Award for significant analysis of judicial decision
31 January 2020
A research paper that examines the Court of Appeal's judgment in the Commissioner of Inland Revenue v Lin has received an award in recognition of its significant analysis of a judicial decision.
Interpreting International Tax Agreements: Alsatia in New Zealand by Professor Craig Elliffe from Auckland Law School, at the University of Auckland, won the inaugural Patron's Award for Judicial Engagement at the Australasian Tax Teachers Association conference, held last week in Tasmania.
Professor Elliffe is currently at the University of Oxford on a Law Foundation Fellowship working on a new book titled Taxing in the 21st Century.
The international tax law expert is strongly critical of the decision in Commissioner of Inland Revenue v Lin, because, amongst other flaws, he says the judgment does not adequately consider the OECD Model Commentary as required by the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties.
“The approach taken by the Court of Appeal in Commissioner of Inland Revenue v Lin cannot be reconciled with previous examples of New Zealand tax treaty interpretation and it is also out of step with international courts in common law jurisdictions,” says Professor Elliffe.
The implications arising from the Court of Appeal’s decision, and from the Supreme Court’s decision not to hear an appeal, could be seen as New Zealand going out on an international limb, far from an international consensus in the common law world on the interpretation of treaties.
“The implications arising from the Court of Appeal’s decision, and from the Supreme Court’s decision not to hear an appeal, could be seen as New Zealand going out on an international limb, far from an international consensus in the common law world on the interpretation of treaties,” he says.
The Patron’s Award for Judicial Engagement is sponsored by the Patron who is Hon Tony Pagone, former judge of the Federal Court, Australia. The jury considered relevant articles in Australia and New Zealand, before selecting Elliffe’s work.
The aim of the award is to draw attention, both to members of the academy and members of the judiciary, to the importance of continuing dialogue between the two.
Miranda Playfair | Media Adviser
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