20/3/20

To all our clients

 

Coronavirus - business update (2)

 

Further to our business update on Tuesday, we are pleased to report that the switch to remote working has gone smoothly and Temple Tax is fully remote and fully open for business. 

 

Litigation

 

Many of you have been asking us how the current crisis is affecting litigation and we now as of yesterday have clear guidance from FTT Tax Chamber President Judge Greg Sinfield as follows:

 

Conduct of Tax Chamber proceedings during the COVID-19 pandemic

 

Until further notice, there will be no hearings at which persons are physically present in any proceedings in the Tax Chamber of the First-tier Tribunal.  All applications and substantive appeals will be dealt with on papers/email as far as possible and decided by a judge sitting alone.  If a matter cannot be dealt with on papers, a hearing by telephone (or video if available) will be arranged as soon as possible.  If a case is not suitable for hearing by telephone or video then it will be listed for a physical hearing on a date in the future when it is safe to do so.  For the time being, a hearing involving physical attendance may take place only if a judge decides that it is a priority case and necessary to do so in all the circumstances.

 

So there is in effect a complete switch to remote hearings until further notice for FTT hearings and indeed Tim Brown has a hearing by telephone today.

 

As regards the higher courts, the same is happening to a large extent.  Jonathan Schwarz is before the Supreme Court next week in the case of Fowler v HMRC which will be heard by videolink (https://www.supremecourt.uk/live/court-02.html). We also have Keith Gordon and Ximena Montes Manzano before the Court of Appeal next week, but they are waiting for confirmation as to how and if that hearing will proceed.

 

HMRC amended guidance – Statutory Residence in the light of the Coronovirus crisis

 

On a technical note, HMRC yesterday issued amended guidance to the Statutory Residence test in the form of RDRM11005 (see HMRC Latest Docs) to take account of issues arising out of the current crisis, in particular as follows:

 

“If you:

 (1) are quarantined or advised by a health professional or public health guidance to self-isolate in the UK as a result of the virus;

(2) find yourself advised by official Government advice not to travel from the UK as a result of the virus;

(3) are unable to leave the UK as a result of the closure of international borders, or

(4) are asked by your employer to return to the UK temporarily as a result of the virus

the circumstances are considered as exceptional."

 

 

Please do get in touch if we can help with either of the above issues, or indeed in any way. 

 

Finally, we again send all of you our good wishes and hope that you and your families are keeping well.

 

 

Alun James                                Claire James

Head of Chambers                      Senior Clerk

 

Tel: 0207 353 7884

Email: clerks@templetax.com

 

________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

 

17/3/20

To all our clients,

 

Coronavirus - business update

 

We are writing to reassure you as to the measures Temple Tax is taking to remain fully open for business whilst prioritising above all else the health and safety of our clients, our staff and our members of chambers. 

 

We already have in place procedures to ensure we can continue to function fully on a remote footing and following yesterday’s governmental announcements these procedures have been activated as of today.  Therefore, although Chambers will continue to remain physically open to the extent required by ongoing court commitments etc, our current operational status is as follows:

 

  • all Barristers and Clerks are fully able to work remotely and will be doing so except when absolutely necessary;

 

  • you can still contact us by telephone or email in the usual way;

 

  • our IT infrastructure has been set up to ensure the integrity and continuous availability of email and documents handled on a remote basis;

 

  • all conferences will be by way of telephone or video conference; we will be in touch to rearrange any planned ‘in person’ conferences;

 

  • all scheduled events have been postponed until further notice.

 

We will continue to monitor the situation and will take whatever action is necessary to protect the health of our staff and you, our clients.  Like you, the health, wellbeing and safety of everyone is our focus right now and that is why we are taking these steps in line with public health advice.

 

Should you have occasion nevertheless to visit Chambers, rest assured that all appropriate measures have been taken for your health and safety:

 

  • we have taken on board all relevant advice from in particular Public Health England, the World Health Organisation and the Covid-19 Working Group when considering appropriate measures to minimise the impact to public health;

 

  • all appropriate procedures have been put in place as to the physical environment, with cleaning in Chambers having been intensified and hand sanitisers provided throughout;

 

  • should any of our staff or members show even mild signs of flu-like symptoms, we will be following the governmental guidance as to medical care and self-isolation, and we will ensure that team members are fully supported during this time.

 

We will publish further updates as the situation changes.  If you have any concerns or questions, please get in touch with Claire or Lucy or your usual point of contact.

 

On behalf of everyone at Temple Tax we sincerely hope that you, your families and friends stay well over the coming weeks.

 

 

Alun James                                Claire James

Head of Chambers                      Senior Clerk

 

Tel: 0207 353 7884

Email: clerks@templetax.com