HMRC will use retrospective legislation again

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Since it's now clear that the meeting I attended at which HMRC director Judith Knott spoke yesterday was not covered by the Chatham House Rule and as a result I am free to report what she said, let's turn to the matter of retrospective legislation.

She defended the use of retrospective legislation against Barclays. The reasons were:

a) The amount involved

b) A warning had been given

c) It breached the banking code

And she said HMRC would be willing to do it again. But she drew the line at what India has just done to over-turn the Vodafone decision to claim about $2.7 billion dollars of tax which they had legislation saying was due - but which a judge did his level best to over-rule using English law as a precedent. That she said was unreasonable.

Ah, so now we no: one rule for us, another for India. Wasn't it ever thus?