Case details

Routier and another (Appellants) v Commissioners for Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (Respondent)

Case ID: UKSC 2017/0190

Case summary


Whether a disposition to a charitable trust in a will subject to the law of Jersey should be exempt from inheritance tax under s. 23 of the Inheritance Tax Act 1984 and whether, if the disposition is held not to be so exempt in domestic law, this constitutes an unlawful restriction on the movement of capital under Article 63 TFEU.


On 9 October 2007 Mrs Beryl Coulter died in Jersey, and by her will she left her residuary estate on trust for either the building of homes for the elderly of the parish, or to an organisation called Jersey Hospice Care. Her will was drafted to be governed by the law of Jersey. Her executors (the Appellants) considered that the gift should be exempted from inheritance tax under s. 23 of the Inheritance Tax Act 1984 as it was for charitable purposes. HMRC however disagreed, and determined that the gift was liable to inheritance tax of approximately £600,000. The executors appealed this decision to the High Court, but the first-instance judge found for HMRC. It was held that for the exemption to apply required not only that the gift be for charitable purposes under UK law, but also that the relevant trust be subject to the jurisdiction of a UK court (which was not the case for Mrs Coulter’s trust). The Appellants appealed again, and this time were given permission to argue, additionally, that such a construction of s.23 constituted an unlawful restriction on the free movement of capital between Member States and third countries within the meaning of Article 63 TFEU. Such arguments were, however, unsuccessful before the Court of Appeal, and the Appellants now seek to appeal again to the Supreme Court.

Judgment appealed

[2017] EWCA Civ 1584


  1. Peter Routier
  2. Christine Ann Venables

(as Executors of the late Beryl Coulter)


Commissioners for Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs



Lady Hale, Lord Reed, Lord Carnwath, Lord Hodge, Lord Lloyd-Jones

Hearing start date

03 Apr 2019

Hearing finish date

03 Apr 2019