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Press releases and law firm thought leadership

This page is dedicated to keeping readers informed of the latest news and thought leadership articles from law firms across the globe.

If your firm wishes to publish press releases or articles, please contact Shehab Khurshid on +44 (0) 207 396 5689 or


Legal Developments Worldwide

Government puts cartel criminalisation back on the table

March 2018 - Crime. Legal Developments by Bell Gully.

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The Minister of Commerce and Consumer Affairs, Kris Faafoi, has today tabled the Commerce (Criminalisation of Cartels) Amendment Bill (the Bill) in the House.

Luxembourg introduces draft legislation to create beneficial ownership registers

March 2018 - Corporate & Commercial. Legal Developments by Chevalier & Sciales .

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Luxembourg’s government has published draft legislation to incorporate into national law the requirements under articles 30 and 31 of the European Union’s Directive 2015/849 on the prevention of the use of the financial system for the purposes of money laundering or terrorist financing, better known as the 4th Anti-Money Laundering Directive. Placed before the Chamber of Deputies on December 6, 2017, draft law no. 7217 would establish a central register of beneficial owners of Luxembourg legal entities such as companies and partnerships under the authority of the minister of justice, while draft law no. 7216 would create a similar register of beneficial owners of fiduciary contracts, that is express trusts, under the authority of the Administration de l’Enregistrement et des Domaines, Luxembourg’s indirect tax authority.

The new EU regulation on general data protection 2016/679 (“GDPR”)

March 2018 - TMT ( Technology, Media & Telecoms). Legal Developments by Kinanis LLC.

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Globalization has rapidly and radically increased the ease in which data may be collected, stored and transmitted. The current Directive (95/46/EC) is out dated and does not correspond to today’s needs. Various reasons has led to the increased need for a united legal framework in relation to the protection of personal data, including the rapid technological developments, the excessive use of the internet, the use of internet banking, social media and more importantly the ease in which personal data are now made publicly available.

Spouses and tax demands

March 2018 - Tax & Private Client. Legal Developments by LawAlliance Limited.

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6 Mar 2018 at 04:00 / NEWSPAPER SECTION:

Spouses and tax demands

Last year we were treated to some tortuous legal arguments about whether the Revenue Department could try to collect tax from former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra on a share sale, even if it was made through the stock market, based on a summons issued to his son many years ago.

A senior cabinet minister admitted at the time that such an attempt would need to rely on a "miracle of law", but the government is intent on pursuing the case no matter how many more years it takes. One interesting question arises: could the taxman apply a similar concept to assess a taxpayer based on a summons served on his or her spouse?

While taxpayers are entitled to defend against all tax claims, evidence goes stale and witnesses' memories get hazy with the passage of time. To be fair to them, the statute of limitations imposes a timeframe within which tax authorities need to exercise their power diligently.

Where income tax is concerned, if an official suspects errors in a tax return, the Revenue Code requires that he or she must "issue a summons to the person who filed such tax return" for audit purposes within two years from the day the return was filed. The deadline can be extended to five years if tax evasion is suspected, or if a tax refund is being contested. In a case where no tax return has been filed, the law does not really impose any deadline and the general rule of 10 years will apply instead.

After issuing a summons and conducting an audit, tax authorities may decide to issue a tax assessment letter, which will empower them to confiscate assets without having to petition for a court order.

Cases arise from time to time in which a deadline expires and tax authorities are unable to issue a summons directly to the correct person. Can the Revenue Department actually rely on a summons issued to a taxpayer's spouse in order to pursue an assessment against the taxpayer? If this happened to you, what legal arguments could you use to defend yourself?

In other words, can a spouse, who receives a summons related to his or her own tax matter, be treated as an "agent" of the taxpayer simply because the Revenue Code contains a provision that requires the incomes of married persons to be itemised in the same tax return?

In one precedent case, the department assessed tax against a politician and subsequently claimed that the summons issued to him could be treated as a summons issued to his wife, so that it could assess tax against her as well. This assertion was based on the provision in the Revenue Code (modified in 2013), which treats the income earned by a wife as her husband's for tax purposes. The same provision holds the husband liable for the wife's tax, together with a tax return filing on her account.

The court rejected the taxman's argument. It said: "The purpose of such a provision in the Revenue Code was only to identify the person who was liable to pay and file tax. The law still requires the tax assessment official to issue a summons so as to allow the taxpayer to understand the potential liabilities of the tax assessment. As the assessment official failed to issue a summons to the wife for inquiries, the tax assessment on the wife, including the ruling by the Appeal Committee in favour of the Revenue Department, was not legitimate."

To be fair, the Revenue Department is not only one that has tried the "agent" argument. In another Supreme Court case, a taxpayer who had failed to file a return and pay taxes for 2001 was assessed by the department. The man asserted that, since his wife had filed her tax return, by declaring in Form PND 90 that he had no income on which to pay tax, it meant that he had already filed via his wife's return. Consequently, he argued, the Revenue Department's issuance of a summons to him after two years from the deadline, based on the 10-year rule for a taxpayer who fails to file a return, was not legitimate.

The Supreme Court threw out this argument as well. It said: "Since the tax return filing of a wife, with a declaration that her husband had no income, could not be counted as the husband's tax return filing, the Revenue Department's issuance of a summons was legitimate."

In the department's case against the former prime minister, based on the sale of shares by his children in 2006, it failed to serve a summons on him by March 31, 2012 (five years from March 31, 2007, the tax filing deadline in question) but claimed the summons had already been issued to him within the five-year deadline via his children. This, it said, was based on the judgement of the Supreme Court's Criminal Division for Holders of Political Positions that Thaksin's children had sold shares for his benefit.

Whether the above interpretation is correct or not, it seems that where there is no related precedent case stating that the person receiving a summons can include a nominee or an agent, the Revenue Department appears bound by law to issue a summons within the deadline directly to a person against whom it intends to assess tax.

Written by Rachanee Prasongprasit and Professor Piphob Veraphong of LawAlliance Limited.

They can be reached at

What Can You Legally “Watch Free Online” and When?

March 2018 - Intellectual Property. Legal Developments by Mamo TCV Advocates.

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Putlocker. BitTorrent. PirateBay. Napster. Mediafire.

Ring any bells?

We'll bet they do.

New Zealand favours English approach to penalties

March 2018 - Litigation & Dispute Resolution. Legal Developments by Bell Gully.

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A recent High Court decision marks an important step in the development of the approach to the “Penalty Doctrine” in New Zealand – that is, the principle that contractual provisions which allow parties to punish one another disproportionately are unenforceable. Justice Whata’s judgment in Honey Bees v 127 Hobson Street1 carefully traverses the recent evolution of the doctrine and provides helpful clarification of its application to contracts in New Zealand.

Raspberries and IT: New Sector Inquiries by the Serbian Competition Commission

March 2018 - EU & Competition. Legal Developments by Karanovic & Nikolic.

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The Serbian Competition Commission (the "Commission") recently finished sector inquiries concerning quite distinct industries – raspberries and the public procurement for software and hardware. The aim behind the inquiries was to perform extensive market research and analysis in order to acquire a clearer picture of the possible antitrust issues and risks in two sectors widely perceived as strategic for the development of the Serbian economy.

The Commission analysed two relevant markets within the broader ICT market - more specifically:

  • the wholesale of software; and,
  • the wholesale of hardware (computers and computer equipment).

These markets are especially interesting in relation to the public procurement procedures, where the value of public procurements rose by 27% from 2014 to 2016, mostly in open bidding procedures. The Commission identified four major contracting authorities, the largest of them being "Elektroprivreda Srbije" and six suppliers/bidders identified as largest by accounting for almost 50% of the value of the relevant public procurements.

Having in mind the characteristics of these markets, inter alia, a small number of market players, few alternatives to the services provided, repetitive public procurement procedures, the Commission noted that bid rigging could be a potential cause for concern, and stated that it would dedicate special attention to working together with the relevant actors in rooting out any such practices in the future, in order to ensure a level playing field and efficient use of public resources.

The second sector inquiry dealt with the markets for raspberry repurchase and export in the period between 2015 and 2017. The competitive conditions on these markets are likely especially interesting for the local authorities, since Serbia is one of the largest producers of raspberries in the world, accountable for approx. 10% of the raspberries grown globally.

During the inquiry, the Commission determined that there are certain structural issues that might affect the relevant markets and the Serbian raspberry industry as a whole. The problems with a single repurchase price and long-term supply agreements gave rise to uncertainties concerning the value of raspberries produced and sold on the market. The Commission stressed the importance of including all the competent authorities and undertakings in order to solve these problems and maintain raspberries as a prominent and recognisable Serbian brand.

The Commission ultimately concluded that it did not identify any prima facie evidence of competition infringements affecting either of these markets. However, this does not mean that the Commission, now armed with more detailed information on the competitive environment, would not scrutinize the behaviour of specific market players at some point in the future. 

How open is New Zealand to Open Banking

March 2018 - Finance. Legal Developments by Bell Gully.

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This week New Zealand hosts the Digital Nations 2030 to discuss what is required to become a truly digital nation by 2030. Open Banking is a critical first step, but where is it on the Government’s agenda?​

The Public Administration Electronic Market: the future of public procurement

March 2018 - EU & Competition. Legal Developments by Villata, Degli Esposti e Associati.

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The Public Administration Electronic Market is a digital marketplace, created in 2002 and managed by Consip S.p.A., the Italian central purchasing body, on behalf of the Ministry of the Economy and Finance. Through the Ministry, registered authorities can purchase goods and services offered by suppliers that have been vetted and authorised to post their catalogues on the system for values below the European threshold.

This system of purchase of goods, services and maintenance works is part of the public contracts because the purchaser is the Public Administration; it changes the purchasing system but not the subjects.

The Public Administration Electronic Market is part of the eProcurement, namely the procurement of goods, services and maintenance works through new telematic procedures and it is a Business to Government (B2G) tool as the offer consists of companies that sell goods or provide services to the Public Administration.

The advantages of a system such as the Public Administration Electronic Market and, in general, of the eProcurement are so numerous that the European Commission, during the Interministerial Conference on eGovernment "Transforming Public Services" in 2005, stressed the need of the Public Administration to provide quality services designed on the needs of users. In this context, eProcurement has been recognized as one of the priority objectives [1].

The legislator sets out the electronic market as "a purchasing and bargaining tool that allows electronic purchases for amounts below the threshold European level based on a system that implements procedures for the selection of the contractor entirely managed electronically" through the letter bbbb) of paragraph 1 of article 3 of Legislative Decree 50 of 2016, the Code of public contracts.

The article 36 of the same Code deals with contracts below the threshold: the most interesting aspect is that paragraph 6 provides that they can also be carried out through the electronic market tool and that "the Ministry of Economy and Finance, through CONSIP S.p.A. makes the electronic market of public administrations available to the contracting authorities" [2].

The legislator did not deem to bring innovations to the Public Administration Electronic Market; he reconfirmed the law, line of decisions and practice that had been established up to that moment.

The Stability Law of 2016 introduced the possibility to make competitive biddings for maintenance works.

The Public Administration Electronic Market represents the future of public contracts; in fact, the use of eProcurement platforms by economic operators is becoming increasingly frequent. Since 2002 there has been a continuous increase in the use of electronic platforms, both in Italy and abroad, considering the fact that they allow time to be saved, thanks to the simplification of procedures in the purchase of goods, services and maintenance works without sacrificing the need for transparency, which is fundamental in the field of public contracts [3].

There is complete transparency in eProcurement electronic systems. This is the case due to the publication of all the documents that can be easily consulted, excepting the reserved ones. Another significant aspect is that the Public Administration Electronic Market also allows small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to participate in numerous competitive biddings, with positive effects on the economy.

This system allows public administrations to obtain customised products through their own tools, while, at the same time, pursuing significant savings in public spending. The purchase procedures on the Public Administration Electronic Market, entirely dematerialised, have a positive impact on the environment. In conclusion, through the Public Administration Electronic Market in Italy and the various European eProcurement systems, the need for speed, transparency, simplification and containment of public spending, once considered divergent, are now combined, allowing the purchase of different products according to the requirements of the Public Administration.



[1]BERTINI - VIDONI, Il Mercato Elettronico della Pubblica Amministrazione - MEPA, Scenario, funzionalitĂ  e linee di tendenza, in Quaderni Consip VI, 2007

[2] See the Legislative Decree No. 50 of 18 April 2016

[3]CONSIP S.P.A., I numeri del programma - Anni precedenti,

Even More Sector Inquiries: Sportswear And Oil Retail Under Scrutiny By The Serbian Commission

March 2018 - EU & Competition. Legal Developments by Karanovic & Nikolic.

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The Serbian Competition Commission (the " Commission ") continues its diligent examination of the Serbian competitive landscape in specific industries, this time with inquiries in two more industries – sportswear (including footwear and sporting equipment) and oil (petroleum products). Once again, the aim behind the market test was to identify potential issues on the relevant markets and provide broader insight into the functioning of the relevant markets.

Both of these industries have previously been of some interest to the Commission. The Commission recently conducted dawn raids and fined several sportswear retailers for resale price maintenance. The Commission has identified significant concentration on this market, giving rise to potential concerns about restrictive agreements in the industry, especially vis-Ă -vis the relationship between suppliers and resellers.

Sector inquiries into the conditions in oil wholesale and retail have traditionally been high on the Commission's agenda, with a number of market investigations conducted into the past. The noted a trend of market growth in comparison to 2016, especially in relation to production of crude oil and import of diesel fuel. The Commission (sadly) noted limited progress being made in terms of the recommendations relevant to market development it issued in previous reports. The Commission stated that it would watch over the oil industry with great care and already announced a new inquiry in this sector starting in March and covering 2017.

Sector inquiries have obviously been on the rise in the previous period, simultaneously contributing to the Commission's understanding of the workings of the markets identified as key to the Serbian economy and the antitrust awareness of market players. The next steps for both sector investigations and antitrust enforcement efforts spearheaded by the Commission remain to be seen and are eagerly awaited in the local competition community.