Business Law International (BLI) January 2017

 

 

 

 

Vol 18 No 1 – January 2017

Information exchange regimes are a new, complex and ever-changing area that pose a significant compliance burden to the world of finance. All such regimes aim to identify residents of one jurisdiction who may be concealing their assets, and thus their taxable income and gains, in another jurisdiction. This article examines three global information exchange regimes, either now in force or coming into effect shortly: the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act in the United States; the Crown Dependencies and Overseas Territories legislation in the United Kingdom; and, most significant, the Common Reporting Standard of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development. It explores the intentions of the regimes, the obligations for foreign financial institutions, issues around data protection, privacy and security, the complexities of applying the legislation in practice, and the need to carefully communicate to investors what information they need and why.

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Governments are increasingly imposing disclosure requirements on business in an effort to encourage practices that will help stamp out human rights abuses. A recent example is the United Kingdom’s Modern Slavery Act 2015 – a domestic measure with international reach. This article discusses the requirements of the Act and its policy objectives, and reviews themes emerging from practice under the legislation to date. Through a comparison with other similar measures, the article draws some conclusions on international policy trends and examines international standards that influence the business approach to mandatory reporting measures in this area. It also considers some of the challenges and opportunities for business, and the potential effectiveness of mandatory reporting requirements in promoting the protection of human rights.

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With an eye to the recent settlement proposal in the Fortis/Ageas case – by far the largest class settlement ever agreed in Europe – this article explores the emergence and rise of European jurisdictions as gateways for the litigation and settlement of global collective claims. Historically, the United States had always been a fertile soil for collective actions. However, since the US Supreme Court decision in Morrison v National Australia Bank restricted the extraterritorial reach of US federal securities law, European jurisdictions have started to be used as alternative fora for mass claims proceedings. The article concludes by considering future developments in European collective action mechanisms, including the actions pending against Volkswagen in the aftermath of the diesel emissions scandal, as well as the class action pending against MasterCard in the field of the private enforcement of competition law.

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In 2009, one of the most decorated German athletes of all time, speedskater Claudia Pechstein, failed a doping test, triggering a prolonged dispute with sport arbitrators. The case may finally be nearing its conclusion following a recent German Federal Court of Justice ruling. After a two-year ban imposed by the International Skating Union was upheld by the Court of Arbitration for Sport, Pechstein in 2012 filed a claim before a German state court for damages of €4.4m, submitting that the ban was illegal. The subsequent legal battle worked its way through the German courts, with the country’s highest civil court ruling in June 2016 that Pechstein’s claim was inadmissible. This article considers the significance of the case, including the implications for sports federations and the signing of arbitration agreements by athletes.

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Commercial Agency Agreements: Law and Practice

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