Thorn brings in MBR&M to prove illegitimacy of UK tax

Mayer Brown Rowe & Maw’s (MBR&M) tiny London tax litigation team has scooped a role in the mammoth Loss Relief Group Litigation challenging UK tax laws.

Partner Peter Steiner is representing Thorn (formerly Thorn EMI), which joined the register of multi-national companies alleging that corporation tax legislation in the UK is in breach of European law.

MBR&M is the fourth firm to be instructed in the litigation. The London office of Dorsey & Whitney is leading the group, representing the majority of the 80 claimants, including PepsiCo, Asda, BNP Paribas and Legal & General. McGrigors and Reynolds Porter Chamberlain are each advising a handful of clients.

The success of the litigation will hinge on the decision of the European Court of Justice (ECJ) in a test case brought by Marks & Spencer, to be heard on 1 February. If the ECJ decides that UK tax laws have been implemented incorrectly, the members of the Loss Relief Group Litigation will have a strong case.

Steiner said: “Tax litigation here is catching up with the way it went in the US. It’s a pretty exciting thing.”

He added: “It’s a very good instruction indeed.”

MBR&M has a large US tax litigation group, known as Tax Controversy, but Steiner is the only UK contentious tax partner.