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Leading Silks

Kieron Beal KC – Blackstone Chambers ‘Kieron has incredible technical knowledge and is second-to-none when it comes to practical advice, both in terms of litigation tactics and strategy, but also from an advocacy perspective. He is a joy to work with, he is great with clients, and he truly works as one of the team when managing a case in litigation.’
Sam Grodzinski KC – Blackstone Chambers ‘Sam is an exceptional and persuasive advocate; he is creative, he has good judgement, and he knows how to make a good point come across fluently and persuasively. He is excellent on any aspect that has a public law angle, and his expertise in public law and tax is second-to-none.’
Andrew Hitchmough KC – Pump Court Tax Chambers 'Andrew is very user friendly and excellent with clients, with a robust and practical outlook to managing disputes. Andrew is always one of the team and his technical knowledge is outstanding, making him a favourite to instruct.'
Felicity Cullen KC – Devereux 'Felicity cuts through extraneous information and focuses only on the key issues which she considers from all angles. Her written opinions are well laid out and easy to understand and incorporate issues which she has registered might have an impact, even when nobody else has registered that there might be something to consider.'
Valentina Sloane KCMonckton Chambers 'Valentina is incredibly bright and an excellent advocate in hearings. She is responsive and thinks quickly on her feet and she is incredibly well prepared and insightful.'
Owain Thomas KC – 1 Crown Office Row 'Owain is an incisive and direct silk.'
Eleni Mitrophanous KC – Matrix Chambers 'Eleni is a great VAT silk and advocate. She is thorough and knowledgeable, and an excellent choice for clients.'
Philip Moser KC – Monckton Chambers 'Philip has a gravitas that commands the respect of the court room and opponents alike. He really comes into his own when you need somebody to manage appellate litigation and can make the legally unattractive really quite compelling.'
Jonathan Bremner KC – One Essex Court 'Jonathan is ferociously bright and has an astonishingly deep understanding of tax law. He is a supreme advocate of his generation.'
George Peretz KC – Monckton Chambers 'George is a highly analytical lawyer who appreciates problems from both a practical and systemic analysis. He is a strong advocate who reassures the Tribunal, he is a stand-out choice for all levels of litigation, and has his finger is on the pulse post-Brexit.'
James Rivett KC – Pump Court Tax Chambers 'James is a cool, calm, and insightful barrister who is great at managing client nervousness and challenges, and drawing focus onto the real nub of a dispute. Clients are particularly impressed at James' ability to explain complex issues to lay clients, sharing his experience of litigation in this area and HMRC approach, and combining this with his honestly, to really draw out the challenges and ensuring that work is focused on dealing with these.'
Sarabjit Singh KC1 Crown Office Row 'When it comes to indirect taxes, Sarabjit is a subject-matter expert. He is highly thought of by clients and great to work with.'
David Yates KCPump Court Tax Chambers 'David has an excellent client manner and is able to explain complex legal points and give excellent advice on strategy for managing a case.'

2022 Silks

Edward Brown KC – Essex Court Chambers 'He gets his point across succinctly and in a measured way.'
Mark Fell KCRadcliffe Chambers 'Mark Fell is personable, reliable, hardworking and innovative, and Mark's advocacy is impressive and effective.'

2023 Silks

Michael Thomas KC – Pump Court Tax Chambers ‘Michael has an encyclopaedic knowledge of tax law and is very strong in advocacy.’

2024 Silks

Sadiya Choudhury KC – Pump Court Tax Chambers 'Sadiya not only knows the relevant law inside and out, but she is able to provide advice that focuses pragmatically on the client's commercial interests.'
Brendan Mcgurk KC – Monckton Chambers 'Brendan is technically very strong indeed; his ability to turn around complex pleadings quickly is very impressive and his client management is extremely good, reassuring clients and lay clients in particular. His advocacy in relation to complex tax matters is impressive in that he has great clarity in explaining all the necessary detail.'

Leading Juniors

Raymond Hill – Monckton Chambers 'Raymond is a very diligent advocate. He is realistic and he does not inflate the merits of his case and is therefore a fair advocate.'
Marika Lemos – Devereux ‘Marika is one of the best juniors at the tax Bar. She has an encyclopaedic knowledge of tax law, works tirelessly, and has a wonderfully empathetic manner with clients.’
Peter Mantle – Monckton Chambers ‘Peter has a very wide knowledge of VAT law and he always takes an imaginative approach to finding solutions. He is always prepared to spend time discussing issues as they develop, he is always prepared to go the extra mile to resolve difficult issues, and his judgement is invariably spot on.’
Etienne Wong – Old Square Tax Chambers 'Etienne is excellent to work with and very user friendly and knowledgeable. He is very good with clients.'
Zizhen Yang - Pump Court Tax Chambers 'Zizhen has a phenomenal understanding and knowledge of not just the VAT legislation, but all the rules and guidance notes too. She is an exemplary lawyer with a keen intellect.'
Barbara Belgrano – Pump Court Tax Chambers 'Barbara is a joy to work with. She is sharp and pragmatic, even in stressful circumstances, and her passion is self-evident and inspires confidences in clients.'
Tim Brown – Temple Tax Chambers 'He builds a warm rapport with clients and is measured when he appears before the Tribunal.'
James Henderson – Pump Court Tax Chambers 'James is excellent at distilling complex issues and presenting them in a straightforward manner to the client. He is very client friendly, adapting his approach as necessary for the client, and he makes each instruction enjoyable and promptly replies to all queries relating to instructions or during a hearing.'
Andrew Macnab - Monckton Chambers 'Andrew has a lively mind and is dogged.'
Jeremy White – Pump Court Tax Chambers ‘Jeremy is the doyen of customs duty practitioners. He is simply the best in that area.’
David BedenhamDevereux David is very commercial and client-friendly. He takes a strategic view, focusing on what the clients are trying to achieve overall, not just the issue that is immediately in front of him.’
Oliver Conolly – Pump Court Tax Chambers ‘Oliver is a tax barrister who is able to turn his hand to wider public law issues.’
Denis Edwards – Temple Tax Chambers ‘Denis is excellent at bringing to life complex issues and explaining them in commercial and client terms. He is extremely well-regarded by the clients and he is a go-to for indirect tax support.’
Isabel McArdle 1 Crown Office Row 'Isabel is an astute tactician.'
Simon Pritchard – Blackstone Chambers 'Simon is highly intelligent and hard working team player. He is willing to roll up his sleeves and put in the hours.'
Max SchofieldDevereux ‘Max is carving a name for himself in this field. He is deeply immersed in VAT and is very popular among clients; he is an excellent junior.’
Jeremy Woolf Pump Court Tax Chambers ‘Jeremy is exceptionally good regarding complex tax law and he is also very user-friendly and well-liked by clients.’

Rising Stars

Calypso Blaj - Pump Court Tax Chambers 'Calypso shows the depth and strength of her research skills in VAT disputes, as well as her ability to draft powerful and compelling submissions, boiling down a dispute to its key components. She brings a calmness and coolness to client interactions also, allowing the team to focus on the strategic aspects of the dispute.'
Joshua Carey – Devereux 'Joshua is excellent with clients. He is a very good litigation strategist and has an impressive work ethic.'
Stephen Donnelly – Essex Court Chambers 'He inspires confidence as a safe pair of hands.'
Quinlan Windle – Pump Court Tax Chambers ‘Quinlan has a good understanding of the problem, provides clear analysis of the legislation, and applies it to the problem.’

Tax: VAT and excise in London Bar

Monckton Chambers

Monckton Chambers is praised as a ‘leading set for VAT’ and other indirect tax matters, and the set’s expertise in EU and public law enables its members to handle a wide range of complex cases for both taxpayers and HMRC. Melanie Hall KC has significant experience advising clients in the financial services sector. Of recent note, she was instructed by the taxpayer in E-Zec Medical Transport Services Ltd v HMRC, which concerned the refusal of HMRC to allow private ambulance operators to claim zero-rate VAT. Philip Moser KC has notable expertise in EU-related tax, VAT, and customs matters, in addition to VAT fraud. Valentina Sloane KC also has an impressive case load, and is representing Fenix International – operator of OnlyFans, a subscription content platform primarily used by sex workers –  in one of the last British to reach the European Court of Justice, concerning if VAT should be charged on the full cost of content, or on the part of it which is the platform's fee.


‘Monckton Chambers is a leading set for VAT.’

‘There is real strength in depth in Monckton Chambers and the clerks are always very helpful.’

‘There is a good deal of expertise in depth at Monckton Chambers the area of tax litigation. There is a real sense that to have Monckton barristers representing you puts you at an advantage.’

‘Chris O’Brien is excellent.’

‘Chris O’Brien is great to deal with.’

‘Excellent service from the clerking team, who are all very client focused and realistic in fee negotiations.’

‘The clerks room is fantastic. They are extremely accommodating and commercial and there is a real feeling that they are going the extra mile.’

‘The clerks are always reliable and flexible on fees.’

Pump Court Tax Chambers

Pump Court Tax Chambers is highlighted by clients as ‘one of the top tax chambers in the country and a go-to for the most complex of tax cases’, including both contentious and advisory matters. Key areas of strength for the set include VAT-related mandates in the charity, the financial services and healthcare sectors, gaming, and insurance. The set is home to notable silks such as David Milne KCKevin Prosser KC and Andrew Hitchmough KC, as well as Rupert Baldry KC, who has expertise in indirect tax, encompassing VAT stamp taxes and customs duties, as well as more specialist areas, such as aggregates levy. Zizhen Yang has notable expertise in VAT and landfill tax matters, and she acted for Devon Waste Management and Biffa Waste Services against HMRC in a complex landfill tax case in the Court of Appeal regarding whether the layer of residual waste used by landfill operators to line cells was liable to be taxed. Barbara Belgrano also represents clients before the higher UK courts, including the Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court, and matters in the gambling sector are areas of strength for Laura Poots.


‘The clerks are great, particularly John Poyser.’

‘John Poyser is the best clerk in London.’

‘Rob Adams is particularly good, as is John Poyser. ‘

‘Bruno Antoniotti and John Poyser are stand outs who are always practical and sensible in fee discussions. Diary management is also outstanding.’

Pump Court Tax Chambers is an excellent set. Whether counsel or clerk, one can observe high-standards and a willingness to accept instructions.’

‘Pump Court Tax Chambers is a leader in its field and a first port of call for any tax-related advice.’

‘Certainly one of the top tax chambers in the country and a go-to for the most complex of tax cases.’

‘The best tax set in London with an excellent array of barristers for all areas of tax.’

1 Crown Office Row

1 Crown Office Row handles the entire spectrum of tax litigation and its members are instructed on behalf of both taxpayers and HMRC. Indirect tax experts Owain Thomas KC and Sarabjit Singh KC jointly lead the team, which has significant experience handling cases at all levels, from first-tier tribunals to the Supreme Court, as well as the Court of Justice of the European Union. Thomas KC successfully represented HMRC in a Court of Appeal case against Build-A-Bear Workshop concerning whether imported bear accessories were classified as accessories for dolls or for toys in relation to related EU tariffs. The set is also home to Natasha Barnes, who has represented clients before the Supreme Court, Court of Appeal, and the Administrative Court, and Isabel McArdle, who has substantial expertise in matters regarding VAT, customs and excise. Edward Waldegrave joined the team from Pump Court Chambers in March 2023, and he is experienced in high-stakes cases.

11 New Square

11 New Square is a well-known specialist tax set and it regularly handles indirect tax mandates for the Big Four accountancy firms and major city law firms, as well as regional accountancy practices and firms. Its members have regularly acted before the higher UK courts, as well as the Court of Justice of the European Union. Jonathan Peacock KC has a strong VAT practice, and of recent note, he was instructed by News Corp against HMRC in a Supreme Court test case regarding the VAT treatment of electronic newspapers. Francis Fitzpatrick KC is a specialist tax litigator and advisor with notable strength in international tax matters. Hui Ling McCarthy KC is another key member of the set, and she is frequently instructed by both taxpayers and HMRC; she represented the latter in a Court of Appeal case regarding the difference between a car and a van for the purpose of employment income tax (Payne, Garbett and Coca Cola v HMRC). John Brinsmead-Stockham KC made silk in the 2023 round.


Devereux‘s members act for taxpayers and the government across the entire spectrum of direct and indirect tax-related mandates. The set is home to Felicity Cullen KC, who regularly advises owner managed businesses, and Barrie Akin, who acted for the taxpayer in Mitchell and Bell v HMRC, a Court of Appeal case concerning whether the taxpayer was allowed to see documents relating to a business partner in Personal Liability Notice proceedings. Marika Lemos often represents HMRC in complex cases such as Carter & Kennedy v HMRC, an appeal by the taxpayer against the decision of the First-Tier Tribunal regarding the ‘hypothetical officer test’, which found that the discovery assessment issued to the taxpayer was valid. Howard Watkinson is another key member of the set, which saw the addition of Max Schofield in January 2023 with expertise in representing large multinationals and start-up companies.


‘The counsel at Devereux are extremely good and they bring a large number of good juniors through.’

Essex Court Chambers

Essex Court Chambers is home to Stephen Donnelly, who has a growing indirect tax practice that is complimented by his strengths in commercial and chancery disputes. He represented Royal Surrey NHS Trust in a judicial review regarding HMRC’s refusal to allow the trust to recover input VAT following the purchase of linear accelerators for use in radiotherapy. Roderick Cordara KC and Edward Brown KC are two silks in chambers active in this area.

Work highlights


Gray’s Inn Tax Chambers‘ members have significant expertise handling work predominately for individuals and institutions in tax-related litigation against HMRC. Nicola Shaw KC is highly skilled in contentious indirect tax mandates, representing clients at all levels of court, including the Court of Justice of the European Union. Laurent Sykes KC has strong expertise in custom duties cases, and both he and Michael Firth represented the claimants in Test Claimants v Royal Mail Group Ltd, a High Court case concerning bespoke services provided to business, which until 2009 both Royal Mail and its customers incorrectly believed were exempt from VAT. The set is also home to Michael Jones KC, who acts for taxpayers and HMRC, and is especially skilled in commercial disputes with tax-related elements.

Temple Tax Chambers

The team at Temple Tax Chambers has significant expertise in indirect tax matters. Tim Brown‘s practice predominately focuses on VAT, customs, and excise duties, and he is regularly instructed by taxpayers as well as high-profile public entities. Denis Edwards is another notable member of the set, and he acted for the taxpayer in Lothian NHS Trust v HMRC, which concerned issues of whether the Trust had provided sufficient evidence to support its unrecovered VAT claims on private external work that had been done by scientific labs. Lyndsey Frawley is a specialised VAT advisor and tax litigator, and she represented BT against HMRC in a First-Tier Tribunal claim regarding a refund for overpaid VAT caused by a failure of the UK to implement an EU compliant bad relief regime between 1978 and 1989.


‘Very good set with barristers who are always available and accessible.’

‘The training and webinar support is very valuable.’

‘Excellent clerks who are always available and very responsive.’

‘Efficient clerks.’

39 Essex Chambers

The members at 39 Essex Chambers have substantial experience in a variety of tax-related matters. Timothy Lyons KC represents multinational enterprises, high-net-worth individuals, and the UK and foreign governmental departments, and in direct tax matters, he has particular expertise in international matters. Senior junior Kelly Stricklin-Coutinho is instructed on a wide range of tax disputes, including tax tribunal appeals, High Court claims, and European Commission proceedings. She is also active in taxation disciplinary board cases, including those regarding allegations of VAT fraud.

Blackstone Chambers

Indirect tax is a particular area of expertise for a number of the members of Blackstone Chambers. Sam Grodzinski KC has a well-established and broad tax practice, and his cases often involve elements of public law. The set is also home to Kieron Beal KC, who is regularly instructed in judicial review proceedings regarding tax-related mandates for taxpayers and HMRC. Of recent note, he represented the taxpayer in GB Fleet Hire v HMRC, which overturned the First-Tier Tribunal’s decision to strike out an appeal regarding the refusal to register the taxpayer for VAT.


‘Dean Tolman stands out for his sensible fee propositions and accessibility, and a shout out also to the marketing department for their series aimed at growing awareness of the law profession amongst girls and children from disadvantaged areas in particular, which was very impressive.’

‘The set has excellent depth of skills amongst chambers’ members, and counsel availability is excellent.’

‘Excellent clerking team.’

‘Always have good experiences from the clerks’ room.’