Commentary

V5.405 VAT appeals—the supervisory jurisdiction of the tribunal

Part V5 Compliance, enforcement and appeals

V5.405 VAT appeals—the supervisory jurisdiction of the tribunal

V5.405 VAT appeals—the supervisory jurisdiction of the tribunal

It has generally been considered that the tribunal does not possess an inherent supervisory jurisdiction over the actions and decisions of HMRC1; its power to review decisions is derived partly from the subject matter of VATA 1994, s 83 described in V5.404 and partly from the powers conferred by s 84(10) described below. In relation to decisions within s 83, a supervisory jurisdiction will only exist where granted by express language or where it follows by necessary implication2. The Upper Tribunal does, however, have limited powers of judicial review, for which see V1.285.

Judge J summarised the distinction between an appellate and supervisory jurisdiction as follows3:

'in essence, while an “appellate” jurisdiction permits the tribunal to consider whether the decision of the Commissioners was based on appropriate evidence and correct application of the relevant legal principles, usually derived from the statutory framework, the 'supervisory' jurisdiction, when present, enables the tribunal to “review” the decision of the Commissioners.'

The distinction might have been clearer if Judge J had explained what he meant by 'review'. In another case, where the word was used differently, the distinction was described thus4:

'The first matter in this appeal is to establish the nature of the appeal to the value added tax tribunal. Is it a rehearing whereby the tribunal can review the discretion of the commissioners and alter it or come to a different conclusion if it so desires, or does the tribunal on the other hand exercise only a supervisory

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