From the Editor

Monday, 01 July 2013
Being far above the Earth gives you a good perspective on the global business environment, finds Simon Rylatt.

Welcome to the July issue of the STEP Journal. I am writing this while at 35,000 feet and part-way through a flight from London Heathrow to Shanghai. That might sound like an attempt to show off, but I promise that it isn’t. I have three reasonably good reasons why you shouldn’t consider it as such. The first: I am going for a work trip, it is a Sunday and my four-year-old son didn’t hesitate in showing his annoyance at my departure from home earlier this morning (so I am feeling significant pangs of paternal guilt). The second: I am seated in economy (although I do confess that the seat next to me is empty). The third and most important reason is that I only thought of it as relevant because it provides a perfect link into the initial part of this editorial, namely that it demonstrates the relentless and ongoing globalisation of our industry. As a trainee at a very good southeast English law firm 15 years ago, I did not anticipate that I would be travelling to China for conferences at the age of 38. My work then was largely domestic in focus and I was quite happy with that (I found it hard enough to get to grips with English law at those early stages!). Although I moved from the firm that trained me some years ago, I nonetheless know that its international expertise and focus has grown, as has that of the firm I ended up joining. It really can’t be avoided.

One way or another, growing numbers of families have multi-jurisdictional links, whether through family, property, businesses or otherwise. Those international links may be close to home, perhaps England to Scotland, or far-reaching; for example, I am English and my wife happens to be Australian. Irrespective of distance, however, similar issues arise, and, as usual, this edition of the STEP Journal provides insight into numerous corners of STEP’s global membership. With this in mind, there are certain articles you might like to take a look at. ‘No safe havens’ (page 68) reminds us that with globalisation comes an increasing flow of information, and that although opportunities exist, time is running out for those who wish to regulate their international tax affairs with HMRC. ‘To follow or not to follow?’ (page 39) highlights that federal legal systems bring yet more differentiation in approach, in this case with reference to costs in Australian family provision applications. ‘A slippery concept’ (page 37) discusses the New Zealand approach to fraud on a power. Finally, ‘The Dutch foundation’ (page 64) does what it says on the tin (although this was not a tin I had previously opened).

My flight to China also provides a link to another jurisdictional dimension of today’s world: that the number of jurisdictions that anyone with an international aspect to their practice is likely to need at least some knowledge of is on the increase. For evidence of this, look no further than where I am going. To mix metaphors, China used to be a closed book, but now almost everyone is saying it should be regarded as an open door – or at least a partially open door that shouldn’t be ignored. The same is true of India and Africa. Unless you have been fortunate enough to visit and do business with these amazing countries and continent, the likelihood is you will have only a limited conception of how they operate. Yet, even if you are, in the short- to medium-term, unlikely to come across them regularly, you will be well served by keeping up to date with where they are going, what they have to offer and how important to the global economy and our world of practice they will probably be in the future. Yes, that was a hint, so I urge you to take a closer look at the articles in this edition regarding Africa, India and, if you read on, a resurgent Dubai.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, my Hong-Kong-style marinated chicken is just about to arrive and the lady in seat 23D has asked me to move my bag before the meal begins. Happy reading everyone!

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Simon Rylatt

Simon Rylatt TEP is a Partner at Boodle Hatfield and an editor of the STEP Journal.

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