Brick Court Chambers’ Mark Hoskins QC has been instructed to mount a challenge against the financial transactions tax, known as the Tobin tax, that is to be adopted by 11 EU states.
The UK had until last Thursday to launch a case against the EU-wide initiative that has already been given the backing of Germany, France, Spain, Italy and Belgium among others.
Britain is staunchly opposed to the levy, which sees a 0.1 per cent tax imposed on the value of stocks or bonds and 0.01 per cent on derivative contracts and will be introduced across the 11 volunteer EU countries.
The tax will apply to transactions based on where the financial product was issued and while it will not be Europe-wide it could regularly affect trades made not only in Paris and Berlin, but London – despite the UK’s opposition – and even further afield.
Chancellor George Osborne said in Washington last week: “I’m concerned about the extra-territorial aspects of the European commission’s proposals.”
The main challenge is the scope of the tax, which is not yet clear.
The City has sought clarification on how the levy would affect euro trades completed in London between banks from countries not in the scheme, and from UK subsidiaries of banks in participating countries.
Hoskins has been directly instructed by the Treasury Solicitor to lead Victoria Wakefield in the case for the Government.