The Upper Tribunal has overturned a decision of the First-tier Tribunal which had given a taxpayer privacy over all preliminary proceedings for an open-ended period and without having produced any evidence of harm or prejudice.
As the UT observed:
“The practical effect… has been that the taxpayer has been able to avoid the open justice principle for all preliminary proceedings for over two years, without any consideration being given to his reasons for seeking privacy or anonymity.”
The decision is an important reminder for advisers that clients will be highly unlikely to maintain anonymity in the tribunal. Any application should be made with strong supporting grounds and cogent evidence.
Note: the decision remains anonymised pending appeal.