In 2012, Section 199(3) of the Finance Act removed VAT relief known as Low Value Consignment Relief (“LVCR”). Jersey Choice Limited (“JCL”), a Jersey-registered company that grows horticultural products in Jersey and sells them to UK customers by mail order, brought a Francovich damages claim against His Majesty’s Treasury. JCL claimed that the withdrawal of the LVCR breached its EU law rights on the basis that the charge levied on JCL’s imports following the removal of LVCR amounted to a customs charge, or was in breach of JCL’s fundamental EU law rights. JCL claimed losses in excess of £15 million.

His Majesty’s Treasury struck out the claim before the High Court, which was upheld by the Court of Appeal. The Supreme Court unanimously dismissed JCL’s further appeal, finding that there were no reasonable grounds for the claim: the charge did not amount to a customs charge but, rather, was VAT, and that no other principles of EU law arose.

Amy Mannion represented His Majesty’s Treasury throughout, instructed by HMRC and led by Jessica Simor KC (Matrix Chambers).

The Supreme Court judgment can be found here and press summary here.