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FTT welcomes alternative dispute resolution

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The President of the FTT Tax Chamber, Judge Sinfield, has issued a practice statement setting out the tribunal’s revised practice where the parties want to engage in alternative dispute resolution (ADR) after an appeal has been lodged with the tribunal.

The statement notes that the tribunal will usually be willing to stay proceedings (normally for up to 150 days) to allow for the use of ADR ‘at any stage of the proceedings, including after HMRC has served its statement of case or the parties have exchanged lists of documents or witness statements’. This is a change from previously established practice, where the tribunal would only accept applications for ADR after an appeal had been lodged and HMRC’s statement of case had been served in ‘exceptional circumstances’.

ADR can continue to be used before an appeal has been made to the tribunal. Deadlines for appeals to the tribunal are not affected by ADR and so appeals must still be made in time.

Writing in Tax Journal (page 8), barrister Peter Nias (Pump Court) said: ‘Judge Sinfield’s statement effectively invites both parties – not just the taxpayer – to consider their current position and examine whether all or any of the issues heading for litigation can really only be resolved through judicial determination. It helps to clarify and reduce some of the procedural issues that have impeded the use of ADR’.

Issue: 1492
Categories: News