Tax Evasion Measures to be Taken – G8 Summit

G8 leaders agreed on new measures to deal with money laundering and tax avoidance. They include giving automatic access to information to their residents` tax affairs and a requirement that all shell companies identify their effective owners. G8 includes UK, US, Germany, France, Italy, Russia, Canada and Japan.

The main purpose of the new measures is to “fight the scourge of tax evasion”.

David Cameron hosted the summit in Northern Island. Another important event, which happened is the launch of free trade negotiations between EU and the US, which Cameron referred as “the biggest bilateral trade agreement in history”. Hopefully the future  legal agreement will be beneficial for both sides.

The Three Ts – Tax, Trade and Transparency – this is placed at the top of the UK agenda, for its presidency of G8

The summit was overshadowed by the conflict in Syria and Vladimir Putin called for talks for Syrian peace to be held in Geneva  as soon as possible, which was discussed, however no for the Geneva talks was given, and the statement made no mention of what role Mr Assad could play in the future

The summit has been overshadowed by the conflict in Syria.

The G8 leaders – including Russian President Vladimir Putin, an ally of Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad – backed calls for Syrian peace talks to be held in Geneva “as soon as possible”.

All G8 leaders agreed on that transparency is required for multinational companies, which should tell the authorities what tax they have paid and where.  ”Countries should change rules that let companies shift their profits across borders to avoid taxes,” the communique said. It follows revelations about the ways in which several major firms – including Google, Apple, Starbucks and Amazon – have minimised their tax bills.

Illegal activities, including tax evasion and money laundering, will be tackled by the automated sharing of tax information. Speaking during the summit, Mr Osborne said more progress had been made on reforming the global tax system in the past 24 hours than the “past 24 years”.

These and many other topics have been discussed during the summit.

Overseas Territories Agree To Tax Transparency

The Treasury announced that some British colonies including Bermuda and the Cayman Islands have stated and signed legal agreements to share tax information with the government for the future.

The aim of this move is to make people avoiding tax by hiding their money in offshore tax havens, stop doing this.Many legal and business documents have been signed, but finally the outcome is here.

Jersey, Guernsey and the Isle of Man also made such deals not long ago.

The mentioned states will have to share bank account details, including names, addresses, dates of birth, account numbers, balances and payment details at the very moment they receive them.

The same information will also have to be shared with authorities in France, Germany, Italy and Spain.

Other territories which are about to become part of this scheme are Anguilla, the British Virgin Islands, Montserrat and the Turks and Caicos Islands.

Chancellor George Osborne has been working closely with the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) on the issue so he commented: “This represents a significant step forward in tackling illicit finance and sets the global standard in the fight against tax evasion.

“I now hope others follow these governments’ lead and enter into similar commitments to this new level of transparency, removing the hiding places for those who seek to evade tax and hide their assets.”

According to Rosie Sharp of Global Witness, a group campaigning on the issue of offshore tax havens, the key for making that work was the fast exchange of information.

When UK starts sharing information with countries overseas and they respectively start sending information back things would work well and fast.

 

 

 

Violent Crime Falls Rapidly In The UK

The Institute for Economics and Peace announced that the level of violent crime in the UK compared to that in any other country in Western Europe has decreased really fast. Just like the use of business and corporate document templates.

IEP established this index in 2009 with the aim of studying the correlation between peace and economic development and prosperity. The definition of peace due to this index is “the absence of violence or the absence of the fear of violence”.

According to this index from 2003 to 2012 the homicide rates are in half as last year there was only 1 homicide per 100,000.

In spite of the 5.5% fall in police officers in the last five years many forms of crimes have decreased significantly. Among these are weapons crime by 34% and public disorder offences by 29%.

The investigation showed that as a whole life in the UK has become much more peaceful than before.

However, the UK still remains one of the countries in Western Europe with high crime rates.

Improved technology and advances in crime-fighting techniques have helped police much when investigating different crimes. Nowadays enforcement agencies have better and easier ways to cooperate and share information, examine DNA and use electronic surveillance and private security systems.

Another thing the index pointed out was that due to the decrease of public consumption of alcohol, misdeeds motivated by alcohol have also decreased.

Sir Ian Blair, former Met Police Commissioner, mentioned that in his opinion the cultural changes and the general perception of violence were among the main factors behind the fall of violence.

“We are a more violence-adverse society,”

“Domestic violence is being targeted again and again. Football hooliganism, with the exception of the occasional incident, is dying away.”

However, Prof Marian Fitzgerald, said that violence went down because of the late-night economy.

“So when people don’t have money to go out, get tanked up, start having fights, violence goes down.”

 

 

 

No Agreement on the UK Bill of Rights

A commission of nine government-appointed experts failed to reach an agreement about the UK Bill of Rights. These experts spent a year and a half looking at the current Human Rights Act with the idea of replacing it with an independent UK Bill of Rights.

Their decision to replace it was due to the fact that The Human Rights Act 1998 is currently criticized because of its association withEurope. It has been said to bring theUKin line with the European Convention on Human Rights.

Many critics claim theUKdoes not have any control over its own human right laws because it was forced to agree to the changes proposed by the European Court of Human Rights. An example of this turns out to be the conflict between the government and the ECHR on the topic of prisoner voting rights.

In opposition to the conservatives who had been in favour of a UK Bill of Rights, appeared people like their Lib Dem colleagues within the coalition, whose deputy is PM Nick Clegg and who are not that enthusiastic.

Seven of the members were pro and the other two were con the idea that the Bill of Rights was worth pursuing. These two were, Labour peer Baroness Kennedy and law professor Philippe Sands, whose opinion is that a UK Bill of Rights would “be used to strip people of basic rights and decouple theUKfrom the European Convention”.

The fact that the commission did not manage to come to an agreement appeared as a blow for David Cameron, who recently showed his dissatisfaction with today’s European human rights law and accused ECHR that they wanted to giveUKprisoners the vote.

There were some signs showing that there was almost no chance that the commission’s decision goes in favour of the Tories.

Dr Michael Pinto-Duschinsky was the member who resigned from the commission in May. Before leaving, he accused Nick Clegg and former justice secretary Ken Clarke that they were ready to do everything in favour of Europe.

If you are on your way to sign a legal agreement, do consider our wide range of legal document templates.

 

Tougher Measures for Legal Aid Pay-backs

People on lower income who are accused of crimes are eligible for legal aid from the government to cover their costs for a solicitor. however, if they are found guilty, they are required to pay back the costs for the legal aid or part of them, depending on their financial situation. This aid has been assigned in order to ensure everyone has access to proper legal service, when accused of crime. However, it turned out that only one fifth of the costs have been paid back  by the criminals last year- just £1.8m out of £10 m.

That`s why the government is now working on tougher measures for debtors, refusing to pay back their legal aid costs, when found guilty. Hopefully the planned measures will have an effect and more criminals will pay back their legal aid debt. According to the plans the new measure will feature:

  • If criminals  refuse to provide the required financial information, for an assessment of how much they should pay pack, they will be assigned to pay the full amount of the legal aid received. This way, criminals will not be able to avoid actions against them, by simply not responding.
  • If someone is trying to deceive the system by claiming less earnings or assets, in order to pay lower amount, they will be entitled to pay an extra sum, in addition to their estimated pay back amount.
  • The government will be given more power to deal with the assets of the criminals, who refuse to pay back their legal aid costs.

Chris Grayling, justice Minister said:  ”These proposals set out robust measures that will see more costs recuperated from criminals.”It is not right that law-abiding citizens foot the bill when those concerned can pay.”

At the moment the MoJ is undertaking a consultation on the potential of the proposed measures, which is expected to end on the 11th of December.

At The Legal Stop, we are not eligible to fund any legal aid costs, however, we can provide a great legal service, offering you the highest quality legal documents at the lowest possible prices.

Expert Witnesses No Longer on Both Sides

It was recently announced by the former head of the NHS Litigation Authority (NHSLA) that the expert witnesses, who appear for both sides regarding a clinical negligence, will become the norm. Steve Walker retired in August as chief executive of the NHSLA after 16 years of service. He stated that after the Jackson reforms come into place next April, solicitors will be forced to find new ways in order to lower costs. Unlike EU practices, parties in the UK are allowed to bring their own experts so that they can give evidence on litigation proceeding issues that are complicated. During the Expert Witness Institute annual conference, Walker gave a speech regarding new upcoming joint instructions. He stated that even though this might be regarded as a bold step, it is worth enforcing if it leads to the truth. Currently, there are few best experts and they cannot spread themselves on too many cases. Fact is that at the moment, there is a race on getting the most critical experts on each and every case. The practice at the moment is not efficient in any way and actions will be taken for this to change.

Members of the institute should be careful not to gain a reputation for giving favorable evidence to one side. Former chief executive of NHSLA stated that should experts decide to give favorable evidence, the judge will know and this will inevitably lead to their lost. Walker urged all experts to be honest and impartial. However, he also shared that he has experienced ‘many examples of shortcomings’. This was particularly the case in the witness profession was a full-time career for the expert.

Steve Walker also admitted that more often than not corporate defendants fail to scrutinize the reports of the experts in much detail and claims are usually seen as a ‘process’. According to him, more and more cases will be dealt with through an automatic portal arrangement. Such type of cases will also include clinical negligence claims.

High Court judge Mr Justice Ramsey urged solicitors to work on and improve their understanding of how issues such as clinical negligence work in the era of ‘proportionate and predetermined costs’. He stated that ‘it is not longer appropriate to say to a claimant there is an open chequebook on expert evidence’. According to Mr Ramsey, solicitors seek expert advice when they have no idea on how to deal with a given issue. He state, however, that instead of hiring experts to investigate, the solicitors should themselves understand and then explain to clients the costs regarding a certain position. It will be no longer acceptable to be negligent in such situations or give favorable evidence to one side or another. It was reported that experts who appear on both sides regarding a clinical negligence will become the norm. It will be solicitors’ responsibility to stay informed and to inform experts as well as too look for ways in order to lower costs.

We might have no documents on “How to be an expert witness”, however we are happy that all of our clients witnesses high-quality legal and business documents, such as corporate documents, employment documents, health and safety – hr documents and much more.

Tagging offenders in UK ten times more expensive than in the US

The tagging of offenders is not used effectively and that is why a think tank has called for changes to be made as soon as possible. According to e recent report, the current use of tagging offenders is done in an ineffective way. It was announced that there will be changes in the electronic tagging systems which are said to save the UK government millions of pounds each year.

The conservative policy institute Policy Exchange has announced in a recent report that the current tagging of offenders is ineffective and thus costs too much for the government. The conservative policy institutes also states that £70m pounds could be saved only if the electronic monitoring of offenders across the UK is done by police or probation officers.  However, this is currently a responsibility of private firms. Such private firms include G4S and Serco. These companies not only provide but also administer the technology that is being used for tagging offenders. Nonetheless, Policy Exchange believes that these companies must provide support to the police and probation departments by supplying the devices. It will be then the job of the police and probation department to fir the technology devices to the offenders themselves. Additionally, the report made by the conservative policy institute also revealed that tagging a single offender in both England and Wales costs more than ten times than tagging one in the United States.

The claim that tagging offenders is used in an ineffective way has also been supported by the Future of Corrections report. According to this report, even though that the current electronic system for tagging offenders has a lot of potential; it is not being used effectively in terms of reducing crime. The Future of Corrections report suggests that it is the policemen who should advise both courts and prison officials on which offenders need to be tagged. The author of the report, Rory Geoghegan, stated that if the use of tagging continues to be extended without taking into consideration the current reforms, will eventually cost millions of pounds. Failing to recognize the importance of the reforms does not only concern money being wasted, but it also concerns the fact that the opportunity for cutting crime will be eventually missed.

Conversely, Richard Morris, group managing director of G4S Care and Justice Services, argued that these findings are not accurate. He stated that the tags generally provide “a robust alternative to expensive prison custody”. That is why; “tens of millions of pounds each year” are actually saved to taxpayers. He also added that over the years, the private firms have worked closely with the Ministry of Justice assuring that changes are made for the better execution of tagging offenders electronically. The firms have introduced innovative ideas and changes to the original services and this has resulted in good, even improved, value for money.

The UK government has stated that compared with current reforms and agreements, new contracts for electronic monitoring will bring even more value for money next April.