11 New Square is a well-established set that specialises exclusively in tax law. Its members are involved in all levels of litigation, both for and against the government, as well as providing advisory services in all areas of corporate, VAT and indirect tax. Corporate and VAT specialist Jonathan Peacock QC has been active in a number of capital allowance cases including SSE Generation Limited v HMRC, which chartered accountant Michael Ripley was also involved in. Hui Ling McCarthy QC represented HMRC in a high profile case, Payne, Garbett and Coca Cola v HMRC, which explored the difference between a car and a van for the purposes of employment income tax.
Tax: corporate and VAT/indirect tax in London Bar
11 New Square
‘Highly regarded. Excellent at what they do.‘
‘11 New Square is one of the strongest tax sets in the market. Counsel are available and willing to be flexible to make themselves available at short notice; can cover the full spectrum of taxes, excellent QCs.’
‘The set offers great strength in depth, very talented people who have experience of every type of tax problem. Some great individuals and very strong team players.’
‘Excellent. Tom Rook as Senior Clerk and Joe Critchelly were those I dealt with. They were were responsive and ensured if one was not available there was appropriate cover.‘
‘The clerks were proactive, incredibly easy to work with, and extremely responsive.’
‘Tom Rook – very responsive, a pleasure to deal with, willing to engage in fee discussions in a progressive way.’
‘We have dealt with the clerks at 11 New Square, and have always found them to be professional and helpful.’
‘I have found the clerks, both Tom Rook and Joe Critchell, friendly and efficient. Turn around times for pieces of work are realistically set and adhered to.’
39 Essex Chambers advises on a broad range of tax with a strong focus on VAT and indirect tax. Nigel Pleming QC has extensive experience representing HMRC in cases involving VAT issues, particularly in the cases where it alleges tax avoidance, while Timothy Lyons QC has a strong international taxation practice and has 'encyclopaedic knowledge' of EU state aid and taxation. Senior junior Kelly Stricklin-Coutinho is a tax disputes specialist with expertise handling customs matters and VAT disputes.
‘Timothy Lyons QC’s clerking team are first class – always quick to respond and incredibly helpful.’
‘Ben Sundborg, Anthony King and Alistair Davidson are all very helpful.‘
‘Very good; in particular Niki Merison who is an absolute star and obviously a Senior Clerk in the making.‘
‘The clerks at 39 Essex Chambers have always been very polite, quick to respond and very efficient. We have always agreed deadlines in advance and these have always been met. Jamie Tucker has been particularly helpful and quick to reply to any of our queries.‘
‘They are excellent. Alastair Davidson in particular.‘
Blackstone Chambers is a 'well-run set' with 'impressive individuals' that include the likes of Sam Grodzinski QC and Kieron Beal QC , who often appear in cases at the interface of tax and more mainstream public law. Grodzinski is 'very thorough' and is regularly instructed both for and against HMRC; he is acting for Uber in the high profile HMRC v Uber case, in addition to the related claim for judicial review concerning Uber's VAT liability. Beal is a 'fantastic advocate' and is acting against HMRC in St George’s University v HMRC, a case concerning VAT in relation to educational services.
‘Blackstone is a well run set.’
Devereux is a 'strong set' with a 'great deal of expertise' in direct and indirect tax. Timothy Brennan QC has extensive experience handling disputes involving income tax, corporation tax and capital gains tax. Akash Nawbatt QC represents both HMRC and taxpayers, and recently acted for HMRC in Charman v HMRC, a multi-million pound residence appeal that considered whether the grant of a share option amounted to a ‘right to acquire securities’. Aparna Nathan QC is also has a high-profile tax litigation practice that covers the full range of tax law, from PAYE underpayments and capital allowances, through to tax avoidance schemes.
‘As a quality tax set Devereux appears to be growing and growing in stature with more and more good quality juniors.’
‘Devereux is a good set with a great deal of expertise in both direct and indirect tax. It also offers excellent training on a variety of tax topics such as international tax law, Brexit-related topics and updates on recent case law.’
‘Very strong tax chambers: high quality counsel who pull together but maintain their individuality.’
‘Super strong breadth of tax expertise.’
‘They are efficient and well organised.’
‘Great clerks, responsive and helpful.’
‘Quick and responsive.’
Essex Court Chambers has a well-established presence in the VAT litigation space and features expertise in cases involving environmental taxation, customs duty and other aspects of indirect tax. David Scorey QC has 'strong advocacy' skills and acted for RBS in RBS v HMRC, a case that involved allegations of an £88m VAT fraud arising from the sale and purchase of carbon credits in 2009. Roderick Cordara QC has a strong UK and Australian indirect tax practice; he was recently acting for Target Group against HMRC in a case that concerned issues of VAT exemptions. Edward Brown is also noted and was involved in Virgin Media v HMRC, a high-profile VAT dispute in the telecoms space.
Field Court Tax Chambers displays a high level of tax expertise, and its members represent a broad range of clients, from multinational enterprises and corporates to tax authorities. Head of chambers Patrick Soares advises on the structuring of UK and international land transactions, while set co-founder Patrick Way QC has a broad advisory and advocacy practice and has been involved in cases concerning digital services tax, residence and domicile issues for individuals, taxation of image rights; he recently advised on double taxation issues in Andrew Davies & Others v HMRC. Imran Afzal is also noted and acted against HMRC in Irish Bank Resolution Corporation Ltd (in special liquidation) and Irish Nationwide Building Society v HMRC, a case that involved exploring the scope of tax treaties and the taxation of overseas banks.
Gray's Inn Tax Chambers is a 'strong and experienced' set with expertise across direct tax, indirect tax, and private client work. The set advises on a broad range of litigation and advisory work in relation to UK tax, as well as doing a lot of international work, including in Hong Kong. 'Formidable advocate' Nicola Shaw QC advises across all areas of contentious tax, including judicial review. Laurent Sykes QC showcases a strong advisory practice and covers employment tax, corporation tax and business tax (capital gains and income tax). Nikhil Mehta is also noted and has extensive experience as a UK tax barrister and Indian tax advocate. On the junior end, Laura Inglis is a key individual to note and is acting for AXA in AXA S.A. v Genworth Financial International Holdings, Inc, a payment protection insurance misselling claim, with quantum affected by French tax.
‘This set is my first port of call. All of them without exception at all levels are fantastic.’
‘Outstanding service. Chris Broom is brilliant, sensible, commercial and approachable. Ben Stern is equally superb. They are available and accommodating to whatever clients require. Brilliant set. The best.’
‘Very experienced, responsive and friendly clerks, always good to deal with. Chris Broom is clearly a very able leader, i.e. senior clerk.’
‘Great clerking. Chris Broom is a fantastic senior clerk. Ben Stern and Jamie Hall are also excellent.’
Monckton Chambers has an 'excellent pool of barristers' with extensive experience in indirect tax. Melanie Hall QC has a strong presence in tax law and has expertise advising clients in the financial services and higher education space. Valentina Sloane QC focuses on EU law, tax and procurement. A recent case of note for Sloane is HMRC v The Rank Group, a test case on fiscal neutrality that involved a refund claim for £67m of VAT overpayments. Peter Mantle is also noted and has a strong VAT and indirect tax litigation and advisory practice; he represented the Royal Opera House against HMRC on its input tax recovery claim, where it was identified that there was a sufficient link between production costs and catering supplies.
‘The chambers are my first port of call for support. They have an excellent pool of barristers covering a wider range disciplines.’
‘I usually deal with John Keegan who is responsive, offers sensible suggestions and works with you on budgets.’
Pump Court Tax Chambers is a ‘leading specialist tax set‘ with a strong presence in the VAT and indirect tax space. The set handles VAT reclaim cases, landfill tax, gaming duty, as well as exploring the operation and scope of exemptions. VAT specialist Andrew Hitchmough QC and Barbara Belgrano represented the successful taxpayer in London Clubs Management v HMRC, in which the Supreme Court dismissed the revenue’s appeal that free bet vouchers should be taken in to account for gaming duty. Roger Thomas QC is a key individual in the VAT and SDLT space and has extensive experience litigating before the Supreme Court and CJEU. Zizhen Yang is also noted and acted as sole counsel for G4S in its appeal against a statutory interest assessment by HMRC.
‘The single strongest tax set.’
‘The number one tax set‘
‘Strong juniors and well-respected seniors in all areas of revenue law.’
‘The chambers are rightly regarded as experts in this field, and their webinar programme has been most useful during the last year.’
‘They have all the virtues and assets you would expect of a market leading set.’
‘The clerking service is exceptional – they always go above and beyond, and are often able to provide assistance at very short notice.’
‘I have been impressed with the clerking service at Pump Court Tax Chambers, in particular Rob Adams. I have found the clerks to be both friendly and approachable, facilitating conference calls with ease, a necessity in these challenging times.’
‘John Poyser very easy to deal with and responsive.‘
‘I have found the clerking service to be very efficient. My main point of contact is Bruno Antoniotti and he has always provided an excellent service.’
‘Very good. I have always found the clerks to be very helpful.’
Temple Tax Chambers is an 'impressive' set with 'great strength in depth'. The set has a broad tax practice that covers direct and indirect tax, with particular expertise handling corporate and employment-related tax issues. Head of chambers Alun James has a strong tax advisory practice that covers corporate reorganisations, share buy-backs and debt restructuring. Michael Sherry advises on all areas of direct tax. Jonathan Schwarz is another key individual to note and has an impressive international tax disputes practice; he is representing the taxpayer in Martin Fowler v HMRC, a case concerning treaty interpretation. Keith Gordon is also noted and has been involved in Revenue and Customs v Atholl House Productions Limited, a case that explores whether a radio presenter is an employee under a hypothetical direct contract.
‘Temple Tax are a stellar chambers. They cover a wide variety of tax expertise. They keep their finger on the pulse of the latest trends and developments in tax practice. They communicate regularly with their clients.’
‘We are very pleased with our relationship with the set generally in terms of culture, technical strength, accessibility, pragmatic approach.’
‘We value the Chambers for its mix of academic analytical expertise tempered with a practical and common sense approach to transactions. In particular the ability to entertain new ideas at the cutting edge of litigation and to appraise these objectively, often presenting modified or better solutions is a huge asset. We have always been able to manage diaries and appreciate their ability to engage with us at short notice when required.’
‘Excellent – the Clerking team really helped with the preparation for the Hearings and dealt with all queries quickly, efficiently and with a high degree of professionalism.‘
‘We deal mainly with Cindy Green who is excellent. Again, very responsive and proactive.’
‘Claire James is a pleasure to work with.‘
‘I have found Kaylin O’Rourke helpful throughout my instructions and quick to revert when needed.’
‘The Clerks offer an excellent support role to their Counsel. Arranging conferences and video meetings etc.’