The European Court of Justice recently handed down its opinion regarding the European Union's competence to conclude its proposed free trade agreement (FTA) with Singapore. FTA proposals incorporating provisions on the protection of non-direct foreign investments or investor-state dispute settlement mechanisms should be treated as mixed agreements, requiring ratification from not only the European Union, but also each member state.
The US Department of the Treasury recently submitted a report to the president recommending the withdrawal, revocation or revision of eight Treasury regulations in order to eliminate or otherwise mitigate the "burdens imposed on taxpayers". This action springs from Executive Order 13789, which called on the Treasury to identify and reduce tax regulatory burdens that impose undue financial burdens on US taxpayers or otherwise add undue complexity to federal tax laws.
In December 2015 Cyprus's tax laws were amended to provide a temporary tax exemption for loan restructurings in order to facilitate and encourage the restructuring of non-performing loans. The exemptions introduced in 2015 were intended to be valid for two years from the date on which the various amending laws entered into force and were therefore set to expire on December 31 2017. However, a number of new laws recently extended the exemptions for a further two years.
The Swiss Financial Market Supervisory Authority (FINMA) recently published a supervisory notification on token sales and initial coin offerings (ICOs). It also announced that it was examining whether several ICOs or their corresponding business models violate supervisory provisions. A FINMA press release cited the marked increase in ICOs carried out in Switzerland in recent months as a reason for its action.
Following the implementation of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development's Base Erosion and Profit Shifting Action Plans, which impose country-by-country reporting requirements on multinational enterprises, taxpayers can no longer – or at least cannot easily – strategically escape taxation by shifting their profits to low or no-tax jurisdictions. This is because the South African Revenue Service has become aware of issues regarding tax avoidance and is actively taking steps to address them.
Under the Cayman Islands beneficial ownership legislation, certain Cayman companies are required to maintain details of their beneficial owners and relevant legal entities on a beneficial ownership register. Companies should determine whether they are within the scope of the legislation and familiarise themselves with the obligations for in-scope companies and those who hold interests in them.
A recent Jersey Royal Court decision provides welcome guidance with respect to Article 47 applications to vary a trust. In particular, the court considered the interplay between a settlor's wishes and the court's assessment of 'benefit', a point which it had never previously considered. The decision also examines Article 47 applications alongside public policy considerations affecting a modern society.
The deadline recently passed for legal entities to file details of beneficial ownership and control with Jersey's Companies Registry. Under the revised rules, even if there had been no change to the relevant information since incorporation, legal entities were still required to file the relevant form. While the deadline for the initial disclosure has passed, there are ongoing compliance obligations for affected entities to keep in mind.
The Competition Commission of India (CCI) recently approved its first leniency application and granted a 75% reduction of the fine imposed on the leniency applicant. The CCI noted that the applicant was the first and only party to admit to the existence of a cartel and the bid-rigging activities. In granting the reduction, the CCI has demonstrated that it is extending its leniency programme to include officials and those in charge of companies under investigation.
In international trade, a general reference is sufficient to validly incorporate an arbitration clause contained in another document under Article II(2) of the New York Convention, provided that the clause is common and known to those engaged in a particular trade. The Piraeus Single-Member First-Instance Court recently ruled on a dispute regarding the enforcement of an arbitral award in Greece under the New York Convention.
The Federal Court recently delivered its decision in a dispute involving the Laotian government and two foreign companies. The dispute related to the termination of a project development agreement and was set to be resolved by arbitration. Dissatisfied with the arbitration award, the Laotian government applied to the High Court to set aside the award on the ground that the arbitral tribunal had gone beyond the scope of arbitration.
The Competition Authority, together with the Ministry for Trade, Tourism and Telecommunications, recently lodged an initiative for the new Competition Act, which will replace the Competition Act 2009. The goal is to harmonise the new act with EU rules while observing the specific demands of the Serbian market. Once the draft is ready, it will be presented for public debate. Further, the authority has issued three draft block regulations for public review and comment.
The Ministry of the Civil Service and Administrative Reform recently submitted Bill 7171, which defines the terms and conditions of so-called 'time savings accounts' for civil service officials, among other things. A time savings account is a tool whereby officials can accumulate free time and save it to use at a later date of their choice. Doing so will allow officials to achieve a better balance between their private and professional lives, within the limits of statutory conditions.
An employee recently challenged her dismissal, claiming that she had been employed by a cooperative as a cleaner in a healthcare structure under a contract between the two parties. The healthcare structure was subsequently incorporated into another company, which decided to internalise the services performed by the cooperative and terminate the contract between the two parties. The Court of Milan declared the dismissal to be unlawful on the grounds that a transfer of undertaking had occurred.
The government recently published the final pharmaceutical regulations resulting from the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement. Health Canada has since published guidance regarding the application process under the new regulations. In addition, the Federal Court has published a practice notice regarding actions brought under the Regulations Amending the Patented Medicines (Notice of Compliance) Regulations 2017.
During a 17-month period after the Federal Communication Commission (FCC) July 2015 order, the US Chamber Institute for Legal Reform compiled a database of 3,121 Telephone Consumer Protection Act cases filed between August 2015 and December 2016 to examine the trends of litigation under the act. The chamber found that such litigation has increased 46% since the FCC's July 2015 declaratory ruling and that more than 30% of the cases brought are class actions.
Patient treatment and research creates a wealth of data. Given that health data is sensitive, reaping the benefits of data-based medicine brings particular challenges when it comes to data protection requirements. EU data protection law is currently based on the Data Protection Directive, among other things. This directive will shortly be replaced by the General Data Protection Regulation, under which data concerning health is subject to increased protection.
In May 2017 the Federal Court of Appeal set aside the order of mandamus compelling the minister of health to grant a licence to The Winning Combination Inc for its natural health product, Resolve, and remitted the matter back to the minister for redetermination. The Winning Combination recently applied to the Supreme Court for leave.
Only 80 of the estimated 7,000 employers with 250-plus employees have uploaded their gender pay gap reports to the government's website. The snapshot from these reports reveals that the mean, mean pay gap and the mean, median pay gap are lower than expected. Further, the data shows a steady progression from a preponderance of female employees in the lowest paid quartiles to a preponderance of male employees in the highest paid quartiles. However, these statistics may not be reliable.
A recent non-binding referendum asked Berlin citizens whether they should demand that the Senate give up its closure intentions and take all measures necessary to ensure the indefinite operation of Berlin Tegel Airport. The vote indicates that approximately 56% of Berliners voted 'yes' and support keeping Tegel open. Local politics must now find a way to deal with Berlin's wish to maintain two airports.