The Treatment of Bitcoin across Different Jurisdictions – Anja Kantic

Bitcoin has taken the world by storm as the most popular cryptocurrency. Bitcoin is a means of peer-to-peer transacting with no middleman institutions or banks, no transaction fees and no delay in transfer between parties all around the world. This ease and convenience makes it a popular alternative to conventional banking, in spite of its fluctuating and volatile value.

It is useful to explore the treatment of Bitcoin across different jurisdictions in order to understand how it functions and how it will affect transacting in the future.

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Nygh Internship 2018 awarded to Alexandra Kaye

The International Law Association (Australian Branch) is pleased to announce the recipient of the 2018 Peter Nygh Hague Conference Internship is Alexandra Kaye.

(Nygh Internship 2018 award ceremony. L to R: Ms Nicola Nygh, Ms Alexandra Kaye, Mr Richard Broinowski, Dr David Bennett AC QC.)

The award was jointly presented to Ms Kaye by the International Law Association (Australian Branch) and the Australian Institute of International Affairs at a ceremony in Sydney shortly before Christmas. Ms Kaye commenced her internship with the Hague Conference on Private International Law in January 2018.

The Peter Nygh Hague Conference Internship was established in memory of the late Hon Dr Peter Nygh AM, a leading international lawyer and former judge of the Family Court of Australia.

The annual award provides support for a post-graduate student or graduate to work with some the world’s leading private international law practitioners at the secretariat of the Hague Conference on Private International Law.

More information about the annual Peter Nygh Hague Conference Internship can be found here.

The High Court of Australia, torture, and ‘oblique intention’ – Stephen Ranieri

(“High Court of Australia” by Malcolm Tredinnick/Flickr. Adapted from original.)

The absolute prohibition of torture, both as a matter of treaty law and international customary law, has been described as one of the ‘few issues on which international legal opinion is [most] clear’ and its transgressors rightfully identified as the ‘common enemies of mankind’. In SZTAL and SZTGM v Minister for Immigration and Border Protection [2017] HCA 34 (SZTAL), the High Court of Australia recently had cause to consider the CAT, ICCPR, and other international legal materials regarding torture, in relation to Australia’s ‘complementary protection regime’ established through the Migration Act 1958 (Cth) (Migration Act). 

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Indian court intervenes in Vodafone investment arbitration against India – Ishbel McLachlan

(Photo by Arti Sandhu/Flickr)

The Delhi High Court has temporarily restrained British companies Vodafone Group Plc and Vodafone Consolidated Holdings Ltd (together, “Vodafone“) from taking any further action in respect of a claim against India under the Agreement between the Government of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and the Government of the Republic of India for the Promotion and Protection of Investments (“UK-India BIT“): Union of India v Vodafone Group PLC United Kingdom & Anr. CS(OS) 383/2017.

The Court’s decision was made on the basis that an arbitration under the UK-India BIT would duplicate a claim already filed by Vodafone’s subsidiary Vodafone International Holdings BV (“Vodafone BV“) under the Agreement between the Republic of India and the Kingdom of the Netherlands for the Promotion and Protection of Investments (“Netherlands-India BIT“) and that the “natural forum” for the dispute was the Indian courts. The Court has asked Vodafone to respond to India’s request for a permanent anti-arbitration injunction by 26 October 2017 before any further orders are made.

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International Law Update – The Conflict in Yemen, the International Criminal Court, and the Srebrenica Massacre

Yemen

Human Rights Watch called for the release of Yemeni activist Hisham al-Omeisy, whom Human Rights Watch claims has been detained by Houthi authorities. Human Rights Watch states that al-Omeisy was arrested by 15 officers on 14 August 2017 in Sanaa. They claim he has not been charged, brought before a judge or given access to a lawyer or his family, and that he is in an undisclosed location. Amnesty International has made a similar statement.

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Please don’t take my arbitrators away: a clash of terms between arbitration agreements and institutional rules – Andrew Foo

It is reported that the courts of the People’s Republic of China (“PRC”) have refused to enforce a Singapore International Arbitration Centre (“SIAC”) award under Article V(1)(d) of the New York Convention, on the basis that “the composition of the arbitral authority or the arbitral procedure was not in accordance with the agreement of the parties…”.

In this case, two parties entered into a contract for the sale and purchase of iron ore.  However, the arbitration agreement therein contained a potential (and potent) clash of terms:

  • The arbitration agreement provided for a three person panel, and
  • The arbitration agreement also provided for arbitration under the SIAC Rules, and the SIAC Rules contain an expedited procedure and state that if this expedited procedure applies, the case would be referred to a sole arbitrator (unless the SIAC determines otherwise).

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Same-Sex Couples in Australia: A Right to Divorce But What of Marriage?

On 3 August 2017, the Human Rights Committee (HRC) of the United Nations handed down a landmark ruling that Australia had breached its international human rights obligations because it did not allow same-sex couples in Australia to divorce, when they had legally married overseas. This decision comes at a time when the political temperature on the same-sex marriage debate in Australia is heating up.

While it is clear from the HRC decision that same-sex couples in Australia have a right to divorce, it is less clear whether they have a right to marriage and whether Australia will recognise it. Under the Marriage Act 1961 (Cth), marriage is currently defined as “the union of a man and a woman”. This definition was introduced in 2004 under then-Prime Minister John Howard. Before then, same-sex couples could allegedly marry.

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Can there be justice for Otto Warmbier? – Lorraine Finlay

(“Mansudae Monument” by Evan Ritli/Flickr)

There is no such thing as a funny dictatorship. This seemingly obvious point was highlighted with the death of Otto Warmbier, who was until recently imprisoned in North Korea. While Hollywood movies like Team America: World Police and The Interview have, from time to time, parodied the North Korean regime, Warmbier’s death is a stark reminder that this regime is not a joking matter.  

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Attorney-General George Brandis outlines Australia’s position at international law on the right to self-defence against imminent attack

On 11 April 2017 Attorney-General Senator the Hon. George Brandis deliver a public lecture at the TC Beirne School of Law, University of Queensland, on the “The Right of Self-Defence Against Imminent Armed Attack In International Law”. While the doctrine of self-defence against imminent attack is well established at international law the Senator seeks to place the doctrine a modern context in which states must take account of non-state actors who have the capability to commit harm transnationally, and in which alongside the threat of terrorism by physical attack lies the threat of cyber attack. The key, according the Senator, is placing the word “imminent” in this modern context.

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