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Anna Mae Yu Lamentillo

Mar 15, 2024

Financial market learnings from UK’s Judge Tim Herrington

Oftentimes, when life turns out different than what we’ve planned, it ends up even better.

Such is the case of UK’s Upper Tribunal Judge Timothy Herrington; thanks to his wife who persuaded him to apply for the job instead of retiring.

Judge Herrington was a judge at the Upper Tribunal’s Tax and Chancery Chamber (UTTCC) until September 2023. It’s a job that he says “is the most challenging, but most rewarding job I’ve done out of my three careers.”

His career spans almost five decades, and more than half of that was spent at the international law firm Clifford Chance, his first profession following his qualification as a solicitor in 1978. He received his law degree from the University of Bristol in 1975.

He became a partner at Clifford Chance at the age of 30. It helped that he was the one who delved into the then new Financial Services Act 1986. He became known as one of the first city lawyers to specialize in the regulation of financial markets.

He decided it was time to conclude his career at Clifford Chance when he reached his 50s, after almost 30 years of highly-intensive work at the firm. In 2005, he joined the UK’s Financial Services Authority (FSA)—which is now the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA)—and became chairman of its Regulatory Decisions Committee, the independent committee which decides whether to impose fines and banning orders on those found to be in breach of the regulatory rules.

He was with the FSA for seven years, and was already thinking of retiring. But Judge Herrington’s wife thinks he’s too young for that. Thus, upon her prodding, he applied for the job as a judge through the Judicial Appointments Commission.

A reasonable excuse

What amounts to a reasonable excuse?

According to Judge Herrington, the most common form of tax appeal that people bring to the UTTCC is about the late filing of their tax return, which has an automatic fine of £100. They can challenge it if they have a reasonable excuse.

In Christine Perrin vs Her Majesty’s Revenue & Customs (HMRC), which is the UK government’s tax authority, the appellant argued that she had genuine excuse for the late filing of her tax return.

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