Ingenious Media Holdings Plc and Another, Regina (on The Application of) v Revenue and Customs: SC 19 Oct 2016

The tax payer complained that the Permanent Secretary for Tax had, in an off the record briefing disclosed tax details regarding a film investment scheme. Despite the off the record basis, details were published in a newspaper. His claims had been rejected at first instance and at the court of appeal.
Held: The taxpayer’s appeal succeeded. The approach should have been within the law of confidence. The information provided was confidential. The schemes at issue were of the past, and disclosure could not assist their prevention, and ‘a general desire to foster good relations with the media or to publicise HMRC’s views about elaborate tax avoidance schemes cannot possibly justify a senior or any other official of HMRC discussing the affairs of individual tax payers with journalists.’
‘ It is a cardinal error to suppose that the public law remedies and principles associated with judicial review of the exercise of administrative power, developed by the common law from the ancient prerogative writs, occupy the entire field whenever the party whose conduct is under challenge holds a public position. It is important to emphasise that public bodies are not immune from the ordinary application of the common law, including in this case the law of confidentiality. The common law is multi-faceted and remains the bedrock of the English legal system.’


Lady Hale, Deputy President, Lord Mance, Lord Kerr, Lord Reed, Lord Toulson


[2016] UKSC 54, [2017] 1 All ER 95, [2016] BTC 41, [2016] WLR(D) 540, [2016] STC 2306, [2016] 1 WLR 4164, [2016] STI 2746, UKSC 2015/0082


Bailii, Bailii Summary, WLRD, SC, SC Summary


Commissioners for Revenue and Customs Act 2005 18


England and Wales


At CAIngenious Media Holdings Plc and Another, Regina (on The Application of) v Revenue and Customs CA 4-Mar-2015
The claimant sought judicial review of the disclosure, off the record by an officer of the defendant to a journalist, of confidential materials as to their investigation of his involvement in a film investment scheme. The claim had been rejected by . .
CitedRegina v Inland Revenue Commissioners, ex parte the National Federation of Self-Employed and Small Businesses Ltd HL 9-Apr-1981
Limitations on HMRC discretion on investigation
The Commissioners had been concerned at tax evasion of up to 1 million pounds a year by casual workers employed in Fleet Street. They agreed with the employers and unions to collect tax in the future, but that they would not pursue those who had . .
CitedRegina v Inland Revenue Commission ex parte Preston; In re Preston HL 1984
Duty of Fairness to taxpayer – Written Assurance
The applicant was assured by the Inland Revenue that it would not raise further inquiries on certain tax affairs if he agreed to forgo interest relief which he had claimed and to pay a certain sum in capital gains tax.
Held: Where the . .
CitedMarcel v Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis CA 1992
A writ of subpoena ad duces tecum had been issued requiring the production by the police for use in civil proceedings of documents seized during a criminal fraud investigation. The victim of the fraud needed them to pursue his own civil case.
CitedRe Arrows Ltd No 4 HL 1995
The Court of Appeal had allowed an appeal from the judge who had directed that the transcripts of examinations of a director of an insolvent company under section 236 on the Director of the Serious Fraud Office undertaking that the transcripts would . .
Ar First InstanceIngenious Media Holdings Plc and Another, Regina (on The Application of) v HM Revenue and Customs Admn 25-Oct-2013
Application for judicial review of a decision of the Defendants acting by one of their most senior officials to disclose information relating to the claimants in an ‘off the record’ briefing with two journalists.
Held: The request for judicial . .
CitedW v Egdell CA 1990
The plaintiff was detained in a secure mental hospital, under a hospital order coupled with a restriction order, after pleading guilty to manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility. The defendant, a consultant psychiatrist, was engaged . .
CitedRegina v Secretary of State for The Home Department Ex Parte Simms HL 8-Jul-1999
Ban on Prisoners talking to Journalists unlawful
The two prisoners, serving life sentences for murder, had had their appeals rejected. They continued to protest innocence, and sought to bring their campaigns to public attention through the press, having oral interviews with journalists without . .
CitedMcKennitt and others v Ash and Another QBD 21-Dec-2005
The claimant sought to restrain publication by the defendant of a book recounting very personal events in her life. She claimed privacy and a right of confidence. The defendant argued that there was a public interest in the disclosures.
Held: . .
CitedThe Public Law Project, Regina (on The Application of) v Lord Chancellor SC 13-Jul-2016
Proposed changes to the Legal Aid regulations were challenged as being invalid, for being discriminatory. If regulations are not authorised under statute, they will be invalid, even if they have been approved by resolutions of both Houses under the . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Taxes Management, Information, Intellectual Property, Taxes Management, Judicial Review

Updated: 18 May 2022; Ref: scu.570160