1132. Form and substance.

The terms of the instrument itself in general decide the question whether any, and if so what, stamp duty is chargeable1. The true meaning and effect of the writing, not what the instrument calls itself, decides this question2. Accordingly, it has been said that in determining the liability of an instrument to stamp duty, regard should be had to the substance of the transaction

rather than to its form3. It seems, however, that the substance of a transaction is to be ascertained by reference to the true legal effect of the instrument which implements it and, subject to the Ramsay principle4

, the form or shape of the transaction which is chosen by the parties will, if it is effective at law, determine the liability of the instrument to stamp duty