It is a rarity that the highest court in the UK will unanimously disagree with the unanimous decision of the highest court in England and Wales. But that is precisely what occurred in R. (on the application of Ingenious Media Holdings plc and another) v HMRC (Ingenious Media), a recent case concerning HMRC’s duty of confidentiality. The Supreme Court overturned the Court of Appeal decision, which in turn had followed the reasoning of Sales J in the High Court (who, as it happens, was elevated to the Court of Appeal before the appeal was heard). Thus, nine of the brightest minds fell into separate camps as regards the appropriate outcome of a legal dispute. This calls for a comprehensive exploration of the reasoning underpinning the judgments at each instance. Whilst this note will ultimately welcome the Supreme Court’s judgment in the respect that it overturns misconceptions in the decisions of the lower courts and clarifies the nature of the duty of confidentiality, the Supreme Court decision’s failure to clarify the scope of “confidentiality” is likely to have chilling effects on HMRC’s public engagement.
|Journal||British Tax Review|
|Publication status||Published - 7 Jun 2017|