Successful appeal for Martin Henley

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Hakki v SSDWP & Blair

Martin Henley has successfully appealed the decision of the Upper Tribunal in the Court of Appeal. Had the original decision of the Upper Tribunal stood then potentially millions of regular gamblers might have been liable to pay class 2 NI contributions.

This key judgment reaffirms the authority of Graham v Green which sets out that gambling cannot be a trade adventure profession or vocation. This authority of the High Court had stood for 90 years and had never been challenged in the Court of Appeal.

The Upper Tribunal had found that, in the context of Social Security, gambling could be a trade profession or vocation thus meaning that Mr Hakki whose only source of income had been from playing poker would be assessable for child maintenance under the Child Support Act.

The Court of Appeal declined to overturn Graham v Green and found that Mr Hakki’s poker playing was not a seeking after emoluments and was therefore not a trade profession or vocation. They further found that contrary to the finding of the Upper Tribunal the income tax regime and the social security regimes were aligned such that the definition of self employment in the social security context could not have a wider meaning than the income tax definition.


April 2014