Neil Martin Ltd v HMRC [2007] EWCA Civ 1041

Michael Kent QC was leading counsel for the Revenue in this important case, in which judgment was handed down today, concerning the potential liability of HM Revenue and Customs for alleged errors in carrying out statutory functions: Neil Martin Ltd v HMRC [2007] EWCA Civ 1041. The Court held that no action lay for breach of statutory duty in relation to the processing and issuing of Construction Industry Tax deduction certificates and further that the Revenue owed no duty of care at common law in respect of administrative tasks undertaken in relation to those statutory functions. The Claimant company was however entitled to damages for a short period of delay on the limited basis that this was attributable to an act of commission rather than omission by an official who wrongly amended the company's application form. This amounted to an independent assumption of responsibility for which the Revenue was liable. This decision contributes to the growing jurisprudence relating to the liability of public authorities when carrying out statutory functions.

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