Yet another success on appeal against UK Border Force

Peter Hastings, Rogers and Norton

We are delighted to have obtained an early Christmas present for one of our clients by having goods seized by UK Border Force restored to them on appeal.

6,400 Kgs of imported, raw, unprocessed tobacco had been seized by the UK Border Force, who also refused approval under the Raw Tobacco Approval Scheme (RTAS). It was alleged that our client had failed the ‘fit and proper’ test contrary to paragraph 3.5 of Excise Notice 2003.

We advised our client that it should challenge the legality of the seizure by the UK Border Force and serve a Notice of Claim under the Customs & Excise Management Act 1979. We collated compelling evidence and witness statements to support our cleint’s challenge. Just before trial, Border Force accepted the challenge and decided not to contest the condemnation claim. Border Force exercised its discretionary powers pursuant to section 152(b) of the Customs and Excise Management Act 1979 and restore the seized goods to our client.

Crucially, our client has received approval under the Raw Tobacco Approval Scheme (RTAS).

The episode had a huge impact on our client and their ability to trade, happily now we have overturned the original decision they are now able to get fully back in business.

The volume of illegal tobacco smuggling and trading is widely reported in the media and there is no doubt that the exchequer loses huge sums of money because of it. UK Border Force do a commendable job under difficult circumstances trying to police and control the problem, but in the midst of all the black market trade, innocent and honest businesses are deemed guilty by association.

We continue to be contacted by companies who have had valuable goods confiscated by UK Border Force, which has a big impact on the profitability of their business. It’s our job to react quickly, assess the situation and support and guide our clients through the difficult and stressful circumstances they are enduring. Quite often the ability of the business to continue trading can be affected by a shipment of goods being confiscated, so our swift reaction time and ability to act decisively will make a massive impact on the future of their business.

If you need to discuss this further or have any issues in relation to HMRC or UK Border Force you can contact me at or on 01603 675639.


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