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Legal 500, 2018

03 April 2020

R (oao Zeeman and Murphy) v HMRC; (High Court)

On 3 April 2020, the High Court (Mrs Justice Andrews) handed down judgment in R (oao Zeeman & Murphy) v HMRC. The claimants had sought a declaration of incompatibility under s. 4 HRA 1998 in respect of the loan charge introduced by Finance (No.2) Act 2017 in respect of employed and self-employed individuals. This was on the grounds that this legislation constituted a disproportionate interference with their rights under Article 1 Protocol 1 to the ECHR to the peaceful enjoyment of their possessions.  Both claims were dismissed. The Court found that the claimants did not have a “possession” for the purposes of A1P1 but if they had done so, the loan charge did not interfere with A1P1 rights and its introduction was well within the margin of appreciation given to member states.

Sadiya Choudhury, led by Sir James Eadie QC, acted for HMRC.

This is the second time the High Court has dismissed a challenge to the loan charge as originally enacted under human rights legislation. The government has already announced that the legislation will be amended following the recommendations of the independent loan charge review in December 2019.

To see the approved Decision, click here.