Kerry Underwood


with 2 comments

Kerry Underwood offers consultancy services in relation to this and other matters and details are here.


Maugham v Uber London Ltd [2019] EWHC 391 (Ch)

the High Court refused the claimant’s application for a protective costs order limiting his costs to £20,000.

Here the claimant was seeking a declaration that the defendant provide a VAT invoice in relation to its alleged supply of transport services in the form of private hire vehicles and the defendant said that it was an intermediary and did not provide transport services, and therefore it was not liable to invoice for VAT.

The claimant believed that HMRC was failing to take action in respect of Uber’s alleged liability for output tax, and that therefore there was a public interest in the case in ensuring that any liability was collected and generally in the fair administration of the VAT scheme.

Protective costs orders are generally only made in public law claims, particularly in judicial review proceedings.

Here, the High Court held that this was private litigation in which a protective costs order could not be made and that the wider public interest in the tax issues did not justify changing that position.

The High Court said it was bound by the decision in

Eweida v British Airways PLC [2009] EWCA Civ 1025

which held that a protective costs order could not be made in private litigation.

The High Court said that if it was wrong about its interpretation of Eweida it would not be just or fair to make a protective costs order in this case in any event as a properly formulated public law challenge by judicial review was the proper way of reviewing HMRC’s conduct in not exercising its VAT powers and that would then engage the possibility of a costs capping order.

The general principles governing protective costs orders were set out by the Court of Appeal in

R (on the application of Corner House Research) v Secretary of State for Trade and Industry [2005] EWCA Civ 192.


Written by kerryunderwood

March 25, 2019 at 6:40 am

Posted in Uncategorized

2 Responses

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  1. Dear Mr. Underwood,

    I do try to read your various blogs, but I am not helped in this by the ever-more-eccentric way in which they appear on my screen. Are we really stuck with this or is there any prospect of an improvement?


    C N O’Loughlin

    Consultant | Litigation Department


    +44 (0) 191 204 4324

    [Ward Hadaway]

    Newcastle | Leeds | Manchester



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    Nick OLoughlin

    March 26, 2019 at 9:21 am

    • Dear Mr O’Loughlin

      Many thanks for your comment on 26 March, which caused me to look at the way the blogs appeared to subscribers, including me.

      We have identified the problem. As is so often the case with apparent ‘’upgrades’’, the new WordPress Editor was in fact a downgrade and, surprise-surprise, people like me who use WordPress were then bombarded with adverts about how to pay to have a better system.

      What we have done is to go back to the old Classic Editor and, as far as I can see from this week’s blog, that has solved the problem.

      I hope that this week’s blog arrived in good shape with you rather than, as you very accurately described it, an ‘’evermore eccentric way’’.

      Many thanks for bringing this to my attention.



      April 10, 2019 at 1:55 pm

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