Customs and excise in London

Baker McKenzie

Baker McKenzie has a strong global and domestic practice that allows the firm to handle complex multi-jurisdictional customs projects. The team has extensive experience in assisting companies with customs and excise investigations, appeals and obtaining favourable rulings from HMRC. Practice head Jennifer Revis offers clients a 'high level of business acumen' and focuses on the public regulation of international trade, specialising in customs, excise and anti-tax evasion mandates. Ben Smith was promoted to partner in July 2020 and focuses on export controls, sanctions and customs advice. Senior associate Jessica Mutton is also praised as 'very skilled and knowledgeable'. Ross Denton left in June 2020 to Ashurst.

Practice head(s):

Jennifer Revis

Other key lawyers:

Ben Smith; Jessica Mutton

Testimonials

Jennifer Revis – very responsive, knowledgeable and experienced. Our first port of call for customs/excise matters within the EU.’

The UK office of Baker has good resources in trade, customs and tax that can address any problem. The group coordinates well and can find resources and specialists as needed for a larger project.’

Jenny Revis provides a very high level of business acumen in customs and tax guidance – not just what the law is but what works within the practical requirements for commercial practices. She is strategic in looking at the problem with a long lens. Jenny also knows strong trade and compliance personnel in her firm, and can bring in resources on a global basis.’

Baker McKenzie makes an effort to understand its clients’ business and challenges, and to provide practical and workable solutions.’

Jessica Mutton and Jenny Revis are both very skilled and knowledgeable attorneys in this area. We have worked extensively with Jessica Mutton regarding Brexit preparations, and she has proven to be a very pragmatic adviser to our company.’

Key clients

Harley Davidson

Take Two Interactive Software Inc

BP Plc

British Airways

Carlsberg

EDF

Work highlights

  • Successfully represented Harley-Davidson in a high-profile trade disruption case that resulted from the US-EU trade war.
  • Advising a major US industrial company on the management and disclosure of serious violations of excise rules relating to industrial alcohol products in a number of countries across the globe, including the UK.
  • Providing a multinational video game and digital entertainment company with advice to operate effectively and efficiently in a post-Brexit environment.

Pinsent Masons LLP

Pinsent Masons LLP covers the full spectrum of customs and excise advice, with in-depth expertise and knowledge of the brewing industry. The team has extensive experience in HMRC investigations and handles a variety of disputes, ranging from issues relating to the classification of imported goods to calculating rates of excise duty on alcoholic beverages and excise duty fraud. Legal director Jake Landman is noted and has strong experience in advising large corporates on protecting against and dealing with fraud in supply chains. In August 2022, former team head Stuart Walsh joined DLA Piper.

Other key lawyers:

Jake Landman

Testimonials

‘Quality advice, flexible, well informed, very responsive, proactive, depth of team.’

Bird & Bird LLP

Bird & Bird LLP's VAT practice advises clients through the entire lifecycle of tax disputes and displays 'great knowledge' of the taxation of alcohol, tobacco and gambling duties. Practice head Andy Brown is 'exceptional' and has a 'wealth of knowledge' when it comes to VAT fraud (including missing trader intra-community fraud), excise duty fraud investigations and litigation. Senior associate Jack Prytherch is 'extremely bright' and has a broad contentious VAT practice.

Practice head(s):

Andy Brown

Other key lawyers:

Jack Prytherch; Chris Young

Testimonials

Andy Brown is exceptional. He has a wealth of knowledge and is highly adept at approaching complex issues in a direct and focussed manner. He has experience of HMRC matters including civil and criminal investigations and proceedings. Jack Prytherch is extremely bright and approaches the legal issues in an ordered and efficient manner. Chris Young provides excellent organisational skills.’

Extremely experienced in cases involving tax investigations and defending revenue prosecutions. Very knowledgeable, good judgment and tactician, a calming influence with clients.’

Very easy to work with, great knowledge of the law, provide an excellent service.’

Andy Brown- exceptionally personable and pragmatic partner. Jack Prythetch- brilliant up and coming associate, very diligent and knowledgeable. Chris Young- another very good, hard-working associate to keep an eye on.’

A strong team with good strategic leadership and very hard working, bright associates focused on delivering practical, cost effective outcomes for clients.’

Key clients

B&M Retail

Plutus (UK) Bulk Store

Kammac plc

Work highlights

  • Advised B&M Retail on its appeals against multi-million pound excise duty assessments and related penalties.
  • Acted for a leading alcohol wholesaler in ground-breaking, multi-million pound claims for overpaid excise duty relating to post duty point dilution.
  • Acted for a UK automotive group in its appeal against a multi-million pound assessment to import VAT and customs duty.

DLA Piper

DLA Piper advises on all aspects of international trade law and has extensive experience and knowledge of customs and excise matters. The team is led by John Forrest, who is an international trade and customs specialist, while Richard Woolich heads up the UK tax practice and has particular expertise in UK and cross-border VAT issues. Paul Hardy leads the work involving Brexit and has a background working in the European Commission in Brussels. Legal director Chloe Barker is also noted and advises clients on trade compliance issues, in particular compliance with EU and UK customs requirements, sanctions and export control restrictions. In August 2022, Stuart Walsh joined from Pinsent Masons LLP.

Practice head(s):

John Forrest; Richard Woolich

Other key lawyers:

Paul Hardy; Chloe Barker

Key clients

CCS Trade Law Panel

Passport Global Inc

Kentucky Fried Chicken (Great Britain) Ltd

International Consolidated Airlines Group S.A

Anixter

Tokyo Electron

Brisko Scaffolding Limited

Deckers Group

Prysmian Powerlink SRL

Circor International, Inc

Heineken

Sykes Seafood Limited

Newell Rubbermaid UK Services Limited

Highlander Partners, L.P.

Work highlights

  • Appointed by the Department for International Trade and the Crown Commercial Service to the UK Government’s Trade Law Panel to provide specialist legal advice and support for international trade law, disputes and negotiations.
  • Supporting KFC in understanding the wider impact of the Brexit deal on KFC’s business operations by advising KFC on the main provisions of the TCA, navigating the changes to KFC’s supply chain between the UK and EU, and considering the impact of the Northern Ireland Protocol on KFC’s Northern Ireland supply chain.
  • Assisting IAG with government affairs advice to identify UK Government policy on transitioning the EU tariffs on US aircrafts into UK law post-Brexit.

PwC LLP

PwC LLP displays a wide range of expertise and experience, handling complex, multi-jurisdictional customs and excise investigations, as well as tax litigation. The team has particular expertise in environmental tax and advises clients on tax-related issues in the energy, waste and construction sectors. David Anderson heads up the practice and has significant experience advising clients on tax matters from a broad range of industries including the manufacturing, retail, social housing and telecoms industries. Jayne Harrold leads the UK environmental tax group and Prinal Nathwani is experienced in managing customs and excise disputes, and handling issues with HMRC.

Practice head(s):

David Anderson

Other key lawyers:

Jayne Harrold; Prinal Nathwani

Testimonials

‘Jayne Harold has provided repeated specialist advice when we appeared to have limited options to get robust support in complex and obtuse part of the legislation. She is able to boil these issues down into layman’s terms and takes the time to really understand our business to ensure her advice is tailored to our situation.’

‘They have a dedicated and specialist team that seems to have intimate knowledge of what we consider obscure parts of C&E legislation. I’ve simply not found another group that I can go to who are immediately up to speed with these rules and the impact they could have in certain situations that could have a material impact on my business.’

Key clients

Aggregate Industries

Work highlights

  • Represented Aggregate Industries in an appeal before the First-tier Tribunal challenging the scope of the relief from aggregates levy available for aggregates used in road construction and asphalt production.
  • Advising on a complex investigation into alleged under-declarations of customs duties, spanning more than 20 jurisdictions and valued between £20m and £40m.
  • Advised a client on the customs valuation method applied by the client on the import of robotics products manufactured by the client in another jurisdiction.

RPC

RPC's customs and excise team is praised as 'one of the best'; clients are advised on work involving customs duties, excise duties, anti-dumping duties, land fill tax and aggregates levies. The team has extensive experience handling HMRC indirect tax investigations and represents corporates and high-net worth individuals. Adam Craggs leads the practice and has particular expertise in handling enquiries and criminal tax investigations, as well as complex group litigation actions. Robert Waterson has an 'outstanding practice' and advises on direct and indirect tax litigation, while Michelle Sloane was promoted to the partnership in May 2020; she specialises in complex tax disputes.

Practice head(s):

Adam Craggs

Other key lawyers:

Robert Waterson; Michelle Sloane

Testimonials

The customs and excise team is one of the best there is and able to put their knowledge of this particular area into a broad legal and fiscal context including both civil and criminal law. They are particularly good at utilising judicial review alongside substantive legal remedies when litigating.’

Robert Waterson has built an outstanding practice with a wide range of clients. He has a very inspiring client manner which is allied to excellent technical ability and a willingness to go the extra mile.’

Michelle Sloane has a particular reputation in relation to matters involved with white collar crime and provides a perspective on client affairs which is much-needed and rarely available.’

RPC are an excellent team whose knowledge of their specialist areas is exceptional and reassuring.’

Whilst being extremely professional and knowledgeable the RPC staff are friendly and approachable. They provide a very human touch in matters that are both complicated and stressful.’

Key clients

Frasers Group PLC (Sports Direct)

Universal Cycles Ltd

Work highlights

  • Representing Frasers Group in a high-profile cross-border tax enquiry involving the Belgian State.
  • Representing Universal Cycles in a high-value dispute regarding Anti-Dumping Duty, Customs Duty and VAT.
  • Advising the members of the Bonded Warehouse Association on customs and excise duty issues.

BCL Solicitors LLP

BCL Solicitors LLP fields a 'strong, knowledgeable team' with an 'excellent track record' representing clients in criminal HMRC cases. Practice head Harry Travers is an 'extremely capable lawyer' and has extensive experience in tax litigation and fraud mandates. The team also includes John Binns, who is praised for his 'sound, commercial advice', and founding and senior partner Ian Burton, who has a strong background in handling high-profile tax investigations.

Practice head(s):

Harry Travers

Other key lawyers:

Ian Burton; John Binns; Greg Mailer; Michael Drury

Testimonials

‘Harry Travers has an excellent analytical mind which serves this practice area very well.’

‘One of the oldest specialist boutiques with strength in depth across the partner and associate rosters. Has an excellent track record in acting in the most high-profile criminal HMRC cases. One of the few firms that combines in-depth tax experience with top-notch criminal expertise.’

‘Harry Travers leads the department with panache. A confident and highly competent strategist who has seen it all. Michael Drury is a pleasure to work with. A sensible, no-nonsense adviser with a manner that charms clients and opponents alike.’

‘BCL Solicitors LLP is a great firm with a great reputation, and I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend them.’

‘Harry Travers is the partner specialising in business crime and regulation and excels in his field.’