Fitzleet Estates Ltd v Cherry: HL 9 Nov 1977

Income tax – Schedule D, Cases III and VI – Payments of interest and ground rent incurred when property was being developed – Whether capitalised or paid out of profits or gains brought into charge to tax – Income Tax Act 1952 (15 and 16 Geo. 6 and 1 Eliz. 2, c. 10), j. 170.
The House was invited to depart from its own precedent set eleven years before. Lord Wilberforce said: ‘There is therefore nothing left to the appellant but to contend – as he frankly does – that the 1965 decision is wrong. This contention means, when interpreted, that three or more of your Lordships ought to take the view which appealed then to the minority.
My Lords, in my firm opinion, the Practice Statement of 1966 was never intended to allow and should not be considered to allow such a course. Nothing could be more undesirable, in fact, than to permit litigants, after a decision has been given by this House with all appearance of finality, to return to this House in the hope that a differently constituted committee might be persuaded to take the view, which its predecessors rejected. True that the earlier decision was by majority: I say nothing as to its correctness or as to the validity of the reasoning by which it was supported. That there were two eminently possible views is shown by the support for each by at any rate, two members of the House. But doubtful issues have to be resolved and the law knows no better way of resolving them than by the considered majority opinion of the ultimate tribunal. It requires much more than doubts as to the correctness of such opinion to justify departing from it.’


Lord Wilberforce, Lord Salmon and Lord Keith


[1977] 1 WLR 1345, [1977] UKHL TC – 51 – 708, [1977] 3 All ER 996, [1977] STC 397, [1977] TR 217, 51 TC 708




England and Wales


CitedPractice Statement (Judicial Precedent) HL 1966
The House gave guidance how it would treat an invitation to depart from a previous decision of the House. Such a course was possible, but the direction was not an ‘open sesame’ for a differently constituted committee to prefer their views to those . .

Cited by:

CitedRees v Darlington Memorial Hospital NHS Trust HL 16-Oct-2003
The claimant was disabled, and sought sterilisation because she feared the additional difficulties she would face as a mother. The sterilisation failed. She sought damages.
Held: The House having considered the issue in MacFarlane only . .
AppliedMcDonnell v Congregation of Christian Brothers Trustees (Formerly Irish Christian Brothers) and others HL 4-Dec-2003
In 2000, the claimant sought damages for sexual abuse from before 1951. The issue was as to whether the limitation law which applied was that as at the date of the incidents, or that which applied as at the date when he would be deemed uner the . .
CitedKay and Another v London Borough of Lambeth and others; Leeds City Council v Price and others and others HL 8-Mar-2006
In each case the local authority sought to recover possession of its own land. In the Lambeth case, they asserted this right as against an overstaying former tenant, and in the Leeds case as against gypsies. In each case the occupiers said that the . .
CitedGibson v United States of America PC 23-Jul-2007
(The Bahamas) The US government sought the extradition of the appellant from the Bahamas on drugs charges. The warrants were found to be void, and the defendant released unconditionally, when the nmagistrate rejected evidence from an admitted . .
CitedRegina v Kansal (2) HL 29-Nov-2001
The prosecutor had lead and relied at trial on evidence obtained by compulsory questioning under the 1986 Act.
Held: In doing so the prosecutor was acting to give effect to section 433.
The decision in Lambert to disallow retrospective . .
CitedWillers v Joyce and Another (Re: Gubay (Deceased) No 2) SC 20-Jul-2016
The Court was asked whether and in what circumstances a lower court may follow a decision of the Privy Council which has reached a different conclusion from that of the House of Lords (or the Supreme Court or Court of Appeal) on an earlier occasion. . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Litigation Practice, Constitutional, Income Tax

Updated: 02 June 2022; Ref: scu.186956