Case details

OWD Ltd trading as Birmingham Cash and Carry (in Liquidation) and another (Appellants) v Commissioners for Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (Respondent)

Case ID: UKSC 2017/0157

Case summary

Issue(s)
  1. Whether HMRC have the power to allow an alcohol wholesaler, who HMRC have identified as unfit to operate in the industry, to continue to trade lawfully on a temporary basis while the wholesaler is awaiting the outcome of their appeal against HMRC’s decision.
  2. Whether the High Court is entitled to grant interim relief to enable such an alcohol wholesaler to continue to trade lawfully while they are awaiting the outcome of their appeal against HMRC’s decision.
Facts

This case concerns two linked appeals from the same Court of Appeal decision - one brought by HMRC, and the other brought by OWD Limited (t/a Birmingham Cash and Carry), Budge Brands Limited and Hollandwest Limited (together, the "Applicants"). The Applicants were alcohol wholesalers but, following the introduction of a new Part 6A to the Alcoholic Liquor Duties Act 1979, they have been refused approval by HMRC to continue trading. This was on the basis that they were not fit and proper people to operate in the industry. The Applicants exercised their right of appeal to the First-tier Tribunal against this decision, and simultaneously sought temporary approval from HMRC to allow them to continue trading until the outcome of their appeal was known. Otherwise, so they argued, their businesses would fail before the appeal could be heard.

HMRC said they had no power to grant such temporary approval, so the Applicants applied to the High Court for judicial review of HMRC’s refusal to accede to their request, and to compel HMRC to register them as approved as a temporary measure pending the outcome of their appeal. This application was refused at first instance in two separate hearings, but was allowed by the Court of Appeal on a limited basis. Both parties are now appealing to the Supreme Court as they each disagree with different elements of that decision.

Judgment appealed

[2017] EWCA Civ 956

Parties

Appellant(s)

The Commissioners for Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs.

Respondent(s)
  1. OWD Limited trading as Birmingham Cash and Carry (in Liquidation)
  2. Budge Brands Limited and Hollandwest Limited

Appeal

Justices

Lord Reed, Lord Sumption, Lord Carnwath, Lady Black, Lord Briggs

Hearing start date

12 Jun 2018

Hearing finish date

12 Jun 2018