This book sails in uncharted waters. It takes a human rights-based approach to tax havens, and is a detailed analysis of structures and the laws that generate and support these. It makes plain the unscrupulous or merely indifferent ways in which, using tax havens, businesses and individuals systematically undermine and for all practical purposes eliminate access to remedies under international human rights law. It exposes as abusive of human rights a complex structural web of trusts, companies, partnerships, foundations, nominees and fiduciaries; secrecy, immunity and smoke screens. It also lays bare the cynical manipulation by tax havens of traditional legal forms and conventions, and the creation of entities so bizarre and chimeric that they defy classification. Yet from the perspective of the tax havens themselves, these are entirely legitimate; the product of duly enacted domestic laws.
This book is not a work of investigative journalism in the style of the Pulitzer Prize-winning authors of The Panama Papers, exposing political or financial corruption, money laundering or the financing of terrorism. All those elements are present of course, but the focus is on international human rights and how tax havens do not merely facilitate but actively connive at their breach. The tax havens are compromising the international human rights legal continuum.
Table of Contents
Chapter 1: Overview of Tax Havens and International Finance Centres
Chapter 2: Offshore Structures: Accountability Avoidance
Chapter 3: Beneficial Ownership Avoidance
Chapter 4: Tax avoidance and tax evasion
Chapter 5: The Isle of Man and the International Human Rights Continuum
Chapter 6: Switzerland: Illicit Financial Flows, Women’s Rights and Gender Equality
Chapter 7: Concluding Recommendations
Paul Beckett currently practices as an Isle of Man Advocate and English Solicitor at MannBenham Advocates, Isle of Man. He has over thirty-five years’ experience as a lawyer, both within the international private banking and fiduciary services industries and in private practice. He is a member of the Solicitor Judges Division, Law Society of England and Wales; a Member of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators; and a member of the Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce. His academic work extends over five decades. He graduated from Worcester College, Oxford in 1978 with First Class honours in Jurisprudence, being awarded his Master of Arts in 1982. He is also a member of New College, Oxford and was awarded his Master of Studies in International Human Rights Law in 2014.
'Paul Beckett dares to link two themes that most will not associate: human rights and tax havens. This is long overdue. As he argues, we cannot appraise the cost of tax havens solely in monetary terms. Their opacity, which creates privileged access to capital and opportunity for some whilst denying it to others, is now a real issue in international human rights. His arguments are strong, and sometimes provocative, but what they do is add an essential dimension to the critical debate on the future of tax havens.'
Professor Richard Murphy, City, University of London, and Director, Tax Research UK
'The financial crisis of 2008 and the subsequent dawning of the age of austerity has given fresh life to the debate about tax avoidance and the use of tax havens. Paul Beckett’s book makes a valuable contribution to that debate. His fresh, rights-based analysis of the problems which tax havens cause, and the deleterious effects they can have on human rights, is a passionate call to arms.'
Julian B. Knowles QC, Matrix Chambers, Gray’s Inn, UK
'This scholarly book which amalgamates human rights and tax havens had to be written! Its originality, detailed and critical analysis, lucid style, comprehensive content of different legal systems and thoughtful and balanced recommendations stimulate the reader’s mind into new thinking. It introduces an international debate and makes for essential reading.'
Professor Jo Carby-Hall, University of Hull, UK