Tuesday, 25 September 2012

UK: Supreme Court hearings in the Michaelmas term

Details of the cases to be heard by the Supreme Court in the Michaelmas term, which begins next week, were published yesterday: see here (pdf). Three cases in particular stand out.

The first, the hearing for which begins on November 6, will see the court consider an appeal from a decision of the Court of Appeal given two years ago: Prudential Plc & Anor, R (on the application of) v Special Commissioner of Income Tax & Ors [2010] EWCA Civ 1094. The issue for the Supreme Court, as explained in its case summary, is whether communications between accountants and their clients are subject to legal professional privilege at common law where advice is given in respect of tax law. The Court of Appeal held that this privilege did not apply.

In the second hearing, starting on November 12 and lasting for three days, the court will hear an appeal from the Court of Appeal decision in VTB Capital Plc v Nutritek International Corp. [2012] EWCA Civ 808. The issue for the court, as stated in its case summary, is this: where a person uses a puppet company to enter a contract with a third party in order to perpetrate fraud on that third party, can the court pierce the corporate veil and treat that person as a party to the contract? The Court of Appeal held that such a person could not be made party to the contract.

A month later, starting on December 10, the court has set aside a couple of days to hear an appeal from the Court of Appeal decision in Digital Satellite Warranty Cover Ltd v The Financial Services Authority [2011] EWCA Civ 1413. The issue identified for consideration in the court's case summary is this: are extended warranties provided for television equipment 'contracts of general insurance' as defined by Article 3 of the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000 (Regulated Activities) Order 2001? The Court of Appeal held that they were.

Note: A live video stream of Supreme Court proceedings is available here.

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