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Court of Appeal Clarifies Scope of Reg. 38(7)

George Mackenzie

The Court of Appeal has clarified the scope and operation of reg. 38(7) of the Valuation Tribunal for England (Council Tax and Rating Appeals) (Procedure) Regulations 2009 in two conjoined appeals from the Upper Tribunal (Lands Chamber). 

The Avison Young appeal concerned office premises which were subject to a scheme of reconstruction between 1 September 2014 and 23 January 2015. During the works the premises were incapable of beneficial occupation and were not a hereditament. The ratepayer made a proposal seeking a reduction in RV with effect from 1 September 2014 but did not agree that the proposal should be “end dated” so as to show the correct RV with effect from 1 January 2015 but extending only to 23 January 2015. 

The Valuation Tribunal and, on appeal, the Lands Tribunal ordered that the premises’ RV was reduced to £1 for the period 1 January 2014 – 23 September 2015, i.e. for the duration of the scheme of reconstruction. The tribunals held that they had the power to “end date” an MCC proposal so as to order that the list be altered to reflect the duration of the circumstances giving rise to the list alteration. 

The ratepayer’s appeal to the Court of Appeal was dismissed. In particular, the ratepayer argued that reg. 38(7) was only available in a case where both during and after the relevant MCC, the hereditament remained the same hereditament that it was before the MCC. The Court of Appeal disagreed and held, for a variety of reasons, that reg. 38(7) could not be read in the manner contended for by the ratepayer.

George Mackenzie was instructed by HMRC Solicitors and acted for the Valuation Officer in the Lands Tribunal and the Court of Appeal. A copy of the judgment can be found here