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HMRC internal manual

Compliance Handbook

Information & Inspection Powers: Conditions and safeguards: Human Rights Act: Article 6

Article 6 of the European Convention on Human Rights (the right to a fair trial in relation to civil rights and obligations, and criminal charges) is sometimes also referred to as a “right to silence”.

The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) has held that ascertaining tax liability is not a “determination of civil rights and obligations” for the purpose of Article 6 of the Convention [see Ferrazzini v Italy, ECHR 44759/98, 12 July 2001].

As the determination of tax liability is not within Article 6, neither are the procedural steps, such as information or inspection notices used to decide such liability.

A person cannot rely on Article 6 to protect their refusal to comply with an information notice or inspection on the grounds that it infringes their right to silence.

You can find the full text of Article 6 on the HRA intranet site.