Author Archives: Lorenz Böttcher

‘But We’ve Spent the Money’: Defending Overpaid Tax Claims under English and German Law

by Sabrina Nanchahal*

(2020) Oxford U Comparative L Forum 3 at ouclf.law.ox.ac.uk | How to cite

Despite extensive litigation concerning restitution claims against the tax authority in the English courts, the role and parameters of the change of position defence have not been satisfactorily established in this context. German law provides a clear example of how these issues can be addressed within a public law restitution framework. This article explores the conceptual basis for the German position before turning to the current English framework. An analysis of the application of the defence according to unjust enrichment principles emphasises the practical and conceptual difficulties the English courts have faced in such claims. In light of these issues, two alternative potential developments of the defence are examined with the aim of achieving a conceptually cohesive common law restitution framework.

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