ABC Ltd and Another v HM Revenue and Customs: CA 7 Jul 2017

Temporary approval pending appeal was preferred

The company challenged refusal of fit and proper approval for registration as wholesaler of duty paid alcohol.
Held: The appeals were allowed in part. HMRC, having once concluded that the applicant was not fit and proper was not free to approve them pending their appeal. Better was a temporary approval under the 1979 Act.
Burnett LJ said: ‘A claimant seeking an injunction would need compelling evidence that the appeal would be ineffective. It would call for more than a narrative statement from a director of the business speaking of the dire consequences of delay. The statements should be supported by documentary financial evidence and a statement from an independent professional doing more than reformulating his client’s stated opinion. Otherwise, a judge may be cautious about taking prognostications of disaster at face value. It should not be forgotten that a trader who sees ultimate failure in the appeal would have every incentive to talk up the prospects of imminent demise of the business, in an attempt to keep going pending appeal. Equally, material would have to be deployed which provided a proper insight into the prospects of success in an appeal. There is no permission filter for an appeal to the F-tT. The High Court would not intervene in the absence of a detailed explanation of why the decision of HMRC was unreasonable. It must not be overlooked that the F-tT is not exercising its usual appellate jurisdiction in these types of case where it makes its own decision. Finally, there would have to be detailed evidence of the attempts made to secure expedition in the F-tT and the reasons why those attempts failed. Whilst the jurisdiction exists to grant interim relief in this way, its use is likely to be sparing because steps (i) and (ii) identified above should provide practical relief in cases which justify it and the circumstances in which it would be appropriate for injunctive relief to issue will be rare.’


Patten, King, Burnett LJJ


[2017] EWCA Civ 956, [2017] WLR(D) 463, [2018] 1 WLR 1205


Bailii, WLRD


Alcoholic Liquor Duties Act 1979 88C, Commissioners of Revenue and Customs Act 2005 9, Finance Act 2015


England and Wales


AppliedCC and C Ltd v Revenue and Customs CA 19-Dec-2014
This appeal arises in the context of the regime which permits wholesale trading in alcoholic drinks and other dutiable goods which are held in, or moved between, excise warehouses without giving rise to an ‘excise duty point’ and thus attracting . .
CitedHarley Development Inc. And, Trillium Investment Ltd v Commissioner of Inland Revenue Co PC 14-Mar-1996
Hong Kong – ‘Their Lordships consider that, where a statute lays down a comprehensive system of appeals procedure against administrative decisions, it will only be in exceptional circumstances, typically an abuse of power, that the courts will . .

Cited by:

Appeal fromOWD Ltd (T/A Birmingham Cash and Carry) and Another v Revenue and Customs SC 19-Jun-2019
The wholesalers sought approval from the respondent for the wholesale supply of duty-paid alcohol. Approval was refused, but the parties sought a means of allowing a temporary approval pending determination by the FTT. The two questions considered . .
CitedJJ Management Consulting Llp and Others v Revenue and Customs CA 22-Jun-2020
HMRC has power to conduct informal investigation
The taxpayer, resident here, but with substantial oversea business interests, challenged the conduct of an informal investigation of his businesses under the 2005 Act, saying that HMRC, as a creature of statute, are only permitted to do that which . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Licensing, Litigation Practice

Updated: 08 April 2022; Ref: scu.588986