§ 42. Mr. W. THORNE
asked the Financial Secretary to the Treasury what the Inland Revenue Department will have to pay in legal costs in respect of the unsuccessful demand for £11 11s. 9d. Income Tax from a Scottish fanner; and the reason why the authorities appealed to the House of Lords after two unanimous decisions in the farmer's favour when the amount involved was only £11 11s. 9d. and no question of principle arose?
I am at present unable to state the cost of the proceedings in the case referred to in the question. I can assure my hon. Friend that every care is exercised and the best legal advice available is taken before any case is carried to the Courts.
§ Mr. THORNE
Is the hon. Gentleman aware that 10 K.C.s were engaged in the case and six of them were engaged by the Crown, and did the Attorney-General plead on behalf of the Department?
I do not think that is correct. It appears there has been a misunderstanding. Before the case was taken to the House of Lords, it was understood that costs would be paid by the Crown.
§ Mr. THORNE
Will the hon. Gentleman be prepared to circulate a detailed statement in connection with the case?
The importance of the case is of such a kind that it was necessary to get a decision of the Courts. Before the case was taken to the House of Lords an arrangement was made that all costs would be paid by the Crown.
§ Lieut.-Commander KENWORTHY
Is the hon. Gentleman aware that in that case the taxpayer finds the costs? In this case, I understand they reached over £3,000.
That may be, but in this case the costs are not as stated. It was necessary to have the point cleared up by a Court of Law.
The scale of costs is one for the legal profession, and I cannot deal with it, nor do I agree that the amount was as stated. Here was a very important point that had to be cleared up.
I am not prepared to admit that the amount stated by the hon. Member is correct. I cannot undertake to accept his statement of the amount.