Analysis: “Court of Justice confirms the strict liability of the holder of excise goods” by Philippe Heeren
In HMRC v WR (C-279/19), the Court of Justice confirmed strict liability applies for the person holding excise goods at the time when the excise duty becomes chargeable. That person’s knowledge, intentions, or interests are not relevant for establishing liability. The Court comes to this clear conclusion based on its analysis of the literal wording of the Horizontal Excise Directive (Directive 2008/118).
In the case at hand, a lorry driver was transporting 26 pallets of beer from Germany to the UK. On arrival in Dover, the UK border agency checked the load. The authorities discovered that the paperwork proving that the shipment was moving under coverage of excise duty suspension had already been used for a previous consignment. By