of regulatory authority, due process requirements, peer review reports, legitimacy
Authors Leo E.C. Neve
AbstractAuthor's information

    The Global Forum on transparency and exchange of information for tax purposes has undertaken peer reviews on the implementation of the global standard of exchange of information on request, both from the perspective of formalities available and from the perspective of actual implementation. In the review reports Global Forum advises jurisdictions on required amendments of regulations and practices. With these advices, the Global Forum exercises regulatory authority. The article assesses the legitimacy of the exercise of such authority by the Global Forum and concludes that the exercise of such authority is not legitimate for the reason that the rule of law is abused by preventing jurisdictions to adhere to due process rules.


Leo E.C. Neve
Leo Neve is a doctoral student at the Erasmus School of Law, Rotterdam.
Article

Access_open Legality of the World Bank’s Informal Decisions to Expand into the Tax Field, and Implications of These Decisions for Its Legitimacy

Journal Erasmus Law Review, Issue 2 2017
Keywords World Bank, legality, legitimacy, global tax governance, tax policy and tax administration reforms
Authors Uyanga Berkel-Dorlig
AbstractAuthor's information

    The emergence of global tax governance was triggered by common tax problems, which are now still being faced by international society of nation-states. In the creation of this framework, international institutions have been playing a major role. One of these institutions is the World Bank (Bank). However, those who write about the virtues and vices of the main creators of the framework usually disregard the Bank. This article, therefore, argues that this disregard is not justified because the Bank has also been playing a prominent role. Since two informal decisions taken in the past have contributed to this position of the Bank, the article gives in addition to it answers to the following two related questions: whether these informal decisions of the Bank were legal and if so, what implications, if any, they have for the Bank’s legitimacy.


Uyanga Berkel-Dorlig
Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Tax Law, Erasmus School of Law, Erasmus University Rotterdam, The Netherlands.
Article

Codification in a Civil Law Jurisdiction: A Northern European Perspective

Journal European Journal of Law Reform, Issue 4 2017
Keywords codification, types, civil law, legal certainty, ICT
Authors Patricia Popelier
AbstractAuthor's information

    In western civil law jurisdictions, 19th century large-scale codification projects have made way for more specific, technical operations. While several terms for various operations are used – from coordination to consolidation or recasting – they all serve to compile normative texts within one single document for the sake of clarity and legal certainty. A more fundamental distinction can be made between formal and substantial codifications, the one more technical, the other large and fundamental. Substantial law reforms are problematized in this era of multilevel governance and digitalization. Nowadays, substantial codifications are essentially non-exhaustive, inconsistent, and fragmentized. Also, they rely upon formal consolidations, and generate new formal consolidations. While formal consolidations are still treated as logistic projects, more developed ICT tools may enable their transformation into continuous processes.


Patricia Popelier
Professor Constitutional Law and Legislative Studies, University of Antwerp.
Article

The Reform and Harmonization of Commercial Laws in the East African Community

Journal European Journal of Law Reform, Issue 4 2017
Keywords law reform, harmonization of laws, commercial laws, legal transplants, East African Community
Authors Agasha Mugasha
AbstractAuthor's information

    The partner states in the East African Community (EAC) have modernized their commercial laws to claim their post-colonial identity and facilitate development. While law reform and the harmonization of laws are both methods of shaping laws, the national law reform programmes in the EAC mainly aim to ensure that the laws reflect the domestic socioeconomic circumstances, in contrast to the harmonization of national commercial laws, which focuses on the attainment of economic development. This article observes that the reformed and harmonized commercial laws in the EAC are mainly legal transplants of the principles of transnational commercial law that have been adapted to meet domestic needs and aspirations.


Agasha Mugasha
Professor of Law, University of Essex; and former Chairperson, Uganda Law Reform Commission 2011-2015.
Article

ODR4Refugees through a Smartphone App

Journal International Journal of Online Dispute Resolution, Issue 1 2017
Keywords refugees, ODR, mediation, smartphone, disputes
Authors Petros Zourdoumis
AbstractAuthor's information

    For the past two years we have been monitoring in Greece several refugee related disputes such as disputes between refugees, intercultural disputes, disputes between refugees and the local community and disputes between refugees and the camp administration. We have also noticed that almost all refugees had smartphones as they were easy to carry with them and allow them to stay connected with those left behind or been relocated. Therefore in order to offer dispute resolution services we had to address two main issues: mobility & speed. We thought that technology could fit perfectly in this context. So, we decided, to develop a smartphone application for refugees that could create the environment for ODR. The App will not only resolve disputes online but try to prevent disputes or their escalation. Some of its innovative features will be personalized texts, language selection, disputes menu, automatic appointment of mediator, case filing, video, audio and text communication. It will have a friendly interface and be very easy to use even for those who have limited knowledge of technology and its download and use will be free for all refugees. The process will be conducted online by specially trained mediators and will be informal & flexible.


Petros Zourdoumis
Petros Zourdoumis is Founder of ODReurope, General Director of ADR point, a Fellow of the National Center for Technology and Dispute Resolution (USA) and project leader for ODR4Refugees (http://odr.info/petros-zourdoumis/).
Article

Equal Access to Information & Justice: A Report on the Online Dispute Resolution (ODR) Forum 2017

The Huge Potential of ODR, Greatly Underexplored (Paris, France, 12 and 13 June 2017)

Journal International Journal of Online Dispute Resolution, Issue 1 2017
Keywords ODR, equal access, justice online, information online, ICC
Authors Mirèze Philippe
AbstractAuthor's information

    This article is a brief report on the two-day conference on ‘Equal Access to Information & Justice, Online Dispute Resolution’, organized by the ICC in Paris on 12-13 June. Over 160 lawyers, magistrates, academics, researchers, dispute resolution organizations and online dispute resolution providers, from over 30 countries and representing each continent debated about the use of technology for the resolution of all types of disputes. The 60 speakers explored the future of dispute resolution and the role of technology in all legal fields, from mediation in conflict zones, to commercial and civil disputes. The huge potentials greatly underexplored were discussed. It was noted that much remains to be done to educate users and convince state courts, dispute resolution organizations, merchants and other services’ providers to offer access to justice online. Efforts must be undertaken to allow users seek remedy in an affordable way. The solution for an equal access to justice is to make such access available online. The issues of ethics and standards were also discussed, as well as the increase concern of data protection and cybersecurity. The recording of the discussions on the panels are available on the ICC Digital Library (ICCDRL).


Mirèze Philippe
Mirèze Philippe is a special counsel at the Secretariat of the ICC International Court of Arbitration. She is the founding co-president of ArbitralWomen and member of the Board, member of the Steering Committee of the Equal Representation in Arbitration Pledge, member of the Board of Advisors of Arbitrator Intelligence, member of the Advisory Board of Association Arbitri, and fellow of the National Center for Technology and Dispute Resolution.
Article

The New World Order in Dispute Resolution

Brexit and the Trump Presidency

Journal International Journal of Online Dispute Resolution, Issue 1 2017
Keywords dispute resolution, Brexit, Donald Trump, technology, trade
Authors Ijeoma Ononogbu
AbstractAuthor's information

    The Brexit vote and Donald J Trump as the leader of the Free world in 2016 brought in a new world order. Two hugely important and unexpected events of 2016. Both have called into question the stability of established international commercial dispute resolution schemes in the United Kingdom and the United States in our tech savvy world. As the impact of both events unfolds, adaptations made to the existing dispute resolution schemes will be negotiated and the role that technology can play in the new approaches to international commercial dispute resolution will be determined. Consequently, there has been the changing face of Western politics after the Cold War, based on traditional group identity giving way to an uncertain landscape in which the political class struggle to define. The impact and disruption of technology in politics has given everyone a voice regardless of social class. Consequently, the EU under Mr Juncker and the UK Prime Minister seem to have mutual respect in their negotiations, given that the UK has made a number of notable concessions in order to move the trade discussions forward.
    Under Donald Trump presidency, the state of North America Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) seems binary with the probing question will NAFTA survive or not. NAFTA is currently undergoing transformation, a process that incorporates Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS).


Ijeoma Ononogbu
Ijeoma Ononogbu is a London-based Solicitor, International Dispute Resolution, Director, Dispute Resolver Ltd and Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators.
Article

The 2017 Manfred Lachs Space Law Moot Court Competition

Case Concerning Lunar Facilities and Withdrawal from the Outer Space Treaty (Republic of Perovsk v. Republic of Titan)

Journal International Institute of Space Law, Issue 12 2017
Authors Melissa K. Force
Author's information

Melissa K. Force
Co-Chair, Manfred Lachs Space Law Moot Court Committee, IISL.
Article

The Law of Consumer Redress in an Evolving Digital Market

Upgrading from Alternative to Online Dispute Resolution

Journal International Journal of Online Dispute Resolution, Issue 2 2017
Keywords e-Commerce, Online Dispute Resolution, Alternative Dispute Resolution, consumer redress
Authors Pablo Cortés
AbstractAuthor's information

    This article contains the Introduction of a book with the same title recently published by Cambridge University Press, which is reproduced here with its permission. The book offers an updated analysis of the various consumer dispute resolution processes, its laws and best practices, which are collectively referred as the Law of Consumer Redress. The book argues that many consumer redress systems, and in particular publicly certified Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) entities, are more than a mere dispute resolution mechanism as they provide a public service for consumers that complements, and often replaces, the role of the courts. In examining the current redress models (i.e., public enforcement, private enforcement and other market options), the book calls for greater integration amongst these various redress options. It also advocates, inter alia, for processes that encourage parties to participate in ADR processes, settle meritorious claims and ensure extrajudicial enforcement of final outcomes. Lastly, the book calls for a more efficient rationalization of certified ADR entities, which should be better coordinated and accessible through technological means.


Pablo Cortés
Pablo Cortés is Professor of Civil Justice, University of Leicester, UK.

FANG Xuhui
FANG Xuhui is Law Professor of Nanchang University, associated researcher at Cyberjustice of University of Montreal, Senior Counsel of E-Better Business in Shenzhen, mediator of International Commercial Mediation Center for Belt & Road Initiative in Beijing and special mediator at Futian District Court of Shenzhen People’s Court.
Article

Intersecting Professions

A Public Health Perspective on Law to Address Health Care Conflicts

Journal International Journal of Conflict Engagement and Resolution, Issue 1 2017
Keywords public health, Alternative Dispute Resolution, public law, health promotion
Authors Michal Alberstein and Nadav Davidovitch PhD
AbstractAuthor's information

    This paper examines the intersection between the two professions – law and medicine – with reference to systematic transformations that have characterized their development in the past century. In particular, the paper examines the co-emergence of the new public health and health promotion scholarship along with the development of the Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) movement in the second half of the 20th century. The two movements, with their later developments, have aspired to change the focus of professionals in the field, and both have been tremendously successful on the one hand, and on the other have remained marginal to mainstream training and identity building of contemporary lawyers and doctors.


Michal Alberstein
Michal Alberstein is a Full Professor at The Faculty of Law, Bar-Ilan University, Israel. She is also the Primary Investigator on an ERC consolidator grant to study Judicial Conflict Resolution (JCR).

Nadav Davidovitch PhD
Nadav Davidovitch, MD, MPH, PhD is an epidemiologist and public health physician. He is a Full Professor and Director, School of Public Health, Faculty of Health Sciences and the Guilford-Glaser Faculty of Business and Management at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev in Israel.

    One of the prominent international human rights issues of the past decades has been the question of responsibility for human rights infringements related to the activities of nongovernmental actors and especially transnational corporations (TNCs). This challenge is directly related to the continuous increase in foreign capital investments witnessed in the past fifty years. The phenomenon is faithfully characterised by the fact that there are 80,000 transnational companies and some ten times as many subsidiaries operating in today’s world economy whose impact on people’s everyday lives has been steadily growing. This study aims to outline certain correlations between this new phenomenon of the business world and internationally acknowledged human rights. Within this framework the study attempts to explore the essence of the dilemma and presents the international law attempts aimed to remedy the infringements. Finally, the study analyses the international law solution currently in force and then examines the perspectives of the latest efforts.
    Traditionally speaking, human rights and theworldof businessrepresent two fields of law that do not, or rarely do overlap. The main reason for this is that, while human rights provide protection from arbitrary legislation and state measures primarily, the activities of business actors, including enterprises of various legal forms, are governed by law. This leads to the traditional view that the two fields may mainly overlap if arbitrary legislation or public power measures restrict or violate basic human rights that by nature apply to economic actors as well.1 This interpretation is faithfully reflected also by the case law of international human rights forums like the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR),according to which the protection of the property rights and the good reputation of economic actors are essential not only for the benefit of the individual shareholders and employees but also for the healthy operation and development of the wider economy.2 In other words, according to the traditional view of the relationship of human rights and the business world some of the human rights facilitate the development of business players’ economic/business activity and protect their market operations from arbitrary state interventions and public power measures.
    This traditional view has, at the same time, been complemented by a series of new phenomena in the past fifty years that shed new light on the correlations between human rights and the business world as well ason the role and task of human rights in the world of business. All over the world the traditional theorem that human rights can exclusively provide protection from the arbitrariness of state measures or serve as a benchmark for state legislation and, accordingly, their role in the business world may ultimately be restricted to the protection of the market and its players, has been refuted increasingly frequently. This continuous change and expansion of the roles of businesses have primarily been triggered by the trade and capital liberalisation that has been characteristic for the past fifty years and has fit closely with the general globalisation process of the world economy. This liberalisation was both extremely enhanced in intensity and extended geographically by the political changes characterizing the early 1990s. The ultimate liberalisation of colonial empires and territories on the one hand and the collapse of the communist political and economic regimes on the other hand opened way to an exceptional economic integration. This phenomenon is characterised by several authors, including the historian and political scientist Henry Kissinger in his latest book, as a governance gap, i. e. a sort of regulatory hiatus.3 This expression implies that one of the major challenges faced by today’s international community, as a consequence of the globalisation of the world economy, is a hiatus in legal and especially international law regulations. What specific human rights infringements indicate this novel dilemma? What attempts have been made in the past fifty years to remedy these human rights infringements? What framework does international law currently offer to remedy these infringements? What future ambitions are envisaged in this field? This study gives an overview of this novel challenge of international law and explores these topical dilemmas of the field. First it gives a brief overview of the essence of the new phenomenon of human rights infringements (10.1), followed by the description of the international law efforts aimed to remedy the infringements (10.2). The study then outlines the international law regulations currently in force, meant to address this challenge, and finally it examines the perspectives of the latest initiative (10.3).
    The study aims to present a comprehensive picture of certain correlations between the world of business and internationally acknowledged human rights. By analysing the development of international law, it wishes to contribute to systemising this challenging public debate and to further considering the potential courses of the required reforms.


Lénárd Sándor
Constitutional Court of Hungary, Pázmány Péter Catholic University, Budapest.

Franciska Takó-Bencze
Trainee judge at the Budapest-Capital Regional Court.

Sándor Takó
Visiting lecturer of Pazmany Peter Catholic University at the Department of Private Law as well as at the Budapest Metropolitan University.

    A recent decision by the Labour Court found that a policy requiring employees to speak English in the workplace constituted discrimination on grounds of national origin but was objectively justifiable.


Orla O’Leary
Orla O’Leary is a Senior Associate at Mason Hayes & Curran.
Article

Access_open Evaluating BEPS

Journal Erasmus Law Review, Issue 1 2017
Keywords tax avoidance, tax evasion, benefits principle
Authors Reuven S. Avi-Yonah and Haiyan Xu
AbstractAuthor's information

    This article evaluates the recently completed Base Erosion and Profit Shifting (BEPS) project of the G20 and OECD and offers some alternatives for reform.


Reuven S. Avi-Yonah
Reuven Avi-Yonah is Irwin I. Cohn Professor of Law, the University of Michigan.

Haiyan Xu
Haiyan Xu is Professor of Law, University of International Business & Economics, Beijing; SJD candidate, the University of Michigan.

    The OECD BEPS Action 6 report contains a principal purpose test rule (PPT rule) for the purpose of combating abuse of tax treaties. This PPT rule is also included in the OECD Multilateral Instrument.
    The PPT rule is (amongst others) applicable when ‘it is reasonable to conclude’ that a benefit (granted by a tax treaty) was one of the principal purposes of any arrangement/transaction. This requirement contains two elements: the reasonableness test and the principal purpose test.
    In literature it is observed that (i) the reasonableness test of the PPT rule could be contrary to the European Union’s principle of legal certainty; (ii) that the OECD PPT rule gives the tax authorities too much discretion and, therefore, is not in line with EU law and (iii) there is doubt whether the OECD PPT rule contains a genuine economic activity test and therefore is in contravention of the abuse of law case law of the CJEU.
    In this contribution, I defend that none of the above-mentioned reasons the OECD PPT rule is contrary to EU law. The only potential problem I see is that the OECD PPT rule is broader (no artificiality required) compared to the GAARs in Anti-Tax Avoidance Directive and the Parent–Subsidiary Directive.


Dennis Weber
Dennis Weber is a professor of European corporate tax law at the University of Amsterdam and director and founder of the Amsterdam Centre for Tax Law (ACTL).
Article

Access_open The Integrity of the Tax System after BEPS: A Shared Responsibility

Journal Erasmus Law Review, Issue 1 2017
Keywords flawed legislation, tax privileges, tax planning, corporate social responsibility, tax professionals
Authors Hans Gribnau
AbstractAuthor's information

    The international tax system is the result of the interaction of different actors who share the responsibility for its integrity. States and multinational corporations both enjoy to a certain extent freedom of choice with regard to their tax behaviour – which entails moral responsibility. Making, interpreting and using tax rules therefore is inevitably a matter of exercising responsibility. Both should abstain from viewing tax laws as a bunch of technical rules to be used as a tool without any intrinsic moral or legal value. States bear primary responsibility for the integrity of the international tax system. They should become more reticent in their use of tax as regulatory instrument – competing with one another for multinationals’ investment. They should also act more responsibly by cooperating to make better rules to prevent aggressive tax planning, which entails a shift in tax payments from very expert taxpayers to other taxpayers. Here, the distributive justice of the tax system and a level playing field should be guaranteed. Multinationals should abstain from putting pressure on states and lobbying for favourable tax rules that disproportionally affect other taxpayers – SMEs and individual taxpayers alike. Multinationals and their tax advisers should avoid irresponsible conduct by not aiming to pay a minimalist amount of (corporate income) taxes – merely staying within the boundaries of the letter of the law. Especially CSR-corporations should assume the responsibility for the integrity of the tax system.


Hans Gribnau
Professor of Tax Law, Fiscal Institute and the Center for Company Law, Tilburg University; Professor of Tax Law, Leiden University, The Netherlands.
Article

Access_open Post-BEPS Tax Advisory and Tax Structuring from a Tax Practitioner’s View

Journal Erasmus Law Review, Issue 1 2017
Keywords BEPS, value creation, tax structuring, international taxation
Authors Paul Lankhorst and Harmen van Dam
AbstractAuthor's information

    The international tax landscape is changing and it is changing fast. The political perception is that taxation of multinational enterprises is not aligned with the ‘economic activity’ that produces their profits (i.e. not aligned with ‘value creation’). The perception links ‘value creation’ with ‘employees and sales’.
    In the BEPS Project of the OECD, the OECD attempts to combat base erosion and profit shifting and to align taxation with value creation. In this article, the authors discuss the impact they expect BEPS to have on tax advisory and tax planning. The focus goes to BEPS Actions 7, 8-10 and 13.
    By maintaining the separate entity approach under BEPS for the taxation of multinationals, has the OECD been forced to ‘stretch’ existing rules beyond their limits? Will the created uncertainty lead to a shift from ‘aggressive tax planning’ by multinationals to ‘aggressive tax collection’ by tax administrations? Will the role of tax advisory change from advising on the lowest possible effective tax rate to a broader advice including risk appetite and public expectations?


Paul Lankhorst
Paul Lankhorst, MSc LLM, is tax adviser at Loyens & Loeff.

Harmen van Dam
Harmen van Dam, LLM, is tax partner at Loyens & Loeff.
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