Total Network Sl v Customs and Excise Commissioners: CA 31 Jan 2007

The defendants suspected a carousel VAT fraud. The defendants appealed a finding that there was a viable cause of action alleging a ‘conspiracy where the unlawful means alleged is a common law offence of cheating the public revenue’. The defendants argued (inter alia) that the attempted recovery was void under the Billl of Rights.
Held: The revenue’s appeal failed. The claim was a proper claim for damages: ‘the crucial issue is to determine the nature of this claim in conspiracy. Assuming for the purpose of this argument that a claim in conspiracy does lie, then this is a claim for damages for a perfectly proper, well-recognised tort, the tort of conspiring together to defraud the claimant. That the measure of damages suffered by such a claimant may be measured by reference to the amount by which the Exchequer’s income is depleted does not in our view alter the essential character of the claim as one for damages, not as a levy of money for the use of the Crown without grant of Parliament. ‘ However, the Baldaz case, which was binding on the court, required the commissioners to establish an unlawful act actionable at their suit in order to pursue a claim for an unlawful means conspiracy. It had not done so.
Ward LJ, Chadwick LJ, Gage LJ
[2007] EWCA Civ 39, [2007] 2 WLR 1156
Bailii
Value Added Tax Act 1994 1, EC Sixth Council Directive on the harmonisation of the laws of the member States relating to turnover taxes (77/388/EEC) 28c(A)(a), Value Added Tax Regulations 1995 134
England and Wales
Citing:
CitedBond House Systems Ltd v Customs and Excise VDT 8-May-2003
The Tribunal described the general nature of a carousel fraud: ‘In its simplest form a carousel fraud works in this way. A VAT-registered trader, A, in one European Union member state sells taxable goods to a VAT-registered trader, B, in another . .
CitedOptigen Ltd, Fulcrum Electronics Ltd, Bond House Systems Ltd v Commissioners of Customs and Excise ECJ 12-Jan-2006
ECJ Sixth VAT Directive – Article 2(1), Article 4(1) and (2) and Article 5(1) – Deduction of input tax – Economic activity – Taxable person acting as such – Supply of goods – Transaction forming part of a chain . .
CitedOptigen Ltd, Fulcrum Electronics Ltd, Bond House Systems Ltd v Commissioners of Customs and Excise ECJ 12-Jan-2006
ECJ Sixth VAT Directive – Article 2(1), Article 4(1) and (2) and Article 5(1) – Deduction of input tax – Economic activity – Taxable person acting as such – Supply of goods – Transaction forming part of a chain . .
CitedOptigen Ltd, Fulcrum Electronics Ltd, Bond House Systems Ltd v Commissioners of Customs and Excise ECJ 12-Jan-2006
ECJ Sixth VAT Directive – Article 2(1), Article 4(1) and (2) and Article 5(1) – Deduction of input tax – Economic activity – Taxable person acting as such – Supply of goods – Transaction forming part of a chain . .
CitedLonhro plc v Fayed 19-Jul-1988
The plaintiff and defendant competed in bidding for a public company. The plaintiff having been restrained by the Secretary of State, alleged that the defendant had used a fraudulent misrepresentation to achieve this.
Held: It was not a tort . .
CitedAttorney-General v Wilts United Dairies Ltd CA 1921
The Food Controller had been given power under the Defence of the Realm Acts to regulate milk sales. In granting the dairy a licence to buy milk in Cornwall, Devon, Dorset and Somerset, the Food Controller required the Dairy to pay 2d. per imperial . .
CitedAttorney-General v Wilts United Dairies Ltd HL 1922
The House heard an appeal by the Attorney-General against a finding that an imposition of duty on milk sales was unlawful.
Held: The appeal failed. The levy was unlawful. Lord Buckmaster said: ‘Neither of those two enactments enabled the Food . .
CitedCongreve v Secretary of State for the Home Office CA 1976
The appellant had bought his television licence when the charge was andpound;12 although the minister had already announced that it would later be increased to andpound;18. The Home Office wrote to those who had purchased their licence before the . .
CitedGosling v Veley 1850
gosling_veley1850
Wilde CJ said: ‘The rule of law that no pecuniary burden can be imposed upon the subjects of this country, by whatever name it may be called, whether tax, due, rate, or toll, except under clear and distinct legal authority, established by those who . .
CitedCrofter Hand Woven Harris Tweed Company Limited v Veitch HL 15-Dec-1941
The plaintiffs sought an interdict against the respondents, a dockers’ union, who sought to impose an embargo on their tweeds as they passed through the port of Stornoway.
Held: A trade embargo was not tortious because the predominant purpose . .
CitedSorrell v Smith HL 1925
The plaintiff had struck the first blow in a commercial battle between the parties, and the defendant then defended himself, whereupon the plaintiff sued him.
Lord Cave quoted the French saying: ‘cet animal est tres mechant; quand on . .
CitedHargreaves v Bretherton 1959
The Plaintiff pleaded that the First Defendant police officer had falsely and maliciously and without justification or excuse committed perjury at the Plaintiff’s trial on charges of criminal offences and that as a result the Plaintiff had been . .
CitedMbasogo, President of the State of Equatorial Guinea and Another v Logo Ltd and others CA 23-Oct-2006
mbasogo_logoCA2006
The claimant alleged a conspiracy by the defendants for his overthrow by means of a private coup d’etat. The defendants denied that the court had jurisdiction. The claimants appealed dismissal of their claim to damages.
Held: The claims were . .
CitedWilliams v Hursey 1959
High Court of Australia – For an unlawful means conspiracy, the plaintiff must prove that the combination or agreement was to engage in conduct which amounted to unlawful means . .
CitedMarrinan v Vibart CA 1962
The court considered an action in the form an attempt to circumvent the immunity of a witness at civil law by alleging a conspiracy.
Held: The claim was rejected. The court considered the basis of the immunity from action given to witnesses. . .
CitedRe Holmden’s Settlement Trusts CA 1966
Lord Denning MR said: ‘I must, however, consider the statement of Lord Upjohn on the footing that it is one of two reasons which he gave for his decision. It is said that both reasons are binding on all courts in the land, including the House of . .
CitedRegina v Mavji CACD 1987
The court considered the offence of cheating the public revenue.
Held: Cheating might include any form of fraudulent conduct which resulted in diverting money from the revenue and depriving the revenue of money to which it was entitled. . .
Binding – AppliedPowell and Another v Boldaz and others CA 1-Jul-1997
The question was whether doctors owed a duty of care to the parents of their deceased son in relation to events which occurred after death when the parents were allegedly given misleading or false information by doctors.
Held: An unlawful act . .
CitedKuwait Oil Tanker Company SAK and Another v Al Bader and Others CA 18-May-2000
The differences between tortious conspiracies where the underlying acts were either themselves unlawful or not, did not require that the conspiracy claim be merged in the underlying acts where those acts were tortious. A civil conspiracy to injure . .
CitedMichaels and Michaels v Taylor Woodrow Developments Ltd, etc ChD 19-Apr-2000
The respondents sought to strike out the claim for conspiracy and failure to comply with the Act. The respondent was landlord of premises occupied by the claimants. They had served a notice under the Act of their intention to sell.
Held: The . .
CitedMorelle Ltd v Wakeling CA 1955
The plaintiff asserted ownership of leasehold land. A similar situation had arisen in an earlier case befoe the Court of appeal, and the court was asked to decide that that case had been decided per incuriam.
Held: The per incuriam principle . .
CitedWilliams v Fawcett CA 1985
The court was asked as to the requirement of a notice to show cause why a person should not be committed to prison for contempt of court.
Held: The court refused to follow its earlier decisions as to committal procedures where they were the . .
CitedDeutsche Morgan Grenfell Group Plc v Inland Revenue and Another HL 25-Oct-2006
The tax payer had overpaid Advance Corporation Tax under an error of law. It sought repayment. The revenue contended that the claim was time barred.
Held: The claim was in restitution, and the limitation period began to run from the date when . .
CitedGenerale Bank Nederland Nv (Formerly Credit Lyonnais Bank Nederland Nv) v Export Credit Guarantee Department CA 23-Jul-1997
The bank claimed that it had been defrauded, and that since an employee of the defendant had taken part in the fraud the defendant was had vicarious liability for his participation even though they knew nothing of it.
Held: Where A becomes . .

Cited by:
CitedTotal Network Sl v Revenue and Customs HL 12-Mar-2008
The House was asked whether an action for unlawful means conspiracy was available against a participant in a missing trader intra-community, or carousel, fraud. The company appealed a finding of liability saying that the VAT Act and Regulations . .

These lists may be incomplete.
Updated: 01 February 2021; Ref: scu.248324