UWE’s Centre for Applied Legal Research to be well represented at the SLSA Conference 2018

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The Annual Conference of the Socio-Legal Scholars Association is one of the high points of the legal academic calendar and this year UWE’s Centre for Applied Legal Research (CALR) will be out in force showcasing current research. Bristol University is hosting the conference this year from March 27 – 29.

Emma Whewell is presenting a paper in the mental health stream entitled “Pre-proceedings and capacity: the impact of professional language and other barriers on parents with learning disabilities”. Emma has undertaken research into pre-proceedings protocols in Family Law and this paper will showcase some of her research. Laura Walker has done research on resilience and mental health, but for the SLSA she is presenting a paper in the Law and Emotion stream entitled “The Role of Empathy in the Sentencing of Women in England and Wales”, one of several papers from the Centre for Legal Research that looks at criminal justice either directly or indirectly.

Ed Johnston will be presenting his paper entitled “The Defence Lawyer in the Modern Era and the Evolving Criminal Trial” reporting on his research in the criminal justice field. He is not the only UWE researcher presenting on criminal justice topics as Professor Phil Rumney is chairing two panels in the Sexual Offences stream and is presenting a paper with Duncan McPhee (Criminology) entitled “Exploring the Impact of Multiple Victim Vulnerabilities on Rape Investigations in England and Wales”. Tom Smith will be reporting on a pilot study undertaken at the Bristol Magistrates Courts looking at the lack of local newspaper reporting of the courts. Tom will be presenting with Marcus Keppel-Palmer and the partners from the Journalism Department, Sally Reardon and Phil Chamberlain. An early report was made to the Society of Editors and quoted by John Whittingdale MP.

Looking at criminal offences in the context of sports law is Matt Hall who is presenting a paper based around his PhD research into the offences around alcohol and drunkenness at football stadia. Matt will be arguing the case for liberalising the laws which apply only in the context of football and not other sports. Matt will also be co-presenting a second paper in the Sports law stream with Marcus Keppel-Palmer reporting on their content analysis of sports photographs in national newspapers in a paper entitled “The Connoted Message of Sports Photography in National Newspapers”. Marcus will have a busy conference as he is also presenting a paper in the Law and Music stream entitled “Law, Outlaw and Deviancy in Bro Country“.

The week before Easter also sees the Association of Law Teachers Conference, to be held at Keele University, and amongst UWE’s researchers presenting papers there are Kathy Brown, Rachel Wood and Thomas Webber.

The Social Costs of Offshore Finance

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Dr Mary Alice Young interview – The Paradise Papers

The Centre for Applied Legal Research’s Dr Mary Alice Young was interviewed this month by Luke Vargas, from the U.N Headquarters in New York. The subject was the Paradise Papers and the radio interview was recorded for “Wake”, a weekly foreign policy broadcast produced by Talk Media News and circulated to more than 300 radio stations in the US.

The full transcript can be found here: http://bit.ly/2EYRfAr

 

January 31 – Cryptocurrency Tax D-day

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Dr Clare Jones,  Associate Professor in Law, examines tax implications of digital currencies

For those of us that complete a tax return for HM Revenue and Customs, the 31st January comes around very quickly each year. Previously those who have invested in digital currencies may not have considered declaring these investments. However, with the rise in investments in digital currencies during the last year and with some people making trading in cryptocurrencies their full-time job, then the 31st of January should now be relevant.[1] Although earnings via digital currencies within this current tax year 2017-2018 may not be pertinent, the next financial year will surely see a rise in revenue for the Government due to the activities over the last year.[2]

Digital currencies have the reputation of being used to facilitate crime whether it is money laundering or fraud, yet tax evasion is a real and present threat and digital currency investors often ignore or are unaware of the prospect of paying tax on earnings.

In 2014 the Government issued a Brief outlining the tax implications for Bitcoin and other Cryptocurrencies.[3] HM Revenue and Customs states that: “Cryptocurrencies have a unique identity and cannot therefore be directly compared to any other form of investment activity or payment mechanism”.[4] Having said that, they are not exempt and must comply with EU wide tax VAT rules. Revenue and Customs are quick to point out that guidance given in the briefing does not provide a regulatory stance over cryptocurrencies.  The tax treatment as outlined in the briefing paper is as follows:

·         income received from Bitcoin mining activities will generally be outside the scope of VAT on the basis that the activity does not constitute an economic activity for VAT purposes because there is an insufficient link between any services provided and any consideration received;

·         income received by miners for other activities, such as for the provision of services in connection with the verification of specific transactions for which specific charges are made, will be exempt from VAT under Article 135(1)(d) of the EU VAT Directive as falling within the definition of ‘transactions, including negotiation, concerning deposit and current accounts, payments, transfers, debts, cheques and other negotiable instruments’;

·         when Bitcoin is exchanged for Sterling or for foreign currencies, such as Euros or Dollars, no VAT will be due on the value of the Bitcoins themselves, and,

·         charges (in whatever form) made over and above the value of the Bitcoin for arranging or carrying out any transactions in Bitcoin will be exempt from VAT under Article 135(1)(d) as outlined at 2 above.[5]

In terms of Corporation Tax, Inheritance Tax and Capital Gains Tax,  will be judged on a case by case basis and will be dependent on relevant legislation and case law to determine the correct tax liability. Any business that accepts Bitcoins for services or goods, there is no change to revenue or collected or tax paid.

Although cryptocurrencies are proving to be an enigma within the legal and tax industries, it is clear that the UK Government along with other international governments are keen to look at piecing together rules and regulations to bring cryptocurrencies under the umbrella of governance. The 31st of January, may next year, be more of a bug-bear to digital currencies investors than ever before.

[1] BBC News. Bitcoin – the revenue comes calling. 31 January 2018. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-42872610 accessed 31 January 2018.
[2] Ibid.
[3] HM Government. Revenue and Customs Brief 9 (2014): Bitcoin and other Cryptocurrencies. https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/revenue-and-customs-brief-9-2014-bitcoin-and-other-cryptocurrencies  Accessed 31 January 2018.
[4] Ibid
[5] Supra n. 3.

UWE Law students – are you ready to play your part?

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2018 Environmental Law Student Conference

The Environmental Law Unit invites UWE students to organise and take part in this important Conference.

Now in its 4th year the event will take place at the University of Swansea on 14 March 2018 and will be organised jointly by UoB, Cardiff, Swansea and UWE students.

We welcome student volunteers from UWE with an interest in Environmental Law (International or otherwise), Globalisation and Natural Resources to be on the committee along with UoB, Swansea and Cardiff students to organise this event and later participate, if chosen, in presenting papers to Conference. There will be an opportunity to enter a competition for the best presentation which will be judged by practitioners in leading law firms in Wales.

This is a fantastic opportunity for UWE students to add to their CV and gain invaluable experience in team-work and university collaboration.

For more information please contact Elena Blanco, Associate Professor of International Economic Law, and get involved.

Future of the Commons

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Elena Blanco, Associate Professor of International Economic Law, would like to invite you to take part in a roundtable event on the “Commons” organized by the Environmental Law Research Unit at Bristol Law School, UWE on 28th February 2018, 1-6pm (room 3S803).

The keynote speaker will be David Bollier, an internationally well-known commons speaker and activist. Margherita Pieraccini  (UoBristol); Yoriko Otomo (SOAS) and Philippe Karpe (CIRAD) will offer a brief 15 minute reflection on the theme of the ‘Future of the Commons’, either responding to David’s contribution, or taking the thinking in a new direction informed by their own experience and scholarship.

The aim of the event is to have a stimulating discussion that brings new intersections between commons activism, praxis and scholarship, and pushes thinking in new directions, potentially.

Places are strictly limited. Please contact Elena.Blanco@uwe.ac.uk if you would like to take part.