British American Tobacco Plc and other claimants are now able to pursue the recovery of over a billion pounds in UK tax payments dating in most cases back to 1973 after a favourable ruling by the Supreme Court of England and Wales.

BAT is the main company in a group of 25 that claimed they were subject to double taxation on the distribution of foreign sourced income from the European Union, which was first taxed in the source country and then in the UK.

The Supreme Court, sitting as a panel of seven judges, unanimously held that legislation introduced in the UK Finance Act 2007 was in breach of European Law, and so has restored the claimant's rights to claim for tax rebates.

BAT estimates the amount of extra tax it has paid to be around 1.1 billion pounds ($1.7 billion). The group said on Wednesday that the judgment is complex and extends to 190 pages and says it will be studying it in detail with its lawyers before deciding on a future course of action. - Reuters