Banks v Revenue and Customs Commissioners  UKFTT 617 (TC) – read judgment
Donations made by Arron Banks to the United Kingdom Independence Party (‘UKIP’) are subject to a tax regime which discriminates against the donor on grounds of his political opinion, the First-Tier Tribunal (Tax Chamber) has found.
Mr Banks and companies controlled by him donated £976,781.38 to UKIP between 7th October 2014 and 31st March 2015.
As the donations constituted ‘transfers of value’ within s.3 of the Inheritance Tax Act 1984 (‘IHTA’), they attract a payment of inheritance tax unless a relevant exemption applies.
Section 24 of the IHTA provides for an exemption for gifts to political parties where at the last general election preceding the transfer of value in the following circumstances:
(a) Two members of that party were elected to the House of Commons, or
(b) One members of that party was elected to the House of Commons and not less than 150,000 votes were given to candidates who were members of that party.
The fact that UKIP failed to have any MPs elected from its ranks on 6th May 2010 meant that, on the face of s.24, Mr Banks’s donations could not fall within the exemption.
The mother of a British soldier who was killed in a roadside bomb while on duty in Iraq has received an apology from Defence Secretary Sir Michael Fallon. Sue Smith’s son, Pte Phillip Hewett, died while travelling on patrol in a lightly armoured “snatch” Land Rover in July 2005.
Following a settlement of the case, Sir Michael has written to Ms Smith:
“I would like to express directly to you my deepest sympathies and apologise for the delay, resulting in decisions taken at the time in bringing into service alternative protected vehicles which could have saved lives.”
What did Ms Smith allege?
The circumstances around Pte Hewett’s death have been the subject of litigation for the last 6 years.
It has been widely reported that Theresa May will stay on as Prime Minister following the election on June 8th. The Conservative PM will seek to form a government with the support of the Democratic Unionist Party (the DUP).
A recent Round-Up by Poppy Rimington-Pounder highlighted some welcome changes in the parties’ approaches to human rights in the pre-election manifestos. With the recent shift in political climate it seems that changes may be on the horizon.
What does the election result mean for human rights?
The Court of Appeal last week partially granted an application for judicial review of the cuts to Legal Aid in certain categories of prison law. The judgment may change the face of legal representation for prisoners across the UK.
The Labour MP Harriet Harman has proposed a change in the law that would prevent rape complainants from being cross-examined in court about their sexual history.
Harman claims that the introduction of a complainant’s sexual history as evidence has “no evidential value.” Describing the practice as “outdated”, Harman said that “it’s based on the old notion that there were two sorts of women – those who were ‘easy’ and those who were virtuous – and if you were easy, you would have sex with anybody, because you were that sort of woman.”
The Investigatory Powers Act 2016 is set to become law in the United Kingdom following its passing of the third stage of legislative scrutiny earlier this month. The Act seeks to consolidate and amend the legislative framework which governs the use of investigatory powers, including the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000 (RIPA). It is expected to receive royal assent by the end of 2016.
The rights of people with disabilities in the UK have come under scrutiny recently by both the Supreme Court and a UN Committee. On 9th November, the Supreme Court handed down judgment in a case concerning the ‘bedroom tax’. This judgment comes days after the UN Committee on Rights of Persons with Disabilities criticised the UK’s treatment of people with disabilities under recent welfare reforms, finding “grave and systematic violations of the rights of persons with disabilities.”
The oversight of the conduct of British soldiers in Iraq has been subject of two recent developments. The first is political, as Prime Minister Theresa May has renewed criticism of investigations into allegations of criminal behaviour of British troops. The second is legal, with the Court of Appeal offering clarification as to the role of the ECHR in conflicts abroad. However, comments by Defence Secretary Michael Fallon have since thrown into doubt the future role of the ECHR in conflicts abroad.
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