chapter  7
42 Pages

The Ramsay Principle

This chapter suggests that the construction of tax law under a veil of separation from other legal disciplines occasionally deprives its study of constitutional and other contexts. It focuses on the spirit of tax laws, amongst other issues. The chapter addresses the historical and social background of the defining principle of UK tax avoidance doctrine, the Westminster case, the utility of US case law for UK courts, whether or not the 'Ramsay principle', as interpreted through Furniss, signalled the death of the Westminster doctrine and whether or not post-Furniss case law represents 'hope' for Westminster. Wheatcroft, while analysing the UK approach to tax avoidance, mentioned American case law only in an effort to establish how different American tax law was from its UK counterpart. Perhaps the strictures of Westminster had confined the courts for too long, and the Ramsay line of cases was the inevitable product of this prolonged subjugation.