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

Ton Stevens
Prof. Dr. 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.
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.
Article

Access_open Reflections on the 50th Anniversary of the EU Customs Union

Journal Erasmus Law Review, Issue 3 2019
Keywords Brexit, EU Customs Union, internal market
Authors Martijn L. Schippers and Walter de Wit
Author's information

Martijn L. Schippers
Martijn Schippers is a PhD Candidate at the Erasmus School of Law and affiliated to EY.

Walter de Wit
Walter de Wit is a professor in International and European Customs Law at the Erasmus School of Law and affiliated to EY.
Article

Access_open The EU Customs Union after Brexit

How from a Customs Perspective the Integrity of the Internal Market Is Protected after the Transitional Phase under the Revised Protocol on Ireland/Northern Ireland

Journal Erasmus Law Review, Issue 3 2019
Keywords Brexit, EU Customs Union, Internal Market
Authors Walter de Wit
AbstractAuthor's information

    In this contribution the author examines how, from a customs perspective, the integrity of the internal market is protected after the transitional phase under the Revised Protocol on Ireland/Northern Ireland. He briefly discusses the customs aspects of the Withdrawal Agreement and then examines in depth the revised arrangement with regard to the Irish border in light of the protection of the integrity of the internal market. He shows that the revised arrangement cleared the Brexit deal through parliament and paved the UK’s way to leave the EU on 31 January 2020. He concludes, however, that given the complexity of the legislation underlying the revised arrangement, the UK will be paying a high price for getting Brexit done, keeping the Irish border open and protecting the integrity of the internal market of the EU.


Walter de Wit
Walter de Wit is a professor in International and European Customs Law at the Erasmus School of Law and is also affiliated to EY.
Article

Access_open The Foundations of the Internal Market: Free Trade Area and Customs Union under Articles 28-31 TFEU

Journal Erasmus Law Review, Issue 3 2019
Keywords free trade area, EU Customs Union, internal market, European Union, Brexit
Authors Stefan Enchelmaier
AbstractAuthor's information

    This contribution places the provisions of the Treaty creating a free trade area and customs union between the Member States (Articles 28-31 TFEU) in their wider context. It then focuses on the interpretation of Article 30 in the jurisprudence of the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU). Throughout, it casts sideways glances at corresponding provisions of General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT). As it turns out, the abolition of customs duties and charges having equivalent effect, and the establishment of a customs union between Member States, were important milestones in the development of European unification. They became overshadowed later by more spectacular developments in the case law on the free movement of goods, persons and services. As a consequence, the importance of the customs provisions is widely underrated. Brexit concentrates the minds in this respect, as an important economy is about to rearrange and even recreate the basic building blocks of its international trading relations.


Stefan Enchelmaier
Stefan Enchelmaier, Dr iur (Bonn) habil (Munich) LLM (Edinb) MA (Oxon) is Professor of European and Comparative Law at Lincoln College, University of Oxford.
Article

Access_open Impact of International Law on the EU Customs Union

Journal Erasmus Law Review, Issue 3 2019
Keywords European Union, customs union, international law, customs legislation, autonomous standards
Authors Achim Rogmann
AbstractAuthor's information

    This contribution examines the various international instruments, in both hard and soft law, that have been established by international organisations such as the WTO and WCO and scrutinises how they have been implemented into EU legislation governing the EU Customs Union, thus demonstrating the substantial influence of international instruments on the Customs Union. As the relevant international instruments affect not only the traditional elements of European customs law, but also the EU’s entire export control regime and the framework of the internal market, this contribution demonstrates, moreover, how the Customs Union functions in a globalised world.


Achim Rogmann
Achim Rogmann, LL.M is professor of law at the Brunswick European Law School at Ostfalia Hochschule fur angewandte Wissenschaften.
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 The Conduit between Technological Change and Regulation

Journal Erasmus Law Review, Issue 3 2018
Keywords technology, socio-technological change, money, windmill, data
Authors Marta Katarzyna Kołacz and Alberto Quintavalla
AbstractAuthor's information

    This article discusses how the law has approached disparate socio-technological innovations over the centuries. Precisely, the primary concern of this paper is to investigate the timing of regulatory intervention. To do so, the article makes a selection of particular innovations connected with money, windmills and data storage devices, and analyses them from a historical perspective. The individual insights from the selected innovations should yield a more systematic view on regulation and technological innovations. The result is that technological changes may be less momentous, from a regulatory standpoint, than social changes.


Marta Katarzyna Kołacz
Marta Katarzyna Kołacz, Ph.D. Candidate in the Department of Private Law, Erasmus School of Law, Erasmus University Rotterdam, The Netherlands.

Alberto Quintavalla
Alberto Quintavalla, LL.M., Ph.D. Candidate in the Rotterdam Institute of Law and Economics, Erasmus School of Law, Erasmus University Rotterdam, The Netherlands.

    Despite enjoying distinct and privileged constitutional statuses, the Indigenous minorities of Malaysia, namely, the natives of Sabah, natives of Sarawak and the Peninsular Malaysia Orang Asli continue to endure dispossession from their customary lands, territories and resources. In response, these groups have resorted to seeking justice in the domestic courts to some degree of success. Over the last two decades, the Malaysian judiciary has applied the constitutional provisions and developed the common law to recognise and protect Indigenous land and resource rights beyond the literal confines of the written law. This article focuses on the effectiveness of the Malaysian courts in delivering the preferred remedy of Indigenous communities for land and resource issues, specifically, the restitution or return of traditional areas to these communities. Despite the Courts’ recognition and to a limited extent, return of Indigenous lands and resources beyond that conferred upon by the executive and legislative arms of government, it is contended that the utilisation of the judicial process is a potentially slow, costly, incongruous and unpredictable process that may also not necessarily be free from the influence of the domestic political and policy debates surrounding the return of Indigenous lands, territories and resources.


Yogeswaran Subramaniam Ph.D.
Yogeswaran Subramaniam is an Advocate and Solicitor in Malaysia and holds a PhD from the University of New South Wales for his research on Orang Asli land rights. In addition to publishing extensively on Orang Asli land and resource rights, he has acted as legal counsel in a number of landmark indigenous land rights decisions in Malaysia.

Colin Nicholas
Colin Nicholas is the founder and coordinator of the Centre for Orang Asli Concerns (COAC). He received a PhD from the University of Malaya on the topic of Orang Asli: Politics, Development and Identity, and has authored several academic articles and books on Orang Asli issues. He has provided expert evidence in a number of leading Orang Asli cases. The law stated in this article is current as on 1 October 2017.

    The judgment of the Inter-American Court of Human Rights in the case of Kaliña and Lokono Peoples v. Suriname is noteworthy for a number of reasons. Particularly important is the Court’s repeated citation and incorporation of various provisions of the 2007 United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples into its interpretation of the American Convention on Human Rights. This aids in greater understanding of the normative value of the Declaration’s provisions, particularly when coupled with the dramatic increase in affirmations of that instrument by UN treaty bodies, Special Procedures and others. The Court’s analysis also adds detail and further content to the bare architecture of the Declaration’s general principles and further contributes to the crystallisation of the discrete, although still evolving, body of law upholding indigenous peoples’ rights. Uptake of the Court’s jurisprudence by domestic tribunals further contributes to this state of dynamic interplay between sources and different fields of law.


Fergus MacKay JD
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.

    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 A Law and Economics Approach to Norms in Transnational Commercial Transactions: Incorporation and Internalisation

Journal Erasmus Law Review, Issue 1 2016
Keywords Incorporation and internalisation, transnational commercial transactions, transnational commercial norms
Authors Bo Yuan
AbstractAuthor's information

    In today’s global economy, a noticeable trend is that the traditional state-law-centred legal framework is increasingly challenged by self-regulatory private orders. Commercial norms, commercial arbitration and social sanctions at the international level have become important alternatives to national laws, national courts and legal sanctions at the national level. Consisting of transnational commercial norms, both codified and uncodified, and legal norms, both national and international, a plural regime for the governance of transnational commercial transactions has emerged and developed in the past few decades. This article explores the interaction between various kinds of norms in this regime, identifies the effects of this interaction on the governance of transnational commercial transactions and shows the challenges to this interaction at the current stage. The central argument of this article is that the interaction between social and legal norms, namely incorporation and internalisation, and the three effects derived from incorporation and internalisation, namely systematisation, harmonisation and compliance enhancement, are evident at both the national and international levels. In particular, the emergence of codified transnational commercial norms that are positioned in the middle of the continuum between national legal norms and uncodified transnational commercial norms has brought changes to the interaction within the international dimension. Although the development of codified transnational commercial norms faces several challenges at the moment, it can be expected that these norms will play an increasingly important role in the future governance of transnational commercial transactions.


Bo Yuan
Bo Yuan is a Ph.D. candidate at the Erasmus University Rotterdam, Department of Law and Economics.
Article

Access_open Global Citizens and Family Relations

Journal Erasmus Law Review, Issue 3 2014
Keywords global governance, family relations, nationality, habitual residence, party autonomy
Authors Professor Yuko Nishitani Ph.D.
AbstractAuthor's information

    As globalisation progresses, cross-border movements of people are becoming dynamic and multilateral. The existence of different groups and minorities within the community renders the society multiethnic and multicultural. As individuals acquire new affiliation and belonging, the conventional conflict of laws methods may no longer be viable and should be subject to a thorough re-examination. Against this background, this paper analyses appropriate conflicts rules in international family relations to reflect an individual’s identity. Furthermore, in light of the contemporary law fragmentation, this study also analyses interactions between state law and non-state cultural, religious or customary norms.


Professor Yuko Nishitani Ph.D.
Professor at Kyushu University Faculty of Law, Japan. This work was supported by the JSPS Grants-in-Aid for Scientific Research (C) (Grant Number 26380063). The author sincerely thanks Professor Carol Lawson (Nagoya University) and Ms. Nettie Dekker for their devoted editing work.
Article

Access_open Tax Competition within the European Union – Is the CCCTB Directive a Solution?

Journal Erasmus Law Review, Issue 1 2014
Keywords tax competition, tax planning, European Union, Common Consolidated Corporate Tax Base, factor manipulation
Authors Maarten de Wilde LL.M
AbstractAuthor's information

    The author addresses the phenomenon of taxable profit-shifting operations undertaken by multinationals in response to countries competing for corporate tax bases within the European Union. The central question is whether this might be a relic of the past when the European Commission’s proposal for a Council Directive on a Common Consolidated Corporate Tax Base sees the light of day. Or would the EU-wide corporate tax system provide incentives for multinationals to pursue artificial tax base-shifting practices within the EU, potentially invigorating the risk of undue governmental tax competition responses? The author’s tentative answer on the potential for artificial base shifting and undue tax competition is in the affirmative. Today, the issue of harmful tax competition within the EU seems to have been pushed back as a result of the soft law approaches that were initiated in the late 1990s and early 2000s. But things might change if the CCCTB proposal as currently drafted enters into force. There may be a risk that substantial parts of the EU tax base would instantly become mobile as of that day. As the EU Member States at that time seem to have only a single tool available to respond to this – the tax rate – that may perhaps initiate an undesirable race for the EU tax base, at least theoretically.


Maarten de Wilde LL.M
LL.M, Researcher/lecturer, Erasmus University Rotterdam (<dewilde@law.eur.nl>), lecturer, University of Amsterdam, tax lawyer, Loyens & Loeff NV, Rotterdam, the Netherlands. This article was written as part of the Erasmus School of Law research programme on ‘Fiscal Autonomy and Its Boundaries’. The author wishes to thank the anonymous reviewers for their constructive comments on an earlier draft of this article.
Article

Access_open How Law Manifests Itself in Australian Aboriginal Art

Journal Erasmus Law Review, Issue 3/4 2013
Keywords legal pluralism, native title, reconciliation, indigenous people of Australia, Aboriginal art
Authors Dr. Agnes T.M. Dr. Schreiner
AbstractAuthor's information

    The article How Law Manifests Itself in Australian Aboriginal Art will discuss two events at the Aboriginal Art Museum Utrecht from the perspective of a meeting between two artistic and legal cultures. The first event, on the art and law of the Spinifex people, will prove to be of a private law nature, whilst the second event, on the art and law of the Wik People, will show characteristics of international public law. This legal anthropological contribution may frustrate a pluralistic perspective with regard to the coexistence of Western law and Aboriginal law on the one hand and of Utrecht's Modern Art Museum and the presented Aboriginal Art on the other. It will show instead the self-evidence of art and law presented and their intertwined connection for the Aboriginal or indigenous peoples of Australia.


Dr. Agnes T.M. Dr. Schreiner
Agnes T.M. Schreiner studied Law and is Lecturer on several themes of the General Jurisprudence at the Law Faculty, University of Amsterdam, The Netherlands. Within the Masterprogram European Private law she teaches the course Anthropology of European Private Law. She received her Ph.D. in 1990. She has specialized in a series of subjects: Law & Media, Law & Arts, Law & Rituals, Law & Culture, Law & Semiotics and Law & Social Sciences.
Article

Access_open At the Crossroads of National and European Union Law. Experiences of National Judges in a Multi-level Legal Order

Journal Erasmus Law Review, Issue 3/4 2013
Keywords national judges, legal pluralism, application of EU law, legal consciousness, supremacy and direct effect of EU law
Authors Urszula Jaremba Ph.D.
AbstractAuthor's information

    The notion and theory of legal pluralism have been witnessing an increasing interest on part of scholars. The theory that originates from the legal anthropological studies and is one of the major topical streams in the realm of socio-legal studies slowly but steady started to become a point of departure for other disciplines. Unavoidably it has also gained attention from the scholars in the realm of the law of the European Union. It is the aim of the present article to illustrate the legal reality in which the law of the Union and the national laws coexist and intertwine with each other and, subsequently, to provide some insight on the manner national judges personally construct their own understanding of this complex legal architecture and the problems they come across in that respect. In that sense, the present article not only illustrates the new, pluralistic legal environment that came into being with the founding of the Communities, later the European Union, but also adds another dimension to this by presenting selected, empirical data on how national judges in several Member States of the EU individually perceive, adapt to, experience and make sense of this reality of overlapping and intertwining legal orders. Thus, the principal aim of this article is to illustrate how the pluralistic legal system works in the mind of a national judge and to capture the more day-to-day legal reality by showing how the law works on the ground through the lived experiences of national judges.


Urszula Jaremba Ph.D.
Urszula Jaremba, PhD, assistant professor at the Department of European Union Law, School of Law, Erasmus University Rotterdam. I am grateful to the editors of this Special Issue: Prof. Dr. Sanne Taekema and Dr. Wibo van Rossum as well as to the two anonymous reviewers for their useful comments. I am also indebted to Dr. Tobias Nowak for giving me his consent to use the data concerning the Dutch and German judges in this article. This article is mostly based on a doctoral research project that resulted in a doctoral manuscript titled ‘Polish Civil Judges as European Union Law Judges: Knowledge, Experiences and Attitudes’, defended on the 5th of October 2012.

Klaus Heine

Laurens Winkel
Professor of Legal History, Faculty of Law, Erasmus University, Rotterdam. This text is an expanded version of a paper ‘Feminae comme personae privilegiatae’, which was presented in French at the 54th session of the Société Fernand de Visscher in Antalya in September 2000.
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