Ingenious: Supreme Court rules HMRC in breach of confidence

04 November 2016

The Supreme Court in Ingenious Media has overturned the decisions of the High Court and the Court of Appeal, holding that the former permanent secretary for tax, David Hartnett, breached HMRC's duty of confidentiality when making off the record comments to journalists from The Times.

The Supreme Court concluded that though the case was brought by way of judicial review, the question was whether HMRC had breached its common law duty of confidentiality. The Supreme Court unanimously agreed that briefings to journalists of this sort, irrespective of the fact they were made off the record, had breached that duty.