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HMRC internal manual

Appeals reviews and tribunals guidance

First tier and Upper Tribunals: Outcome of the tribunal: Groups of related cases: Finalising cases

Where the tribunal has given directions identifying a lead case(s) and stayed cases, the cases will have related issues which are the subject of the lead case litigation. However, each case will also involve individual liabilities based on that legal argument.

When the tribunal makes a decision in relation to the part of the lead case or cases that is relevant to the related issues it must send a copy of the decision to each party in each related case. When the tribunals caseworker receives the decision on the lead case they are responsible for making sure that the decision is notified to the decision makers for the stayed related cases in line with their role as single point of contact for the group of related cases, see ARTG8556. They will also need to liaise with technical/policy specialists and Solicitor’s Office, as appropriate so that HMRC’s position following the tribunal decision is decided and the content of the communication agreed.

A combination of common issues and individual variations will be a normal feature of many appeals suitable for lead case procedures.

Rule 18 directions

Rule 18 reflects the possibility of cases where some matters are common to all and some are particular to individual cases: it provides that the tribunal will make a decision “in respect of the common or related issues” and for further steps in the related cases. In principle it is possible for case-specific issues arising in individual appeals to remain live, even if the decision on the common issues is accepted. The tribunal must give directions in respect of the stayed cases providing for the disposal of these cases or for further steps to be taken to resolve them, as appropriate (Rule 18(3) and (5)).

Pending the outcome of the litigation the decision maker may not have agreed the detailed calculations of each individual’s tax liability. If the legal point in the lead case is decided in the customer’s favour we will need to consider how the decided points apply to the calculations of their liability. So it is possible that once the legal point is decided there may be additional arguments about those calculations.

Once the legal point in the lead case is decided, it is possible that further work may be necessary to quantify the amount due or payable, and additional disputes may arise in this context.

Rule 5 directions

Following the outcome of the lead case(s), it is for the customers in the stayed cases to decide, in light of the decision, whether they wish to pursue their appeal with the tribunal or to initiate discussions with HMRC with a view to reaching a settlement of the dispute.