Peter Village QC and Cleon Catsambis acting for consortium of firms in judicial review challenge against business rates revaluation transitional scheme

Peter Village QC and Cleon Catsambis are acting for a consortium of firms in a high-profile judicial review challenge against the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government's 2017 business rates revaluation transitional scheme. The proposed scheme concerns the business rate liability of hundreds of thousands of businesses across the country for the period 2017-2022.

The claimant firms allege that Secretary of State's decision to implement the proposed transitional scheme was unlawful and/or irrational and that the underlying consultation process was itself unlawful. The transitional scheme adopted by DCLG artificially inflates the true business rate liability for the claimants, and many others in their position, and prevents them from ever reaching their true liability within the five year period of the scheme. This is in stark contrast to the alternative of a modest across-the-board increase in the multiplier, which DCLG failed to consider and dismissed out of hand.

In particular, the decision is challenged on the following grounds:

  1. DCLG failed to consult on the realistic alternative of spreading the cost of the transitional arrangement evenly across all ratepayers;
  2. The transitional arrangement is unlawful, irrational and contrary to the purpose and object of the revaluation;
  3. DCLG failed to provide proper, adequate and intelligible reasons for the decision; and
  4. DCLG approached the consultation with a closed mind.
DCLG is resisting the claim. A decision on permission to apply for judicial review is awaited.