Lords weigh up VAT spat

The Law Lords are trying to decide whether to hear an appeal in an off-beat VAT battle. Sinclair Collis is seeking leave to challenge an Appeal Court ruling made in June last year that vending machines in public houses, hotels and other premises "occupy land" in the eyes of the law. The case centres on whether the installation of a cigarette vending machine in a public house constitutes a licence to occupy land and as such is a supply that is exempt from VAT. The Customs and Excise claims that it is VAT exempt and that view has been backed by both the High Court and Appeal Court.