Injunctions against Innocent bystanders
Sloane Street is lined with the outlets of retail brands. They own trade marks. They face competition from cheap imitations sold on the internet through web sites with addresses which change. No-one knows who the sellers are, or where they are. Their identity is concealed. No effective injunction can be obtained against them. The imitated brands obtained internet blocking injunctions against BT and other service providers requiring them to block access to identified web sites and addresses to which they migrate. At first instance and in the Court of Appeal the internet service providers resisted the injunctions because they committed no wrong and were entirely innocent. The case went to the Supreme Court on who should pay the expenses of implementing the injunctions.
Injunctions are granted for a purpose. The injunction jurisdiction rests on current policy. The Mareva injunction is a consequence of use of off shore companies, banks accounts and trust structures. The decisions in the time of Queen Victoria which denied Mareva jurisdiction were founded on policy which became out dated and unjust.
The internet blocking injunction is granted against the third parties to protect a copyright or trade mark right, and to promote the due administration of justice when no effective order can be made against the wrongdoer. The expenses of implementing them must be borne by the claimant and not imposed on the innocent party.
The same principles apply to cases, whether about Intellectual Property or not. Injunctions cannot and do not depend on case law on the limits to the jurisdiction exercised by the old High Court of Chancery over disclosure of documents in the time of Charles Dickens. That jurisdiction was not available against the innocent bystander, a mere witness. In Victorian England there was no internet. Times have changed.
The jurisdiction to grant injunctions against innocent bystanders is considered in The Jurisdiction to Grant Injunctions against Innocent Third Parties, published in The European Intellectual Property Review Volume 40 Issue 9 2018 , p 571, Steven Gee QC.
The End is Nigh for the Non-Dom Regime
Published in ThoughtLeaders4 Private Client Magazine, Helen McGhee expert analysis of the current state of non-dom tax regime and it's future.
HMRC Makes Changes to COP9
On 14 June 2023, HMRC published a substantially rewritten Code of Practice 9 (“COP9”). Helen McGhee and Megan Durnford set out the key changes implemented as a result of this publication.
Pandora Papers: HMRC issues nudge letters
The Pandora Papers leak of almost 12m documents back in 2021 purportedly exposed the secret accounts and dealings (including potential tax evasion/ avoidance and money laundering) of 35 world leaders (including the late HM Elizabeth II), as well as many politicians and billionaires. The data was obtained by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists in Washington DC and led to one of the biggest ever global financial investigations.
Increased Investment in Personal Tax Compliance in the UK (Published in Thought Leaders 4 Private Client)
Advances in technology and increased international fiscal co-operation have made global personal tax compliance initiatives pop up in abundance in recent years. To compound the issue, the Russian invasion of Ukraine and the corresponding economic fallout prompted domestic governments to increase transparency in relation to investments held by wealthy foreign individuals (with a focus on oligarchs).
In the UK, in the context of the cost-of-living crisis, public opinion certainly seems to be in favour of increased accountability for high-net-worth individuals (eg, on 9 October 2022, 63% of Britons surveyed thought that “the rich are not paying enough and their taxes should be increased”).1
HMRC is one of the most sophisticated tax collection authorities in the world and the department is making significant investments in technology in the field of compliance work; they are well placed to take advantage of new international efforts to increase tax compliance, particularly considering the already extensive network of 130 bilateral tax treaties in the UK (the largest in the world).2 The UK was also a founding member of the OECD’s Joint International Taskforce on Shared Intelligence and Collaboration (JITSIC) forum.
This article discusses the main developments in support of the increased focus on international transparency and personal tax compliance in the UK. There are other international fiscal initiatives, particularly in the field of corporate taxation, but such initiatives are beyond the scope of this article.
It should be noted that a somewhat piecemeal approach, with constant tinkering makes compliance difficult for the taxpayer and is often criticised for lacking the certainty that a stable tax system needs to thrive.
This article was first published with ThoughtLeaders4 Private Client Magazine
Tax-Related Measures in the Autumn Statement 2022
On 17 November 2022, the Rt Hon Jeremy Hunt MP, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, unveiled the contents of the Autumn Budget 2022. This comes after the International Monetary Fund (IMF) published its world economic forecast on 11 October 2022. The IMF expects the British economy to grow 3.6% in 2022 and 0.3% in 2023. Other major developed economies are also expected to stagnate next year, namely Spain (1.2%), the US (1.0%), France (0.7%), Italy (-0.2%) and Germany (-0.3%).
This note focuses on tax measures included as part of that statement.