Source: All England Reporter
Publisher Citation: [2002] All ER (D) 498 (Jul)
Neutral Citation: [2002] EWHC 1630 (Admin)
Court: Divisional Court

Brooke LJ and Bell J

Representation Rhodri Thompson QC and Rabinder Singh QC (instructed by Richards Butler) for the claimants.
  David Anderson QC and Thomas De La Mare (instructed by the Solicitor for Customs and Excise) for Customs.
Judgment Dates: 31 July 2002


Customs and Excise - Duties - Imported goods - Goods imported from European Community - Customs operating intensive checks at entry ports - Customs requiring persons importing goods above a prescribed quantity to show goods not bought for commercial purposes - Whether Custom's procedures in accordance with Community law and European Convention on Human Rights - ss 141(b), 163 and 163A - Excise Duty (Personal Reliefs) Order 1992 - Council Directive EEC/92/12, arts 8, 9 - European Convention on Human Rights, art 6, First Protocol, art 1.

The Case

Policies and procedures adopted by HM Customs and Excise at Dover Hoverport in relation to the importation of goods bought in shops in the European Community having regard to the terms of the Excise Directive (EEC) 92-112 were unlawful in that the Excise Duty (Personal Reliefs) Order 1992 which was passed to enact that directive, and which laid down minimum indicate levels, wrongly reversed the burden of proof by requiring the individual to prove that he was not holding excise goods over the maximum allowed for commercial purposes, and because customs officers had to have reasonable grounds for suspecting an individual of having bought in goods for commercial purposes before they could lawfully stop and search him.

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