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Costs and access to justice before the Tribunals

The Costs Review Group has recommended changes to ‘costs-shifting’ rules in the Tribunals in order to improve access to justice. Consideration of compulsory cost-sharing between taxpayers in class actions against HMRC was regrettably outside the scope of the Group's brief.

The Group's first key recommendation which affects tax is the removal of mandatory costs-shifting (ie the loser pays the winner's costs) in appeals to the Upper Tribunal. Instead it recommends:

  • that taxpayers should be able to opt out of costs-shifting before the Upper Tribunal where there was no possibility of costs-shifting below – ie cases allocated in the First-tier Tribunal as Default Paper Basic or Standard; and
  • ...

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