Two separate bills making their way through the legislative process propose to extend the limitation period for complaints to the Financial Services Ombudsman (FSO). The first bill proposes to strengthen the functions of and amend the limitation period for bringing complaints to the FSO, while the second and more comprehensive bill proposes to amend the limitation period for bringing complaints to the office in certain circumstances.
Details of the double tax agreement between Cyprus and Luxembourg were recently published by the Luxembourg authorities. The agreement closely follows the latest Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) Model Tax Convention for the Avoidance of Double Taxation on Income and on Capital and the OECD Multilateral Convention to Implement Tax Treaty-Related Measures to Prevent Base Erosion and Profit Shifting.
In February 2017 the South African Revenue Service published two binding general rulings which provided much-needed clarity on various interpretational issues, but failed to cover certain practical issues. Subsequent publications, media releases and revisions have offered further practical guidance on the manner in which companies and non-executive directors should have dealt with the taxation of their earnings before June 1 2017.
The Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) recently announced that it would not seek leave to appeal the Federal Court of Appeal decision in BP Canada to the Supreme Court of Canada. The Federal Court of Appeal had previously imposed important restrictions on the use of Section 231.1(1) audit powers by the CRA. For some taxpayers, the risk that information gathering by the CRA might result in a criminal evasion investigation or prosecution has now increased.
In a recent case, the Board of Alien Labour Certification (BALCA) agreed that the requirement to provide a signed copy of a Programme Electronic Review Management form was reasonable and that failure to provide a complete copy would usually constitute a substantial failure. However, since the failure to submit an original, completed form in this case appeared to be an electronic error, BALCA decided that the omission was not material and ordered approval for the employer.
The British Virgin Islands recently adopted new guidelines for communication and cooperation between courts in cross-border insolvency matters. The guidelines are designed primarily to enhance communication between courts, insolvency representatives and other parties in the context of global restructurings and insolvency. As a result of the increased efficiency, it is hoped that stakeholders will see a reduction in delays and costs.
From a structuring perspective, infrastructure funds are most frequently established as either a limited partnership or a limited company. Partnerships are the familiar vehicle for private funds, whereas companies will be used for listed vehicles. The ultimate structure of a fund will depend on where the assets are located, where the investors are based and how investment will be structured.
Following a complaint filed by an individual against Kaymu (an online shopping platform) for deceptive marketing practices, the Competition Commission conducted an enquiry and found that Kaymu had been involved in the dissemination of false and misleading information to consumers. These actions had resulted in Kaymu having a competitive advantage over other undertakings in the same line of business, leading to a prima facie violation of the Competition Act.
The Vienna International Arbitral Centre (VIAC) recently obtained the right to administer domestic cases. The new law has received a warm welcome in Austria and is another sign of the quality of the VIAC's work and the confidence in its services. The VIAC has already established a working group to implement the proposed changes into the Rules of Arbitration and Conciliation in order to reflect this positive development.
The Tax Information Authority (TIA) recently issued further updates on the compliance obligations of Cayman financial institutions. A number of key dates and developments have changed since then, including with regard to TIA registration, the 2017 reportable jurisdictions, liquidation reporting obligations and the phasing out of the UK Crown Dependencies and Overseas Territories International Tax Compliance Regulations.
A recent Supreme Court of Cassation decision addressed the invalidity of arbitration clauses that do not agree with Decree-Law 5/2003, which concerns judicial procedures for corporate matters. The court found that in arbitration proceedings concerning disputes between business partners, the clause referring to the appointment of arbitrators assigned to the parties will be void even if stipulated before Decree-Law 5/2003 came into force.
The Competition Commission of India recently closed the case for alleged abuse of dominance against popular messaging service WhatsApp, finding no prima facie case to investigate the company's alleged conduct despite affirming its dominant position in the relevant market.
In 2016 the Competition Authority received 33 merger control notifications and issued 28 decisions. Most of the concentrations were in the telecommunications, media and pharmaceutical sectors. There was a slight decrease of approximately 6% in the number of merger control notifications submitted in 2016 in comparison to 2015.
The Specialised Competition Court recently annulled the Federal Economic Competition Commission's decision to revoke immunity granted during an antitrust procedure. The court's decision is relevant, as it sets the criteria for determining to what extent an economic agent can challenge the application of law in a specific case.
In a recent Industrial Disputes Court case, four individuals sought the full payment of a provident fund which had been affected by the 2013 bank bailout. In making its decision, the court examined when the applicants' right to receive the provident fund had arisen and whether said amount had been affected by the 2013 bank bailout. It also considered whether the applicants had accepted the consequences of the 2013 bank bailout in writing.
Israeli collective labour relations confer a unique status on unions that are considered to be representative unions. According to a recent National Labour Court decision, the recognition of a union's representativeness must be followed by a period of stability in order to give the union and the employer an opportunity to establish a relationship of trust and cooperation. However, if clear indications suggest that the union is no longer representative, the employer may challenge the representativeness.
The State Council recently promulgated amendments to the Regulation on the Supervision and Administration of Medical Devices 2014, which took effect immediately. The amendments clarify issues relating to device distributors' liabilities when selling non-conforming products, the use of large medical equipment and the revocation of clinical study site certification.
Brazilian citizens will soon be able to test themselves for the HIV virus in their blood. The National Health Surveillance Agency recently approved the registration of the first HIV self-testing kit in the country, following the issuance of Resolution 52/2015. Brazil has joined other countries which have already approved the registration of an HIV self-testing kit to help to fight against undiagnosed people living with HIV.
The Quebec Administrative Labour Tribunal recently issued an encouraging decision for employers. It serves as a reminder that business operations are key when challenging the composition of bargaining units and that mere timing between an employer's action and unionisation activities is insufficient to ground a complaint for unfair labour practice.
It has been a brutal few years in the shipping and offshore markets with overcapacity, declining demand and the dramatic fall in oil prices all contributing to historically low charter rates and plummeting asset values. While in recent years owners have been battening down the hatches in a bid to survive, consideration is now being given as to how and when to act in order to seize the opportunities that may present themselves during recovery.