Practice Pre-trial or post-judgment relief. In a group litigation against the Revenue and Customs Commissioners, the issue for consideration was whether the High Court should make a reference to the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) for a preliminary ruling on the question whether claims for cross-border group relief could in principle be made by UK-resident claimant companies at the relevant times in various forms of corporate group structure. The Chancery Division, in dismissing the application, held that the application was both premature and procedurally questionable and declined to refer the case to the CJEU.
Trade mark Infringement. The Chancery Division dismissed the claims by A & E Television Networks LLC and its associated company (AETN) against Discovery Communications Europe Ltd (Discovery) for: (i) passing off in respect of the use of the names 'HISTORY, 'THE HISTORY CHANNEL', and 'MILITARY HISTORY'; and (ii) trade mark infringement in respect of the United Kingdom word mark 'THE HISTORY CHANNEL', the Community word mark 'THE HISTORY CHANNEL' and the Community trade mark for a mark comprising the word 'HISTORY' and a device consisting of the letter 'H'. Having considered, inter alia, the relevant evidence generated from a witness collection exercise, the court decided that AETN had failed to establish any infringement of their trade marks and any passing off by Discoveryby the use of the word History in the title of Discovery's channel Disc or DiscoveryHistory.
Tax Appeal. The Upper Tribunal (Tax and Chancery Chamber) (the tribunal) allowed the appeal by the taxpayers against a decision of the First-tier Tribunal (Tax Chamber) (the FTT) in which the FTT had dismissed the taxpayers' application to debar the Revenue and Customs Commissioners (the Revenue) from taking further part in its tax appeal on the basis that any further participation in that appeal would amount to an abuse of process. The FTT had taken the view that where an application, as in the instant case, raised issues of abuse of process, the FTT had no jurisdiction to make the order sought. The tribunal decided that the FTT's decision had been based on a misunderstanding that the taxpayers' submissions had not included a submission that the events in question would prevent a fair hearing of their tax appeal. Having clarified, in the course of the appeal, that the taxpayers' case had included that submission, the FTT had had jurisdiction to deal with and determine that application.
*R (on the application of Prudential plc and another) v Special Commissioner of Income Tax and another
Privilege Legal professional privilege. The Supreme Court, in dismissing the claimant companies' appeals, held that legal advice privilege ought not to be extended to communications in connection with advice given by professional people other than lawyers, even where that advice was legal advice which that professional person was qualified to give.
Company Shareholders. The second defendant public company sought to re-register as a private limited company. The claimants, who claimed to be minority shareholders of the company but not registered shareholders, brought a claim against the defendants seeking an order for cancellation of the resolution for re-registration as a private company on the ground that they had an economic interest to exercise rights to claim under s98 of the . The defendants applied for summary judgment contending that the claimants had no standing to make the claim. The Chancery Division, in allowing the defendants' application, held that, on its true construction, s 98 of the Act did not apply to the holders of economic interest in shares and did not give unregistered minority shareholders a right to apply to the court for cancellation of a resolution to re-register a public company as a private limited company.
Income tax Company. The Court of Appeal, Civil Division, dismissed the taxpayers' appeal in respect of a decision by an officer of the Revenue and Customs Commissioners to refuse the taxpayers an extension of time to make claims for group relief to offset losses against profits. In the High Court the judge had rejected, inter alia, the taxpayers' contention that the Revenue's failure to notify them of the error in its claim ought to have been taken into account in their favour. The court found that the decision-maker had not erred in his reasoning or in the matters which he had taken, or not taken into account.
Practice Summary judgment. The claimant company sold the entire share capital in its subsidiary, Yeoman, to the defendant company, Pillar, for a sum payable on completion and a contingent consideration in respect of capital gains tax. Yeoman sought to set off part of its loss (the loss) against profits transferred to Yeoman by other companies in the Pillar Group. The Revenue and Customs (the Revenue) challenged Yeoman's entitlement to make any such set off but the matter was settled by a compromise agreement. Ardagh sought payment from Pillar of the contingent consideration and applied for summary judgment. The Chancery Division, in dismissing the application, held that it could not be concluded on an application for summary judgment that there had been an effective off set of all or any part of the loss so as to be able to identify the contingent consideration to be the sum as contended by Ardagh.
Capital gains tax tax avoidance scheme. The Upper Tribunal (Tax and Chancery Chamber) ruled on the meaning of various sub-paragraphs of s29 of the in the course of deciding whether certain discovery assessments made against three taxpayers after the closure of the enquiry window were valid in circumstances where the arrangements entered into by those taxpayers for capital gains tax purposes had failed to give rise to the anticipated capital losses.
Value added tax Overpayment of tax. The Revenue and Customs Commissioners (the Revenue) repaid overpaid VAT to the taxpayer company, claimed by a former member of its VAT group (Carlton). The Revenue sought to recover the repayment on the basis that it had properly been due to Carlton. The taxpayer appealed, claiming that, as the group representative, it was entitled to rely on Carlton's timeous claim. The First-tier Tribunal (Tax Chamber) held, inter alia, that whatever right the taxpayer might have had to receive the payments, that right had been removed by the disbandment of the VAT group.
European Union Taxation. The Court of Justice of the European Union made a preliminary ruling concerning the interpretation of arts 2, 4 and 8(1) and (2) of Council Directive (EEC) 90-434 (on the common system of taxation applicable to mergers, divisions, transfers of assets and exchanges of shares concerning companies of different Member States) in proceedings between 3DI Srl (3D) and the relevant Revenue authority concerning the latter's refusal to refund the substitute tax paid by 3D following an intraCommunity transfer of one of its branches of activity.