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16 Dec 2010
Appeal Status

Supreme Court denies leave to appeal

2010 case note – No significant error by the Court of Appeal or substantial principle sufficient to meet the requirements for leave - Supreme Court, judicial review.

Chesterfields et al v Commissioner of Inland Revenue

Supreme Court Act 2003, Judicature Amendment Act 1972


No significant error by the Court of Appeal, nor substantial principle sufficient to meet the requirements for leave was shown.

Impact of decision

Given the "extremely very fact specific" nature of the case and that it "has practically no precedential value" [7] there are limited implications of this judgment.


The parties have been involved in a long-running judicial review. The taxpayers are one individual (Mr Hampton) together with two partnerships involving him and two companies of which Mr Hampton is the director.

Following partial success on appeal by the Commissioner at the Court of Appeal ([2009] NZCA253), Mr Hampton on behalf of the taxpayers sought to appeal to the Supreme Court, on the basis that the interpretation the Court of appeal had used in approaching the High Court judgments was incorrect. There was no direct appeal of the judgment of the Court of Appeal.


Leave to appeal to the Supreme Court was declined.

The Supreme Court considered the Court of Appeal's "guidance" on the High Court's judgment was sufficiently prescriptive in the present context to amount to directions under the Judicature Amendment Act and thus to justify considering the application for leave to appeal on its merits [6].

The application did not raise any substantial issue of principle nor show there was an error of law in the lower appellate court such as to give raise to a miscarriage of justice [8].

While proportionality was addressed this was fact specific and therefore not a general requirement in relation to additional taxes. Nor was there any basis to address alleged late discovery of documents [9]-[11].