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Confidentiality not breached

10 April 2015
Issue: 4496 / Categories: Tax cases , Dave Hartnett , human rights , Admin

Ingenious Media Holdings plc & another, Court of Appeal

Dave Hartnett was HMRC’s permanent secretary for tax in July 2012 when he met two Times reporters. He believed he was off the record and claimed a financial services provider marketed avoidance schemes. The newspaper published the allegations.

The company sought judicial review on the ground that the tax department boss had breached Revenue and Customs Act 2005 s 18 (confidentiality) as well as European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) articles eight (right to privacy) and one (specifically protocol one (enjoyment of possessions)).

The judge dismissed the application saying Hartnett had not breached the law HMRC guidance or the ECHR.

The claimant and a connected party appealed.

Court of Appeal judge Robin Jacob took a wide view of how s 18 should be interpreted. He said the Revenue should be free to make a factually correct disclosure that did not involve the...

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