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Sir Geoffrey Vos
Chancellor of the High Court of England and Wales.
Article

Access_open The Questionable Legitimacy of the OECD/G20 BEPS Project

Tijdschrift Erasmus Law Review, Aflevering 2 2017
Trefwoorden base erosion and profit shifting, OECD, G20, legitimacy, international tax reform
Auteurs Sissie Fung
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    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 Religious Freedom of Members of Old and New Minorities: A Double Comparison

Tijdschrift Erasmus Law Review, Aflevering 3 2017
Trefwoorden ECtHR, UNHRC, religious manifestations, religious minorities, empirical analysis
Auteurs Fabienne Bretscher
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    Confronted with cases of restrictions of the right to manifest religious beliefs of new religious minorities formed by recent migration movements, the ECtHR and the UNHRC seem to opt for different interpretations and applications of this right, as recent conflicting decisions show. Based on an empirical legal analysis of the two bodies’ decisions on individual complaints, this article finds that these conflicting decisions are part of a broader divergence: While the UNHRC functions as a protector of new minorities against States’ undue interference in their right to manifest their religion, the ECtHR leaves it up to States how to deal with religious diversity brought by new minorities. In addition, a quantitative analysis of the relevant case law showed that the ECtHR is much less likely to find a violation of the right to freedom of religion in cases brought by new religious minorities as opposed to old religious minorities. Although this could be a hint towards double standards, a closer look at the examined case law reveals that the numerical differences can be explained by the ECtHR’s weaker protection of religious manifestations in the public as opposed to the private sphere. Yet, this rule has an important exception: Conscientious objection to military service. By examining the development of the relevant case law, this article shows that this exception bases on a recent alteration of jurisprudence by the ECtHR and that there are similar prospects for change regarding other religious manifestations in the public sphere.


Fabienne Bretscher
PhD candidate at the University of Zurich.
Article

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

Tijdschrift Erasmus Law Review, Aflevering 1 2017
Trefwoorden Fairness, international tax, legitimacy, BEPS, developing countries
Auteurs Irene Burgers en Irma Mosquera
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    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.
Article

Access_open Canadian Civil Justice: Relief in Small and Simple Matters in an Age of Efficiency

Tijdschrift Erasmus Law Review, Aflevering 4 2015
Trefwoorden Canada, small and simple matters, austerity, civil justice, access to justice
Auteurs Jonathan Silver en Trevor C.W. Farrow
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    Canada is in the midst of an access to justice crisis. The rising costs and complexity of legal services in Canada have surpassed the need for these services. This article briefly explores some obstacles to civil justice as well as some of the court-based programmes and initiatives in place across Canada to address this growing access to justice gap. In particular, this article explains the Canadian civil justice system and canvasses the procedures and programmes in place to make the justice system more efficient and improve access to justice in small and simple matters. Although this article does look briefly at the impact of the global financial crisis on access to justice efforts in Canada, we do not provide empirical data of our own on this point. Further, we conclude that there is not enough existing data to draw correlations between austerity measures in response to the global crisis and the challenges facing Canadian civil justice. More evidence-based research would be helpful to understand current access to justice challenges and to make decisions on how best to move forward with meaningful innovation and policy reform. However, there is reason for optimism in Canada: innovative ideas and a national action plan provide reason to believe that the country can simplify, expedite, and increase access to civil justice in meaningful ways over the coming years.


Jonathan Silver
Jonathan Silver, B.A. Honors, J.D. 2015, Osgoode Hall Law School.

Trevor C.W. Farrow
Trevor C.W. Farrow is Professor and Associate Dean, Osgoode Hall Law School. He is very grateful to Jonathan Silver, who took the lead in researching and writing this article.
Article

Access_open Faith and Scepticism in Private International Law: Trust, Governance, Politics, and Foreign Judgments

Tijdschrift Erasmus Law Review, Aflevering 3 2014
Trefwoorden private international law, conflict of laws, foreign judgments, European Union, United States
Auteurs Christopher Whytock M.S., Ph.D., J.D.
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    In both the European Union (EU) and the United States (US), the law governing the enforcement of foreign judgments is evolving, but in different directions. EU law, especially after the elimination of exequatur by the 2012 ’Recast’ of the Brussels I Regulation, increasingly facilitates enforcement in member states of judgments of other member states’ courts, reflecting growing faith in a multilateral private international law approach to foreign judgments. In US law, on the other hand, increasingly widespread adoption of state legislation based on the 2005 Uniform Foreign-Country Money Judgments Recognition Act (2005 Act), which adds new case-specific grounds for refusing enforcement, suggests growing scepticism. In this essay, I explore possible reasons for these diverging trends. I begin with the most obvious explanation: the Brussels framework governs the effect of internal EU member state judgments within the EU, whereas the 2005 Act governs the effect of external foreign country judgments within the US. One would expect more mutual trust – and thus more faith in foreign judgment enforcement – internally than externally. But I argue that this mutual trust explanation is only partially satisfactory. I therefore sketch out two other possible explanations. One is that the different trends in EU and US law are a result of an emphasis on ’governance values’ in EU law and an emphasis on ’rights values’ in US law. Another explanation – and perhaps the most fundamental one – is that these trends are ultimately traceable to politics.


Christopher Whytock M.S., Ph.D., J.D.
Christopher Whytock is Professor of Law and Political Science at the University of California, Irvine School of Law.
Artikel

Access_open The Value of Narratives

The India-USA Nuclear Deal in Terms of Fragmentation, Pluralism, Constitutionalisation and Global Administrative Law

Tijdschrift Erasmus Law Review, Aflevering 1 2013
Trefwoorden India-US Nuclear Deal, Nuclear Energy Cooperation, Non-Proliferation Treaty, Fragmentation, Constitutionalisation, Pluralism, Global Administrative Law
Auteurs Surabhi Ranganathan
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    ‘Fragmentation’, ‘pluralism’, ‘constitutionalisation’ and ‘global administrative law’ are among the most dominant narratives of international legal order at present. Each narrative makes a descriptive claim about the current state of the international legal order, and outlines a normative vision for this order. Yet we must not lose sight of the conflicts between, and the contingency of these, and other narratives. This article seeks to recover both conflicts and contingency by showing how each may be used to explain a given event: the inauguration of a bilateral civil nuclear cooperation between the United State and India, better known as the ‘India-US nuclear deal’. I explain how the four narratives may be, and were, co-opted at different times to justify or critique the ‘deal’. This exercise serve two purposes: the application of four narratives reveal the various facets of the deal, and by its example the deal illuminates the stakes attached to each of the four narratives. In a final section, I reflect on why these four narratives enjoy their influential status in international legal scholarship.


Surabhi Ranganathan
Junior Research Fellow, King’s College/Lauterpacht Centre for International Law, University of Cambridge.
Article

Access_open Between a Rock and a Hard Place: Treaty-Based Settlement of Terrorism-Related Disputes in the Era of Active United Nations Security Council Involvement

Tijdschrift Erasmus Law Review, Aflevering 2 2013
Trefwoorden Terrorism, inter-state dispute, international treaties, the United Nations Security Council, the International Court of Justice
Auteurs Nathanael Tilahun Ali LL.M.
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    The United Nations Security Council has become a crucial actor in international counterterrorism by not only spurring the taking of preventive and suppressive measures against terrorist individuals and groups, but also by taking actions against states that are said to stand in the way. The Security Council's actions against such states invariably arise from accusations by other states, such as accusations of refusal to extradite suspects of terrorism or responsibility for supporting terrorists. Meanwhile, most such issues of dispute are covered under international treaties relating to terrorism, which provide for political (negotiation) and judicial (arbitration and adjudication) mechanisms of dispute settlement. The Security Council's actions against states in connection with terrorism, therefore, involve (explicit or implicit) factual and legal determinations that affect the legal positions of the disputing states under the applicable international treaties relating to terrorism. The point of departure of this paper is that, in this respect, the Security Council effectively becomes an alternative to the treaty-based dispute-settlement mechanisms. The article centrally contends that the Security Council effectively acts as a more attractive alternative to treaty-based dispute-settlement mechanisms for pursuing terrorism-related (legal) disputes between states, without providing a meaningful platform of disputation that is based on equality of the parties. And the Security Council's relative attractiveness, arising from the discursive and legal superiority its decisions enjoy and the relative convenience and expediency with which those decisions are delivered, entails the rendering of resort to treaty-based dispute-settlement mechanisms of little legal consequence. The point of concern the article aims to highlight is the lack of platform of disputation some states are faced with, trapped between a hostile Security Council that makes determinations and decisions of legal consequence and an unhelpful treaty-based dispute-settlement mechanism.


Nathanael Tilahun Ali LL.M.
PhD Candidate in public international law, Erasmus School of Law. E: ali@law.eur.nl. I would like to thank Prof. Xandra Kramer and Prof. Ellen Hey for their valuable comments on an earlier draft of this article. The usual disclaimer applies.
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