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The Court of Appeal has, quite rightly, ruled that HMRC must comply with Tribunal Directions and Orders, and that if it does not, it faces being struck out – or in Tribunal parlance, barred from taking any further part in the proceedings.

About time.

My favourite parts of The Senior President of Tribunals (Lord Justice Ryder) judgment are:

36. HMRC are content that the UT relies upon the CPR by analogy where it suits their purposes, for example, as to the discretionary power to strike out in rule 8.3(c) FtT Rules, in which circumstance the UT has recently held that the approach under CPR 3.4 is helpful (see HMRC v Fairford Group [2014] UKUT 329 at [41] andtheir reliance on Abdulle v Commissioner of Police for the Metropolis [2014] EWHC 4052 (QB) and the decision in Data Select Ltd v Revenue and Customs Commissioners [2012] UKUT 187 (TCC). The irony in that circumstance is not lost on this court.

39. I found the approach of HMRC to compliance to be disturbing. At times it came close to arguing that HMRC, as a State agency, should be treated like a litigant in person and that the constraints of austerity on an agency like the HMRC should in some way excuse unacceptable behaviour. I remind HMRC that even in the tribunals where the flexibility of process is a hallmark of the delivery of specialist justice, a litigant in person is expected to comply with rules and orders and a State party should neither expect to nor work on the basis that it has some preferred status – it does not.

 

Source: BPP Holdings v Revenue And Customs [2016] EWCA Civ 121 (01 March 2016)