Commentary

A2.312 Application of Article 6 in the UK

Administration and compliance

A2.312 Application of Article 6 in the UK

A2.312 Application of Article 6 in the UK

Civil rights and obligations

For a discussion on the extent to which tax disputes fall within the determination of civil rights and obligations (in Article 6(1)), see A2.3111. Broadly, if the subject matter of the case is purely the liability of a person to tax, then the ECtHR is unlikely to accept that the dispute is within Article 6(1). The UK Courts have taken a similar approach. There is some support in academic publications2 for the view that the UK courts should extend the fair trial requirements in Article 6 to civil tax disputes (primarily by reason that pecuniary interests of individuals are directly affected by the enforcement of fiscal laws, and it is arguable that there are no 'special' circumstances that justify excluding 'civil' tax matters from the Article 6 protections), but the cases show that there has been little such willingness shown by the UK courts.

Examples of where the UK courts have held that Article 6 is not engaged, because the direct tax proceedings are not civil proceedings within Article 6(1) include:

  1.  

    •     Eagerpath3, (claims to recover overpaid tax (under TMA 1970, s 33))

  2.  

    •     Fullarton4 (amendments to tax returns)

  3.  

    •     Bankcroft5 (a surcharge agreed not to amount to a 'criminal charge' for the purposes of Article 6)

  4.  

    •     Taylor (Sosnowski's personal representative) v IRC6 (inheritance tax determination)

  5.  

    •     Prosser (personal representative of Jempson, dec'd)7(interest charged on inheritance tax)

  6.  

    •     Significant8 (assessment of tax)

  7.  

    •     Re an Application by Revenue

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