V1.230I Equivalence/effectiveness

V1.230I Equivalence/effectiveness

The principles of effectiveness and equivalence are separate, but are invariably referred to together. They were summed up in the ECJ case of Metallgesellschaft1, where the Court said:

“In the absence of Community rules on the restitution of national charges that have been improperly levied, it is for the domestic legal system of each Member State to designate the courts and tribunals having jurisdiction and to lay down the detailed procedural rules governing actions for safeguarding rights which individuals derive from Community law, provided, first, that such rules are not less favourable than those governing similar domestic actions (principle of equivalence) and, second, that they do not render practically impossible or excessively difficult the exercise of rights conferred by Community law (principle of effectiveness).”

The principle of equivalence was argued in Vodafone2. In that case, an unusual situation arose where the appellant submitted a claim for £4.1m which was in time but which HMRC had refused, and which was the subject of an appeal (“the in-time claim”). They subsequently submitted a separate claim, for different reasons and for a longer period (but including the period to which the in-time claim related). HMRC accepted that this claim (“the out of time claim”) was legitimate, but was out of time. The appellant sought to replace the reasons for the in-time claim such that the reasons became those relating to the out of time claim, but the amount remained that for the in-time claim. This was apparently on the grounds that the

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