New Zealand Law Society - Auckland tax academic wins award for case analysis

Auckland tax academic wins award for case analysis

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Professor Craig Elliffe
Professor Craig Elliffe

Professor Craig Elliffe from Auckland Law School, at the University of Auckland, has won the inaugural Patron's Award for Judicial Engagement at the Australasian Tax Teachers Association conference, held in Tasmania in January.

Professor Elliffe's paper, "Interpreting International Tax Agreements: Alsatia in New Zealand", looked at the Court of Appeal's judgment in Commissioner of Inland Revenue v Lin [2018] NZCA 38.

He was severely critical of the Court of Appeal's decision, saying that among other flaws, 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 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 Professor Elliffe’s work.

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.

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