Supreme Court unanimously dismissed Jersey Choice Ltd appeal


Photo by Francais on Unsplash

In 2012, Section 199(3) of the Finance Act removed VAT relief known as Low Value Consignment Relief (“LVCR”). Jersey Choice Limited (“JCL”), a Jersey-registered company that grows horticultural products in Jersey and sells them to UK customers by mail order, brought a Francovich damages action against His Majesty’s Treasury. JCL claimed that the removal of the LVCR breached its EU law rights on the basis that the resulting charge levied on JCL’s imports following the removal of LVCR (but not levied on imports from other territories like the Channel Islands, i.e., those in the EU customs area but outside the EU VAT area) amounted to a customs charge, constituted unequal treatment, or was otherwise in breach of JCL’s fundamental EU law rights and had caused it losses in excess of £15 million.

His Majesty’s Treasury struck out the claim before the High Court, which was upheld in part by the Court of Appeal. The Supreme Court unanimously dismissed JCL’s further appeal, finding that the charge did not amount to a customs charge but, rather, was VAT and that no other principles of EU law arose.

Aidan O’Neill KC and Nicholas Gibson represented Jersey Choice Limited, instructed by CJ Jones Solicitors LLP.

Jessica Simor KC and Amy Mannion (Crown Office Row) represented His Majesty’s Treasury, instructed by HMRC.

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