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Claim for in-house non-legally qualified officer

19 August 2019
Issue: 4709 / Categories: Tax cases
J Walsh (TC7178)

After an appeal before the Upper Tribunal in which HMRC was largely successful the department applied for costs of £13 576 in principle. The taxpayer objected on the ground that the costs related largely to the time of an HMRC officer who was not a qualified lawyer. Their view was that the department was not entitled to claim for non-legally qualified in-house advisers. 

HMRC cited Re Eastwood (deceased) [1975] Ch 112 concerning the costs of in-house lawyers saying the officer was ‘a fee earner of equivalent experience’ to a solicitor. The taxpayer considered the case applied only to qualified solicitors.

The First-tier Tribunal said that while non-legally qualified individuals had no rights of audience in the courts this was not the case in a tribunal. It followed that the Eastwood principle that in-house time should be assessed would ‘apply as much to an in-house non-legally qualified representative as...

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