Judicial review in tax cases

By Tolley and written by Anne Redston

The following Owner-Managed Businesses guidance note by Tolley and written by Anne Redston provides comprehensive and up to date tax information covering:

  • Judicial review in tax cases
  • What is judicial review?
  • HMRC decisions and judicial review
  • Legislative provisions potentially subject to judicial review
  • Where to make your application for judicial review
  • Judicial review in the High Court (Admin Chamber)
  • Judicial review in the Upper Tribunal
  • Interactions with the First-tier Tribunal

This guidance note considers judicial review in the context of tax.

In particular, it explains:

  • what judicial review is
  • the scope of judicial review
  • where to make an application for judicial review, and in particular:
    • when it is possible to make an application to the Upper Tribunal
    • whether it is possible to make an application to the First-tier Tribunal
  • what to do if your dispute involves both public law and technical tax issues
  • the remedies available ― ie what outcomes your client can expect if you win

Judicial review is complex and this practice note is only a summary. Unless you are experienced in judicial review work, it is recommended that you take specialist advice.

In particular, this guidance note does not cover non-tax related claims, criminal matters, or Scots or Northern Irish law.

What is judicial review?

Judicial review is the procedure whereby the court considers whether the decision of a public body was lawful.

SCA 1981, s 31 (subscription sensitive); CPR 54.1 ; ARTG12010

Judicial review has classically been described as “not an appeal from a decision, but a review of the manner in which the decision was made”.

Chief Constable of the North Wales Police v Evans [1982] 3 All ER 141 at 155 (subscription sensitive)

Judicial review proceedings can be taken against:

  • any public body, including HMRC (R v CIR (ex p Preston) [1985] STC 282; IRC v National Federation of Self-Employed and Small Businesses [1981] STC 260 at 265–266 (both subscription sensitive))
  • legislation, including secondary legislation (CPR 54.1 )

Judicial review is normally only available when there

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