CASE SUMMARIES 14 July 1997

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The following notes of judgments were prepared by the reporters of the All England Law Reports.

VAT

Customs & Excise Commrs v Redrow Group plc; CA (Simon Brown LJ, Peter Gibson LJ, McCullough J) 9 June 1997.

Redrow could not recover, as input tax, tax paid on estate agents' fees which had been paid on behalf of purchasers of Redrow homes when they had sold their previous homes. The direct recipient of the agents' services had been the purchasers, and since the sale of Redrow homes had neither a direct and immediate link, nor had been objectively linked, to the supply the services had been supplied to the purchasers and not to Redrow.

Dr Paul Lasok QC, Melanie Hall (C&E Solicitor) for Customs & Excise; Richard Bramwell QC (Redrow Group Services) for Redrow.

Capital Gains Tax

Couch (Inspector of Taxes) v Caton's Administrators; CA (Stuart-Smith LJ, Morritt LJ, Schiemann LJ) 19 June 1997.

Deductible valuation costs under s 32(2)(b) of the Capital Gains Tax Act 1979 (now s 38(2)(b) of the Taxation of Chargeable Gains Act 1992) extended only to the initial valuation carried out in order to comply with the requirement for making a return. The costs incurred in disputing and appealing against the Revenue's valuation of unquoted shares for Capital Gains Tax purposes were, therefore, not allowable as a deduction in computing a chargeable gain on the disposal of the shares.

Launcelot Henderson QC (Inland Revenue Solicitor) for the Crown; William Massey (Brooke North & Goodwin, Leeds) for the taxpayer.

Rent review

St Martins Property Investments Ltd v CIB Properties & anor; ChD (Judge Gilliland QC) 17 June 1997.

A rent review at open market value which was to be assessed on the basis of a hypothetical lease "For a term equal in duration to the original term hereby granted . . ." was not to be assessed on the basis that the hypothetical lease was to be for a term equal to the term in the lease. The hypothetical lease was to be for the residue of the term in the lease because the words "original term" could be construed as meaning 35 years from the date of the commencement of the lease, not simply 35 years.

Hazel Williamson QC (Stephenson Harwood) for the plaintiff; Kin Lewison QC (Freshfields) for the defendants.

National Trust

National Trust for Places of Historic Interest or Natural Beauty v Ashbrook & ors; ChD (Lindsay J) 20 June 1997.

On the true construction of s 29 of the National Trust Act 1907 and s 23 of the National Trust Act 1971, and subject (i) to its bona fide appearing to the National Trust to be desirable for the purpose of providing or improving opportunities for the enjoyment of the property by the public and in the interests of persons resorting thereto within s 23(1); and (ii) to the consent of the Secretary of State for the Environment being duly obtained under s 23(2) where access by the public to any such property would thereby be prevented or impeded, the National Trust had power to carry out fencing, walling or similar works intended to stand for a long time on the whole or any part of any trust property to which s 29 applied, whether or not the same enclosed such property.

Sheila Cameron QC, Frank Hinks (Winkworth & Pemberton) for the plaintiff; David Ainger (Brook North & Goodwin, Leeds) for the defendants.

Consumer law

London Borough of Southwark v Time Computer Systems Ltd; QBD Div Ct (Henry LJ, Gage J) 7 July 1997.

When considering whether an advertisement in a brochure contained in a specialised computer magazine contained a false trade description, the test to be used was that of the reasonable customer seeking to buy a sophisticated piece of equipment through the particular trade medium, looking at the information contained in the brochure as a whole.

Philip Galway Cooper (Council Solicitor) for the appellant; Matthew Smith (Donald Race & Newton, Colne) for the respondent.

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