The Singapore Convention on Mediation: open for signature from 7 August 2019
Following several years’ effort by a working group of the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL), including with input from as many as 85 countries and 35 Non-Governmental Organisations, a draft legal framework for international commercial mediation has been concluded. The framework consists of a Convention on the Enforcement of Mediation Settlements (together with a corresponding Model Law) which is understood to be named the Singapore Mediation Convention.
The initiative, which stemmed from a concern as to the enforceability of mediated settlements, aims to remove the potentially lengthy and difficult processes that parties who participate in an international meditation might currently face when attempting to enforce the outcome in a foreign jurisdiction (such a process would typically involve first obtaining a court judgment before any necessary enforcement procedures).
Consequently, the aim of the Convention is to implement an international regime for the enforcement of mediated settlements that is broadly similar to the successful 1958 New York Convention for the enforcement of arbitral awards and which will make it easier for businesses to enforce mediated settlement agreements with their cross-border counterparts. It is hoped that this will increase the credibility, and therefore attraction, of mediation for international parties.
The Convention will be open for signature from 7 August 2019 and it is understood that representatives from at least 50 countries across the globe will be attending the ceremony which is to be held in Singapore. Of these countries, around half (including the USA and China) have indicated that they will sign the Convention. It will then come into force once it has been ratified by at least three of the signatories.
The End is Nigh for the Non-Dom Regime
Published in ThoughtLeaders4 Private Client Magazine, Helen McGhee expert analysis of the current state of non-dom tax regime and it's future.
HMRC Makes Changes to COP9
On 14 June 2023, HMRC published a substantially rewritten Code of Practice 9 (“COP9”). Helen McGhee and Megan Durnford set out the key changes implemented as a result of this publication.
Pandora Papers: HMRC issues nudge letters
The Pandora Papers leak of almost 12m documents back in 2021 purportedly exposed the secret accounts and dealings (including potential tax evasion/ avoidance and money laundering) of 35 world leaders (including the late HM Elizabeth II), as well as many politicians and billionaires. The data was obtained by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists in Washington DC and led to one of the biggest ever global financial investigations.
Increased Investment in Personal Tax Compliance in the UK (Published in Thought Leaders 4 Private Client)
Advances in technology and increased international fiscal co-operation have made global personal tax compliance initiatives pop up in abundance in recent years. To compound the issue, the Russian invasion of Ukraine and the corresponding economic fallout prompted domestic governments to increase transparency in relation to investments held by wealthy foreign individuals (with a focus on oligarchs).
In the UK, in the context of the cost-of-living crisis, public opinion certainly seems to be in favour of increased accountability for high-net-worth individuals (eg, on 9 October 2022, 63% of Britons surveyed thought that “the rich are not paying enough and their taxes should be increased”).1
HMRC is one of the most sophisticated tax collection authorities in the world and the department is making significant investments in technology in the field of compliance work; they are well placed to take advantage of new international efforts to increase tax compliance, particularly considering the already extensive network of 130 bilateral tax treaties in the UK (the largest in the world).2 The UK was also a founding member of the OECD’s Joint International Taskforce on Shared Intelligence and Collaboration (JITSIC) forum.
This article discusses the main developments in support of the increased focus on international transparency and personal tax compliance in the UK. There are other international fiscal initiatives, particularly in the field of corporate taxation, but such initiatives are beyond the scope of this article.
It should be noted that a somewhat piecemeal approach, with constant tinkering makes compliance difficult for the taxpayer and is often criticised for lacking the certainty that a stable tax system needs to thrive.
This article was first published with ThoughtLeaders4 Private Client Magazine
Tax-Related Measures in the Autumn Statement 2022
On 17 November 2022, the Rt Hon Jeremy Hunt MP, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, unveiled the contents of the Autumn Budget 2022. This comes after the International Monetary Fund (IMF) published its world economic forecast on 11 October 2022. The IMF expects the British economy to grow 3.6% in 2022 and 0.3% in 2023. Other major developed economies are also expected to stagnate next year, namely Spain (1.2%), the US (1.0%), France (0.7%), Italy (-0.2%) and Germany (-0.3%).
This note focuses on tax measures included as part of that statement.