A Snapshot of the Status of the UK’s Bilateral Investment Treaties and Related International Arbitration After Brexit

Jose-Ignacio Saldana
Vol. 39 Notes Editor

The exit of the UK from the EU has raised concerns amongst foreign investors amid the uncertainty of the future of the UK’s investment relationships. The UK maintains one of the largest bilateral investment treaty (BIT) networks in the world[1]—the international community is interested in the UK’s position on the possible continuation, modification, suspension, or termination of these treaties. Although the UK has not stated its official position,[2] it is likely that the UK will maintain its current foreign investment relationships with the EU and other non-member states, including international arbitration as the dispute settlement mechanism. Continue reading

The United Kingdom as an Independent Member of the World Trade Organization: A Strategic Forecast?

Jose-Ignacio Saldana
Vol. 38 Associate Editor

On the eve of the historic referendum held in the United Kingdom (UK) to decide whether to leave the European Union (EU), Roberto Azevêdo, current Director-General of the World Trade Organization (WTO), discussed the implications that an exit from the EU could have on the UK’s status as a member of the WTO. Mr. Azevêdo highlighted the potential challenges in the need to re-establish trade relationships with the EU Member States and the rest of the countries with which the EU currently has trade agreements. He pointed out that the UK would need to “re-establish its terms of trade with the WTO” after its exit from the EU. [1] A number of issues arise out of this scenario, including whether it could be possible for the UK to obtain a realistic projection of its future membership status within the WTO before leaving the EU, and decide whether to halt “Brexit” in view of these considerations, if possible.

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Brexit: The Legal Consequences

Katrien Wilmots, Vol. 37 Associate Editor

The chances of the United Kingdom leaving the European Union seemed remote only a couple of months ago. However, recent surveys of the British public and talk in parliament have made the idea of a “Brexit” not just mere talk but an actual possibility.[1] The British Prime Minister, David Cameron, has been focusing on negotiating a deal with the EU in order to avoid a Brexit,[2] but recent developments do beg the question what the consequences of an exit would be, and more specifically what the international legal consequences would be. Continue reading

Jeremy Corbyn and Competing Claims over the Falkland Islands

Jacob Greenberg, Vol. 37 Associate Editor

When the United Kingdom’s Labour Party elected Jeremy Corbyn, one of the furthest left-wing Members of Parliament, as its leader, reverberations were felt around the world. At home, pundits questioned whether a man who appeared regularly on Iranian and Russian propaganda channels should be briefed on top secret national security matters, as his predecessors had.[1] Scottish commenters wondered whether a reenergized Labour base in Scotland would assist or cripple the movement for Scottish independence.[2] Perhaps the most surprising reaction, if only for its unbridled enthusiasm, came from Argentine President Christina Kirchner. “Hope has triumphed,” she stated, his victory was “a triumph for all those who work for peace and conflict resolution.”[3] Continue reading

FATCA, GATCA and the Controversial Withholding Provision

Abigail Zeitlin, Vol. 36 Associate Editor

For many years, there have been large discrepancies between different countries’ tax reporting standards.  This has allowed for certain countries, like the United Kingdom or Switzerland,[i] to become tax shelters and for other governments to lose out on millions of dollars in tax revenue. [ii] In the United States alone, it was estimated that the government lost out on $100 billion of tax revenue a year due to tax havens.[iii] This phenomenon led to the enactment of the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act, or FATCA, in 2010.[iv]  One major provision of FATCA requires foreign financial institutions to disclose the names of U.S. citizen account holders and their various transactions, with limited exceptions.[v]   If the institution does not report under FATCA, the U.S. will impose a 30% withholding tax on all transactions involving U.S. money and securities.[vi]   Although FATCA was enacted in 2010, because of the immense amount of bureaucratic muscle necessary to enforce FATCA, it is set to begin being enforced in 2016.[vii] Continue reading

Liberalizing Electricity Markets and Divided Competition Authority: A Comparative look at Japanese and British Competition Laws

Alexandra Plutshack, Vol. 36 Associate Editor

Electricity systems have traditionally always been operated as publically owned monopolies. Over the last few decades several nations have begun liberalizing reforms of the electricity market, opening up markets for both generation and retail. However, given the nature and history of the industry, there is concern that current competition laws may not be capable of breaking up the natural “monopolistic inertia” electric companies enjoy. Continue reading