Mark Mullen appeared for HM Revenue and Customs on its application for summary judgment in a claim brought by Emma Hope, a well-known shoe designer. By her claim, Ms Hope sought to set aside concluded proceedings, alleging fraud on the part of HMRC in those proceedings, and sought damages for misfeasance in public office, breach of statutory duty and breach of duty at common law.
Mr Registrar Briggs gave summary judgment in favour of HMRC, holding that there was a ‘failure at any level’ to demonstrate ‘conscious and deliberate dishonesty’ or any concealment of relevant matters by HMRC. Similarly, there were no grounds for a claim for misfeasance in public office and Ms Hope was estopped from challenging facts already found in the earlier proceedings. There was no breach of a statutory duty enforceable by Ms Hope arising from the requirement of section 73 Value Added Tax Act 1994 that an HMRC officer must exercise ‘best judgment’ in raising an assessment to tax, nor was there any voluntary assumption of responsibility giving rise to a duty at common law.