The Upper Tribunal (“UT”) overturned the First-Tier Tribunal’s (“FtT”) decision that SAE Education Ltd (“SEL”) was an eligible body for the purposes of Note(1)(b) to Item 1 of Group 6 of Schedule 9 to the Value Added Tax Act 1994 (“VATA”). In my view, it is strongly arguable that the UT erred in doing so. The UT construed Note (1)(b) strictly. That provision should have been construed purposively, as SEL argued.
Following revelations by American whistleblower Edward Snowden (the former NSA employee and CIA contractor) regarding the extent of surveillance carried out by national authorities, Privacy International and seven Internet Service Providers (“ISPs”) launched a legal challenge against GCHQ’s alleged use of Computer Network Exploitation (“CNE”) and so-called “thematic” warrants under the Intelligence Services Act 1994 (“the ISA 1994”).
In a judgment handed down on 12 February 2016, the High Court dismissed a claim for abuse of dominance brought against Google Inc., Google Ireland Limited and Google UK Limited (“Google”) by online map provider Streetmap.EU. In doing so, the High Court held that where a pro-competitive innovation by a dominant company is alleged to have harmed competition on a related market, the effect on competition in that market must be serious or appreciable in order to constitute an abuse of dominance.
Article 132(1)(i) of the PVD requires the following supplies to be exempt from VAT:
the provision of children’s or young people’s education, school or university education, vocational training or retraining, including the supply of services and of goods closely related thereto, by bodies governed by public law having such as their aim or by other organisations recognised by the Member State concerned as having similar objects.
The Court of Appeal recently handed down judgment in an appeal concerning the Data Retention and Investigatory Powers Act 2014 (“DRIPA”). This piece of coalition government emergency legislation, which received royal assent on 17 July 2014, was challenged by MPs David Davis and Tom Watson, represented by Liberty. The judicial review concerned the Home Secretary’s powers to order the retention of communications data under section 1 of the Act. The Home Secretary appealed against the judgment of the Divisional Court ( EWHC 2092 (Admin)), which found section 1 of DRIPA to be contrary to the CJEU’s judgment in Joined Cases C/293/12 and C/594/12 Digital Rights Ireland Ltd and Seitlinger and Others (“Digital Rights Ireland”). The Divisional Court’s order disapplied section 1 with effect from March 2016. The Court of Appeal accepted, on a provisional basis, the Home Secretary’s argument that Digital Rights Ireland did not lay down mandatory requirements applicable to all Member States’ domestic data retention regimes, contrary to the Divisional Court’s interpretation. The Court of Appeal has decided to refer questions to the CJEU concerning the meaning of the Digital Rights Ireland judgment.
Article 3(5) of the Treaty on European Union (TEU) binds the Union to contribute ‘to the strict observance and the development of international law, including respect for the principles of the United Nations Charter‘. Does this provision have teeth and can it be used to support the rights of those outside the Union who are affected by EU acts? In an action brought before the UK courts, the Claimants seek to challenge the validity of two EU agreements with Morocco.
Conor McCarthy, led by Kieron Beal QC, is acting for the Claimant in this matter. They were instructed by Leigh Day.
In the most recent episode of Ryanair’s epic campaign to guard its territorial interests in Aer Lingus, the Competition Appeal Tribunal has ruled that there has been no “material change of circumstances” since the Competition Commission’s final report of 28 August 2013. The judgment provides insight into the meaning of “material change of circumstances” and makes it clear that, absent such a change, the competition authority does not need to carry out a fresh proportionality review of its remedy decision when taking a decision implementing the remedy under Section 41 of the Enterprise Act 2002.
It is perhaps apposite to say for a decision given on the first day of the Ashes Test cricket match, that the Supreme Court has bowled a googly in the Rank litigation. The outcome was determined by an argument neither party ran at any stage nor was picked up in the lower courts.
Edenred (UK Group) Limited (Appellants) and another v Her Majesty’s Treasury and others (Respondents)  UKSC 45, on appeal from  EWCA Civ 236: the Appellants unsuccessfully sought to prevent the modification of a public contract on the basis that it was in breach of EU procurement law
This appeal concerned a challenge to the decision by HM Treasury (‘HMT’) to use National Savings and Investments (‘NS&I’) to provide the necessary accounts services for HMRC to deliver the new government policy of tax-free childcare (‘TFC’). This required an amendment to a contract between NS&I and Atos IT Services Ltd (‘Atos’), NS&I having entered into an outsourcing contract for its own services with Atos in 2013. The Appellants argued that the proposed amendment of the contract between NS&I and Atos would involve the direct award of a public contract without a tender procedure contrary to EU and UK public procurement law. Each of the High Court, the Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court have held that there is no material variation of the existing public contract and no need for a further procurement process.
The concept of an “enterprise” has been at the heart of the UK’s idiosyncratic system of merger control from the passage of the Fair Trading Act in 1973 through to the present regime set out in the Enterprise Act 2002 (“EA02”). A consistent feature of the regime has been that it catches a transaction only if it involves two (or more) “enterprises” ceasing to be distinct. Leaving aside for present purposes the complexities of the notion of “ceasing to be distinct”, when a purchaser buys a collection of assets previously used to carry on a business, has it bought just a collection of assets, or has it bought an “enterprise”? If it has bought only assets, but not an “enterprise”, then the transaction lies outside the scope of UK merger control. So the question of what “enterprise” means is, often, a critical one on which turns the regulation of very major transactions.