Block Britain from cross-border court pact, says EC

Block Britain from cross-border court pact, says EC

THE EUROPEAN Commission has recommended that Britain should not join a cross-border accord for recognizing courts and their rulings. The Lugano Convention determines which countries’ courts may hear cross-border civil and commercial disputes between the 27 European Union states, Iceland, Norway and Switzerland. It also ensures the enforcement of rulings from such disputes. Britain was a member and is still part of the EU, but it fully left the bloc’s orbit at the end of last year and needs the unanimous backing of all Lugano signatories to rejoin.

The Commission, which is the European Union’s executive, said that current Lugano members participate to some extent in the EU’s internal market of free movement of goods, services, capital and people, which Britain no longer does. The Commission said in a statement: “In view of the above, the Commission takes the view that the European Union should not give its consent to the accession of the United Kingdom to the 2007 Lugano Convention.” Lugano is not mentioned in any of the post-Brexit trade agreements signed by Britain.

Lisa Smith, alleged ex-IS, wins appeal against UK entry ban

IRISH WOMAN Lisa Smith (above), who is charged with membership of the so-called Islamic State, has won a court case on her exclusion from the United Kingdom. An exclusion notice was served to Smith in December 2019, by the British Home Secretary, barring her from entering the UK on the grounds of public security.

Smith appealed against that notice to the Special Immigration Appeals Commission (SIAC) sitting in London. The exclusion notice was based on regulations that provide for the exclusion of a national of a European Economic Area (EEA) state who is not also a British citizen. The SIAC heard that Irish citizens can therefore be excluded, but not those with dual nationality. Smith’s father was born in Belfast, and her lawyers argued that he was entitled to be treated as a dual national and by virtue of his dual nationality it would be unlawful to exclude her from the jurisdiction. Smith’s mother was an Irish citizen and her parents never married.

The appeal heard that had her parents were married at the time of her birth, British citizenship “would have ensued automatically” and that it is discriminatory and a violation of Article 14 of the European Conven­tion on Human Rights (ECHR) to treat those children of unmarried parents any differently, to those of married couples.

Kulbhushan Jadhav Case: Islamabad HC asks India to cooperate

THE ISLAMABAD High Court (IHC), while hearing the Kulbhushan Jadhav case, has sought India’s cooperation in the legal proceeding over the matter, saying that appearing before the court did not mean a waiver of sovereignty. The court will hear the matter on June 15. A three-member bench of the IHC, comprising Chief Justice Athar Minallah, Justice Aamer Farooq and Justice Miangul Hassan Aurangzeb resumed hearing of the plea filed by Pakistan’s law ministry seeking appointment of a lawyer for Jadhav. Attorney General Khalid Jawed Khan told the bench that in order to comply with the ruling of the International Court of Justice (ICJ), Pakistan promulgated a law last year, enabling Jadhav to avail himself of the statutory remedy. He, however, argued that the Indian government was deliberately avoiding joining court proceedings and was objecting to a trial before a Pakistani court. Khan also claimed that India had declined to even appoint a counsel for the High Court proceedings saying, ”It is tantamount to surrendering sovereign rights.”

Jadhav, the 51-year-old retired Indian Navy officer, was sentenced to death by a Pakistani military court on charges of espionage and terrorism in April 2017.

US court allows IRS to seek info on taxpayers using crypto currency

A FEDERAL court in the United States has authorized the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) of the country to serve a John Doe Summons (an investigative tool available to IRS through the approval of a federal court) on the crypto exchange Kraken, seeking identities of US taxpayers who have used cryptocurrency, the Department of Justice said. The DoJ said in a statement that the IRS is seeking information about taxpayers who conducted at least $20,000 worth of transactions in cryptocurrency from 2016 to 2020.

“Those who transact with cryptocurrency must meet their tax obligations like any other taxpayer,” acting Assistant Attorney General David Hubbert of the Justice Department’s Tax Division said in the statement.

Vatican’s criminal tribunal to prosecute cardinals, Bishops

POPE FRANCIS removed procedural hitches that earlier disallowed Vatican’s criminal tribunal from prosecuting cardinals and bishops. In a message to cardinals and bishops in the Vatican, Pope Francis has made it clear that he will hold them accountable for criminal misconduct. The Pope has removed the procedural hurdles that prevented them from being prosecuted by the criminal tribunal of the Vatican. The new law published states that only the pope’s consent is needed for Vatican prosecutors to proceed with investigations against cardinals and bishops.

After eight years of preaching about ending corruption and other criminal activity in the Holy See, Francis took concrete steps to hold his own cardinals and bishops accountable. He recently passed a different law, forcing Vatican superiors to declare that their finances are clean, and set a 40-euro cap on work-related personal gifts received by any Vatican employee. This was seen as a way to cut down on the rampant practice of financial gift-giving to Holy See clerics and the chance that such money could grease favours. Introducing the law, Francis said it was necessary to hold everyone equal under the law, as recognized internationally.

“The understanding of such values and principles, which have progressively matured in the ecclesial community, today require the Vatican code to more adequately conform to international standards,” he wrote.
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