Set Profile > Chambers of James Kessler QC > London, England

Chambers of James Kessler QC
Old Square Tax Chambers

Private client: personal tax Tier 2

Most members of OLD SQUARE TAX CHAMBERS undertake a significant amount of major private client work and advise extensively on complicated tax issues both in the UK and offshore. Rory Mullan represented Tony Jimenez in a successful judicial review of HMRC’s decision to issue an information notice to him in Dubai. The decision in R(Jimenez) v HMRC will have significant implications for the revenue over the way it carries out tax investigations.

Leading Silks

James Kessler QC - OLD SQUARE TAX CHAMBERSTechnically he is second to none and he gives clear advice, on which the client can rely.
Ranked: Tier 1

Leading Juniors

Rory Mullan - OLD SQUARE TAX CHAMBERSA tenacious, top-class tax barrister who is very used to litigating challenging cases against HRMC.
Ranked: Tier 2
Harriet Brown - OLD SQUARE TAX CHAMBERSGreat a providing advice to clients in simple terms.
Ranked: Tier 3

Tax: corporate and VAT/indirect tax Tier 2

Tax: corporate - Leading Silks

Robert Venables QC - Old Square Tax ChambersVery intelligent, innovative and confident.
Ranked: Tier 3

Tax: corporate - Leading Juniors

Rory Mullan - Old Square Tax ChambersHe has very good writing skills and his opinion is very readable.
Ranked: Tier 2

Set overviews: England and Wales

OLD SQUARE TAX CHAMBERS is ‘very strong on private client and personal taxation matters’. Solicitors also appreciate the ‘useful seminars throughout the year on specialist tax-related issues’. Senior clerk Cliff Holland, Franco Lombardi, and Adam Blades are ‘personable and responsive’. Offices in: London


Old Square Tax Chambers is an elite set whose members are among the best regarded tax barristers in practice. Members of chambers advise and litigate on tax and trusts matters of all types.

The set: Chambers was founded in 1968. Members are supported by senior clerk, Cliff Holland, who will discuss the likely level of fees before work is done, and will happily advise as to the most suitable member to deal with any particular matter. Chambers’ approach is based on the experience that it is seldom sufficient to advise on a discrete tax question in isolation. All relevant tax considerations must be taken into account, in addition to any other legal constraints and business or personal considerations which may influence a client’s course of action. Members of chambers also write and speak prolifically, including addressing large audiences at its own quarterly seminars on topical issues, including new legislation and important recent cases.

Types of work undertaken: Private client taxation: members counsel clients ranging from long-established families to the best-known entrepreneurs and advise at the high end for both UK and foreign domiciliaries. The team has played a lead role on a number of major matters of first importance over the past year both as regards tax planning and dispute resolution including litigation. The barristers provide coherent and comprehensible advice to private clients in all aspects of their tax affairs. The ability to combine tax advice with trust, succession and charity law expertise makes this a unique resource in the UK market.

Corporate taxation:

Members provide advice on a variety of corporate and business tax matters,  both in relation to owner-managed businesses as well as to larger corporate groups. This includes advising on corporate M&A and reorganisations, financing transactions and corporate real estate investment,  as well as employee remuneration strategies.


VAT: many members of Old Square Tax Chambers provide VAT advice and undertake VAT litigation, including on complex cross-border issues, in respect of structured finance products and for the charitable sector.

International: a cross-border tax offering is a key factor which sets chambers apart from the majority of tax specialists at the UK Bar. As well as advising and litigating international issues in the UK, members of chambers appears in front of Scots and Jersey courts and foreign courts and tribunals including the Court of Justice of the European Union. Recent cases include a landmark decision on the application of double tax treaties to trust taxation.

Criminal and Civil Tax Investigations: Members advise clients caught up in HMRC investigations including COP 9 cases, attendance with clients at interviews under caution, bringing judicial reviews against HMRC concerning APNs and Follower Notices, search and seizure warrants, information notices etc

Stamp Duty Land Tax and Property Taxes: members advise on SDLT and litigate stamp taxes appeals in the tax tribunals and advise on all aspects of the taxation of real estate including capital allowances and VAT

Publications: members are sought out as thought leaders and have written a significant number of leading textbooks, including the following: Drafting Trusts & Will Trusts; The GAAR: A Practical Approach; Individual Tax Residence; The Interaction of EU Treaty Freedoms and the UK Tax Code; The Jersey Law of Trusts; Taxation of Charities and Nonprofit Organisations; Taxation of Foundations; Taxation of Non-Residents and Foreign Domiciliaries; Taxation of Trusts and Tolley’s Stamp Taxes. .


Department Name Email Telephone
Senior clerk Cliff Holland
Members of Chambers Robert Venables QC (1973)
Members of Chambers James Kessler QC (1984)
Members of Chambers Philip Simpson QC (2001)
Members of Chambers Patrick Cannon (1984)
Members of Chambers Etienne Wong (Solictor 1991, Bar 2014)
Members of Chambers Rory Mullan (2000)
Members of Chambers Setu Kamal (2004)
Members of Chambers Harriet Brown (2005)
Members of Chambers Patrick Boch (Solictor 2014, Bar 2008)
Members of Chambers Mary Ashley (2014)
Members of Chambers Sarah Squires (Solictor 1991, Bar 2017)
Members of Chambers Ross Birkbeck (2015)
Rebecca Sheldon (2017)
Photo Name Position Profile
 Harriet Brown  photo Harriet Brown
 Patrick Cannon  photo Patrick Cannon
 Setu Kamal  photo Setu Kamal
 James Kessler QC photo James Kessler QC
 Rory Mullan  photo Rory Mullan
 Robert Venables QC photo Robert Venables QC
 Etienne Wong  photo Etienne Wong