Confidentiality and privacy in tax cases
Produced in partnership with Anne Redston of Temple Tax Chambers
Confidentiality and privacy in tax cases

The following Tax guidance note Produced in partnership with Anne Redston of Temple Tax Chambers provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Confidentiality and privacy in tax cases
  • The open justice principle
  • The presumption of public hearings at the FTT
  • When a private hearing may be directed by the FTT
  • Publication of decisions by the FTT
  • Applications for anonymity or redaction in the FTT and/or UT
  • Application in advance of the hearing
  • Hearings in the Upper Tribunal (UT)
  • Access to documents
  • Without notice applications

This Practice Note has been written by Anne Redston, Barrister. It is her personal view; she is not authorised to speak for the Tribunals Service or the judiciary.

Confidentiality and privacy in tax cases has always been important, as people seek to shelter their financial affairs from public scrutiny.

This Practice Note discusses:

  1. whether hearings can be held in private

  2. whether the final decision can be anonymised, and

  3. whether documents or information related to the hearing can be anonymised

It considers the position at the First-tier Tax Tribunal (FTT) and the Upper Tribunal (UT).

This Practice Note is only a summary and does not cover all situations. You may need to take further advice in relation to your client’s position.

The open justice principle

In Cape, the Supreme Court stated that all courts and tribunals must follow the open justice principle for two reasons:

  1. ‘the first is to enable public scrutiny of the way in which courts decide cases—to hold the judges to account for the decisions they make and to enable the public to have confidence that they are doing their job properly’, and

  2. the second is to allow the public ‘to understand the issues and the evidence adduced in support of the parties’ cases’ so that they can understand how the justice system works and why decisions are taken

That principle therefore applies