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Article

Access_open The Brussels International Business Court: Initial Overview and Analysis

Journal Erasmus Law Review, Issue 1 2019
Keywords international jurisdiction, English, court language, Belgium, business court
Authors Erik Peetermans and Philippe Lambrecht
AbstractAuthor's information

    In establishing the Brussels International Business Court (BIBC), Belgium is following an international trend to attract international business disputes to English-speaking state courts. The BIBC will be an autonomous business court with the competence to settle, in English, disputes between companies throughout Belgium. This article focuses on the BIBC’s constitutionality, composition, competence, proceedings and funding, providing a brief analysis and critical assessment of each of these points. At the time of writing, the Belgian Federal Parliament has not yet definitively passed the Bill establishing the BIBC, meaning that amendments are still possible.


Erik Peetermans
Erik Peetermans is a legal adviser at the Federation of Enterprises in Belgium (FEB).

Philippe Lambrecht
Philippe Lambrecht is the Director-Secretary General at the Federation of Enterprises in Belgium (FEB).
Article

Access_open Joinder of Non-Consenting Parties: The Singapore International Commercial Court Approach Meets Transnational Recognition and Enforcement

Journal Erasmus Law Review, Issue 1 2019
Keywords international commercial courts, international business courts, third parties, third party joinder, recognition and enforcement
Authors Drossos Stamboulakis and Blake Crook
AbstractAuthor's information

    In this article we explore the approach of the Singapore International Commercial Court (the ‘SICC’) to jurisdiction and joinder of non-consenting parties, and way that any resulting judgments are likely to be treated by foreign enforcing courts. This novel juncture arises as international commercial courts, such as the SICC, rely predominantly upon party autonomy to enliven their jurisdiction over disputants. This does not require any territorial link of the parties or the dispute to the host jurisdiction (Singapore). At the same time, however, the SICC is granted a mandate under Singaporean law to join non-consenting parties, again with no necessary territorial link. Where such joinder occurs, any resulting judgment is likely to face significant difficulties if recognition and enforcement is sought outside of Singapore. To support this argument, we first set out the ways in which non-consenting disputants may be joined to proceedings before the SICC, and offer some initial thoughts on how these powers are likely to be exercised. Second, we argue that any such exercise of jurisdiction – that lacks either territorial or consent-based jurisdiction grounds – is unlikely to gain support internationally, by reference to transnational recognition and enforcement approaches, and the SICC’s most likely recognition and enforcement destinations. Finally, we offer some concluding remarks about the utility of international commercial court proceedings against non-consenting parties, including the possibility they may impact on domestic recognition and enforcement approaches in foreign States.


Drossos Stamboulakis
B.Com, LLB (Hons) (Monash); LLM (EMLE); Law Lecturer, USC School of Law (University of the Sunshine Coast, Australia)

Blake Crook
PhD Candidate, Faculty of Law (University of Melbourne, Australia), B.Com (Acc), LLB (Hons) (Sunshine Coast).
Article

Access_open Requirements upon Agreements in Favour of the NCC and the German Chambers – Clashing with the Brussels Ibis Regulation?

Journal Erasmus Law Review, Issue 1 2019
Keywords international commercial courts, the Netherlands Commercial Court (NCC), Chambers for International Commercial Disputes (Kammern für internationale Handelssachen), Brussels Ibis Regulation, choice of court agreements, formal requirements
Authors Georgia Antonopoulou
AbstractAuthor's information

    In recent years, the Netherlands and Germany have added themselves to the ever-growing number of countries opting for the creation of an international commercial court. The Netherlands Commercial Court (NCC) and the German Chambers for International Commercial Disputes (Kammern für internationale Handelssachen, KfiH) will conduct proceedings entirely in English and follow their own, diverging rules of civil procedure. Aspiring to become the future venues of choice in international commercial disputes, the NCC law and the legislative proposal for the establishment of the KfiH allow parties to agree on their jurisdiction and entail detailed provisions regulating such agreements. In particular, the NCC requires the parties’ express and in writing agreement to litigate before it. In a similar vein, the KfiH legislative proposal requires in some instances an express and in writing agreement. Although such strict formal requirements are justified by the need to safeguard the procedural rights of weaker parties such as small enterprises and protect them from the peculiarities of the NCC and the KfiH, this article questions their compliance with the requirements upon choice of court agreements under Article 25 (1) Brussels Ibis Regulation. By qualifying agreements in favour of the NCC and the KfiH first as functional jurisdiction agreements and then as procedural or court language agreements this article concludes that the formal requirements set by the NCC law and the KfiH proposal undermine the effectiveness of the Brussels Ibis Regulation, complicate the establishment of these courts’ jurisdiction and may thus threaten their attractiveness as future litigation destinations.


Georgia Antonopoulou
PhD candidate at Erasmus School of Law, Rotterdam.
Article

Access_open Chambers for International Commercial Disputes in Germany: The State of Affairs

Journal Erasmus Law Review, Issue 1 2019
Keywords Justizinitiative Frankfurt, Law Made in Germany, International Commercial Disputes, Forum Selling, English Language Proceedings
Authors Burkhard Hess and Timon Boerner
AbstractAuthor's information

    The prospect of attracting foreign commercial litigants to German courts in the wake of Brexit has led to a renaissance of English-language commercial litigation in Germany. Leading the way is the Frankfurt District Court, where – as part of the ‘Justizinitiative Frankfurt’ – a new specialised Chamber for International Commercial Disputes has been established. Frankfurt’s prominent position in the financial sector and its internationally oriented bar support this decision. Borrowing best practices from patent litigation and arbitration, the Chamber offers streamlined and litigant-focused proceedings, with English-language oral hearings, within the current legal framework of the German Code of Civil Procedure (ZPO).1xZivilprozessordnung (ZPO).
    However, to enable the complete litigation process – including the judgment – to proceed in English requires changes to the German Courts Constitution Act2xGerichtsverfassungsgesetz (GVG). (GVG). A legislative initiative in the Bundesrat aims to establish a suitable legal framework by abolishing the mandatory use of German as the language of proceedings. Whereas previous attempts at such comprehensive amendments achieved only limited success, support by several major federal states indicates that this time the proposal will succeed.
    With other English-language commercial court initiatives already established or planned in both other EU Member States and Germany, it is difficult to anticipate whether – and how soon – Frankfurt will succeed in attracting English-speaking foreign litigants. Finally, developments such as the 2018 Initiative for Expedited B2B Procedures of the European Parliament or the ELI–UNIDROIT project on Transnational Principles of Civil Procedure may also shape the long-term playing field.

Noten

  • 1 Zivilprozessordnung (ZPO).

  • 2 Gerichtsverfassungsgesetz (GVG).


Burkhard Hess
Burkhard Hess is the Executive Director of the Max Planck Institute Luxembourg for International, European and Regulatory Procedural Law (MPI Luxembourg).

Timon Boerner
Timon Boerner is a Research Fellow at the MPI Luxembourg.
Article

Access_open The Court of the Astana International Financial Center in the Wake of Its Predecessors

Journal Erasmus Law Review, Issue 1 2019
Keywords international financial centers, offshore courts, international business courts, Kazakhstan
Authors Nicolás Zambrana-Tévar
AbstractAuthor's information

    The Court of the Astana International Financial Center is a new dispute resolution initiative meant to attract investors in much the same way as it has been done in the case of the courts and arbitration mechanisms of similar financial centers in the Persian Gulf. This paper examines such initiatives from a comparative perspective, focusing on their Private International Law aspects such as jurisdiction, applicable law and recognition and enforcement of judgments and arbitration awards. The paper concludes that their success, especially in the case of the younger courts, will depend on the ability to build harmonious relationships with the domestic courts of each host country.


Nicolás Zambrana-Tévar
LLM (LSE), PhD (Navarra), KIMEP University.
Article

Access_open Matchmaking International Commercial Courts and Lawyers’ Preferences in Europe

Journal Erasmus Law Review, Issue 1 2019
Keywords choice of court, commercial court, lawyers’ preferences, survey on lawyers, international court
Authors Erlis Themeli
AbstractAuthor's information

    France, Germany, Belgium, and the Netherlands have taken concrete steps to design and develop international commercial courts. Most of the projects claim to be building courts that match the preferences of court users. They also try to challenge England and Wales, which evidence suggests is the most attractive jurisdiction in the EU. For the success of these projects, it is important that their proposed courts corresponds with the expectations of the parties, but also manages to attract some of the litigants that go to London. This article argues that lawyers are the most important group of choice makers, and that their preferences are not sufficiently matched by the new courts. Lawyers have certain litigation service and court perception preferences. And while the new courts improve their litigation service, they do not sufficiently addressed these court perception preferences.


Erlis Themeli
Postdoc, Erasmus School of Law, Erasmus University Rotterdam.
Article

Access_open Fostering Worker Cooperatives with Blockchain Technology: Lessons from the Colony Project

Journal Erasmus Law Review, Issue 3 2018
Keywords blockchain, collaborative economy, cooperative governance, decentralised governance, worker cooperatives
Authors Morshed Mannan
AbstractAuthor's information

    In recent years, there has been growing policy support for expanding worker ownership of businesses in the European Union. Debates on stimulating worker ownership are a regular feature of discussions on the collaborative economy and the future of work, given anxieties regarding the reconfiguration of the nature of work and the decline of standardised employment contracts. Yet, worker ownership, in the form of labour-managed firms such as worker cooperatives, remains marginal. This article explains the appeal of worker cooperatives and examines the reasons why they continue to be relatively scarce. Taking its cue from Henry Hansmann’s hypothesis that organisational innovations can make worker ownership of firms viable in previously untenable circumstances, this article explores how organisational innovations, such as those embodied in the capital and governance structure of Decentralised (Autonomous) Organisations (D(A)Os), can potentially facilitate the growth of LMFs. It does so by undertaking a case study of a blockchain project, Colony, which seeks to create decentralised, self-organising companies where decision-making power derives from high-quality work. For worker cooperatives, seeking to connect globally dispersed workers through an online workplace, Colony’s proposed capital and governance structure, based on technological and game theoretic insight may offer useful lessons. Drawing from this pre-figurative structure, self-imposed institutional rules may be deployed by worker cooperatives in their by-laws to avoid some of the main pitfalls associated with labour management and thereby, potentially, vitalise the formation of the cooperative form.


Morshed Mannan
Morshed Mannan, LLM (Adv.), PhD Candidate, Company Law Department, Institute of Private Law, Universiteit Leiden.
Article

Access_open Armed On-board Protection of German Ships (and by German Companies)

Journal Erasmus Law Review, Issue 4 2018
Keywords German maritime security, private armed security, privately contracted armed security personnel, anti-piracy-measures, state oversight
Authors Tim R. Salomon
AbstractAuthor's information

    Germany reacted to the rise of piracy around the Horn of Africa not only by deploying its armed forces to the region, but also by overhauling the legal regime concerning private security providers. It introduced a dedicated licensing scheme mandatory for German maritime security providers and maritime security providers wishing to offer their services on German-flagged vessels. This legal reform resulted in a licensing system with detailed standards for the internal organisation of a security company and the execution of maritime security services. Content wise, the German law borrows broadly from internationally accepted standards. Despite deficits in state oversight and compliance control, the licensing scheme sets a high standard e.g. by mandating that a security team must consist of a minimum of four security guards. The lacking success of the scheme suggested by the low number of companies still holding a license may be due to the fact that ship-owners have traditionally been reluctant to travel high-risk areas under the German flag. Nevertheless, the German law is an example of a national regulation that has had some impact on the industry at large.


Tim R. Salomon
The author is a legal adviser to the German Federal Armed Forces (Bundeswehr) and currently seconded to the German Federal Constitutional Court.
Article

Access_open Armed On-board Protection of Danish Vessels Authorisation and Use of Force in Self-defence in a Legal Perspective

Journal Erasmus Law Review, Issue 4 2018
Keywords piracy, private security companies (PSC), privately contracted armed security personnel (PCASP), use of force, Denmark
Authors Christian Frier
AbstractAuthor's information

    This article examines the legal issues pertaining to the use of civilian armed guards on board Danish-flagged ships for protection against piracy. The Danish model of regulation is interesting for several reasons. Firstly, the Danish Government was among the first European flag States to allow and formalise their use in a commercial setting. Secondly, the distribution of assignments between public authorities and private actors stands out as very pragmatic, as ship owners and contracting private security companies are empowered with competences which are traditionally considered as public administrative powers. Thirdly, the lex specialis framework governing the authorisation and use of force in self-defence is non-exhaustive, thus referring to lex generalis regulation, which does not take the special circumstances surrounding the use of armed guards into consideration. As a derived effect the private actors involved rely heavily on soft law and industry self-regulation instrument to complement the international and national legal framework.


Christian Frier
Christian Frier is research assistant at the Department of Law, University of Southern Denmark. He obtained his PhD in Law in March 2019.
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

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.
Article

Access_open Corporate Taxation and BEPS: A Fair Slice for Developing Countries?

Journal Erasmus Law Review, Issue 1 2017
Keywords Fairness, international tax, legitimacy, BEPS, developing countries
Authors Irene Burgers and Irma Mosquera
AbstractAuthor's information

    The aim of this article is to examine the differences in perception of ‘fairness’ between developing and developed countries, which influence developing countries’ willingness to embrace the Base Erosion and Profit Shifting (BEPS) proposals and to recommend as to how to overcome these differences. The article provides an introduction to the background of the OECD’s BEPS initiatives (Action Plan, Low Income Countries Report, Multilateral Framework, Inclusive Framework) and the concerns of developing countries about their ability to implement BEPS (Section 1); a non-exhaustive overview of the shortcomings of the BEPS Project and its Action Plan in respect of developing countries (Section 2); arguments on why developing countries might perceive fairness in relation to corporate income taxes differently from developed countries (Section 3); and recommendations for international organisations, governments and academic researchers on where fairness in respect of developing countries should be more properly addressed (Section 4).


Irene Burgers
Irene Burgers is Professor of International and European Tax Law, Faculty of Law, and Professor of Economics of Taxation, Faculty of Business and Economics, University of Groningen.

Irma Mosquera
Irma Mosquera, Ph.D. is Senior Research Associate at the International Bureau of Fiscal Documentation IBFD and Tax Adviser Hamelink & Van den Tooren.

Maarten Floris de Wilde
PhD, LLM, Erasmus University Rotterdam and Loyens & Loeff.
Article

Access_open A World Apart? Private Investigations in the Corporate Sector

Journal Erasmus Law Review, Issue 4 2016
Keywords Corporate security, private investigations, private troubles, public/private differentiation
Authors Clarissa Meerts
AbstractAuthor's information

    This article explores the investigative methods used by corporate security within organisations concerned about property misappropriation by their own staff and/or others. The research methods are qualitative: interviews, observations and case studies carried out between October 2012 and November 2015. The findings include that, even though corporate investigators do not have the formal investigative powers enjoyed by police and other public agencies, they do have multiple methods of investigation at their disposal, some of which are less used by public investigative agencies, for example the in-depth investigation of internal systems. Corporate investigators also rely heavily on interviews, the investigation of documentation and financial administration and the investigation of communication devices and open sources. However, there are many additional sources of information (for example, site visits or observations), which might be available to corporate investigators. The influences from people from different backgrounds, most notably (forensic) accountants, (former) police officers, private investigators and lawyers, together with the creativity that is necessary (and possible) when working without formal investigative powers, make corporate security a diverse field. It is argued that these factors contribute to a differentiation between public and private actors in the field of corporate security.


Clarissa Meerts
Clarissa Meerts, MSc., is a PhD student at the Criminology Department of the Erasmus University Rotterdam.
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