Funny Stuff, Cool Stuff and Sticking it to the Man Stuff!

This is the funny stuff, a seagull going into a shop and stealing crisps!

This is the cool stuff: Space Time is an astonishing new internet browser that displays all your tabs and search results in a 3D environment. It looks very impressive, but sadly doesn’t like my own monster PC’s setup and runs like a dog. Perhaps that’s why it’s still in beta.

This is the Sticking it to the Man stuff: a few weeks ago I posted about how the Professional Contractors Group backed House of Lords case against the Inland Revenue was going on. Well today we got the result. The 5 Law Lords sitting in the highest Court England has to offer, found by unanimous verdict that the Inland’s Revenue dodgy interpretation of the law was to be thrown out, and the Jones who run their family business through Arctic Systems Ltd, didn’t in fact owe the tax man a pile of cash, and Mrs Jones was just as entitled to her tax allowances as every other woman in business.If you actually want to read the judgement, you can find it in full here. To be fair, in a lot of places it’s a dry read, but it’s not often you get to see the wheels of justice turn, and so overwhelmingly in your favour! I say that, because the situation the Jones’ were in, was exactly the same situation I was in for many years. Read the first 5 paragraphs for a good over view of the facts.The case has proven to be quite complicated, as summed up in Paragraph 74, where Lord Neuberger of Abbotsbury sums up the disagreements of the courts: The difficulty arising from the two issues is well illustrated by the difference of judicial opinion in this case. The senior general commissioner found for the Revenue on both issues; the junior commissioner found against the Revenue on both issues. Park J found for the Revenue on both issues but his main reason on the second one was different from that of the senior commissioner. The Court of Appeal found against the Revenue on the first issue, but would have been for the Revenue on the second issue, although disagreeing with the reason of the senior commissioner. Your Lordships agree with the Revenue on the first issue, but are against them on the second.

What I find particularly interesting, is in this lofty and high brow Court Case, that has hauled a family business through every Court in the land, and cost hundreds of thousands of pounds, where men in funny robes and wigs and stockings still walk about without fear of arrest, the language of the honourable Law Lords is sometimes quite amusing. I’ll selectively quote a couple of bits that particularly tickled me:

LORD HOFFMANN – Para 6 – Not every transfer of property is a settlement… There has to be an “element of bounty” in the transaction. This old-fashioned phrase, … conjuring up the image of Lady Bountiful in The Beaux’ Stratagem, is perhaps not the happiest way of describing a provision for a spouse or minor children. A donation to a spouse or child is traditionally expressed in a deed to be “in consideration of natural love and affection” rather than the donor’s bounty.

BARONESS HALE OF RICHMOND – Para 65 – It is some comfort that the professional judges who have so far decided this case have reached such different conclusions and that we have reached different conclusions from them all.

BARONESS HALE OF RICHMOND – Para 70 – The problem with that approach, as my lords have shown, is that what makes the arrangement gratuitous (I refuse to use the patronising and inaccurate term “bounteous”) also makes it a gift.

LORD NEUBERGER OF ABBOTSBURY – Para 76 – The word “bounty” rings slightly uncomfortably, at least to my ears. It seems a somewhat outdated expression which smacks of condescension.

Tee hee. 🙂

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