The United Kingdom has spoken:The receding impact of European jurisprudence on the UK interpretation of the common VAT system

Yige Zu, Rick Krever

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Post-Brexit, UK law conforming to Directives of the European Union such as the value added
tax (VAT) Directive will remain in effect and UK courts will be permitted to consider decisions
of the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) when interpreting that law. How UK
common law courts, steeped in the tradition of the doctrine of precedent, will use CJEU
judgments in the post-Brexit era has been the subject of much speculation. This article considers the question in the context of a case study, looking at the application by UK courts of
CJEU decisions in an important area of VAT law, the treatment of customer loyalty plan
benefits. The evidence suggests that, even prior to Brexit, UK courts had started to pursue a
separate path, declining to follow CJEU precedents that yielded clearly inappropriate policy
outcomes. If the results of the case study are replicated more widely in UK rulings, it can be
expected that the influence of CJEU judgments may taper off where formalistic and literalist
CJEU interpretations have led to outcomes inconsistent with the recognized policy intent of
UK law.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)75-91
Number of pages17
JournalCommon Law World Review
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2020


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