April 01, 2015
Weil's London Disputes team was awarded "Dispute Resolution Team of the Year" for our ongoing role representing the Littlewoods group in its long-running dispute with HMRC concerning interest on overpaid VAT, at the prestigious 2015 Legal Business Awards held at London's Grosvenor House Hotel on March 24th.
The Weil team, which has advised Littlewoods in connection with the proceedings since 2009, was led by dispute resolution partner Jamie Maples and tax counsel Oliver Walker, working with a core litigation team comprising Christopher Marks, Timothy Goldfarb and Christine Howard, and tax associates Erica Rees and Ellie Marques.
The dispute arises from overpayments of VAT made by companies in the Littlewoods group between 1973 and 2004. The overpaid VAT, together with simple interest, was repaid by HMRC between 2005 and 2008; however, the simple interest equated to only a fraction of the actual benefit the government derived from retaining the overpaid VAT for a 31-year period. Littlewoods therefore claimed compound interest from HMRC, reflecting the loss of the use of the money over that period.
In March 2014, Mr. Justice Henderson held that Littlewoods' claims, worth in excess of £1.25 billion, "succeed in full" – representing what is believed to be the largest money judgment ever handed down by the English courts. Described by the Financial Times as a "landmark decision", the High Court's judgment is a significant victory for both the Littlewoods group (including its tens of thousands of current and former employees) and taxpayers generally.
Lead disputes partner advising on the case, Jamie Maples, commented, "We are delighted to have been named 'Dispute Resolution Team of the Year'. The award reflects our representation of clients in some of the most complex and high-profile disputes currently before the courts."