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The challenges of multi-party litigation

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The recent NAO report highlighted some 41,000 unresolved tax disputes, many of which involve common issues of law and fact. The First-tier Tribunal rules include a formal procedure for resolving common issues via a lead case, the result of which is then binding on other cases which sign up to the process (rule 18). However, there are various challenges to using that procedure and indeed it has been used fewer than 20 times since its introduction. Adaptation of the rule 18 procedures and practices to adopt some of the positive aspects of the group litigation order process could make the litigation process more effective.

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