Principled Offsite Logistics Ltd v Trafford Borough Council


Eversheds Sutherland, acting on behalf of Principled Offsite Logistics Ltd (Principled), has successfully won a multi-million pound High Court business rates case following a lengthy litigation against Trafford Borough Council.

The ruling states the storage model employed by Principled to mitigate rating liability for its clients is sufficient to constitute beneficial occupation – a ground-breaking decision which will be welcomed by corporate occupiers nationwide.

The case is the first in the UK to deal with the interpretation of what constitutes rateable occupation and will now be adopted by local authorities across the country.

Principled assists corporate occupiers to save money on their business rates bills by utilising empty properties and triggering a statutory tax relief. It shares any savings with its clients. Trafford Council challenged their business model which led to Principled issuing a judicial review action against the Council’s decision-making process.

The Hon Mr Justice Kerr agreed with Principled that its motivation for occupation such as tax saving was irrelevant and it could be said to be in occupation where the primary benefit came through the occupation itself and not an independent commercial purpose.

The Eversheds Sutherland team was led by Real Estate Litigation Partner and Head of Business Rates, Richard New.

Involved fees earner: Richard New – Eversheds Sutherland;

Law Firms: Eversheds Sutherland;

Clients: Principled Offsite Logistics Ltd;