The Court of Appeal (Whipple LJ, Newey LJ and Asplin LJ) has dismissed a classification appeal brought by Build-a-Bear concerning HMRC’s charging of customs duty on products imported into the United Kingdom. The key issue turned on whether items of clothing sold by the company to be used with its bears and dolls were parts and accessories of dolls, or parts and accessories of toys. The determination of that question was, overall, worth a significant amount of money to the relevant company and HMRC, but also involved important issues of customs law.
In its detailed judgment the Court of Appeal found for HMRC, bringing significant clarity to this area. HMRC were represented by Owain Thomas QC and Paul Reynolds. Owain had successfully represented HMRC before the Upper Tribunal and First Tier Tribunal, leading Paul in the Upper Tribunal.