Set Profile > Old Square Tax Chambers > London, England

Chambers of James Kessler QC
Old Square Tax Chambers

Private client: personal tax Tier 2

Most of the members at Old Square Tax Chambers have a heavy private client focus advising extensively on complex UK and offshore matters. James Kessler QC is advising a Greek shipowner whose domicile is being challenged by HMRC. In another highlight, Rory Mullan represented Tony Jimenez in the Court of Appeal in respect of a challenge to the HMRC’s decision to issue an information notice to him in Dubai. That decision has huge implications for the Revenue as regards the manner and means by which it carries out tax investigations. Permission to appeal has been granted by the Supreme Court. With rising stars Mary Ashley and Ross Birkbeck as juniors to watch, the future of chambers looks bright.

Rising stars

Mary Ashley - Old Square Tax ChambersOne to watch at the junior tax Bar.
Ranked: Tier 1
Ross Birkbeck - Old Square Tax ChambersAn up-and-coming junior undertaking good work.
Ranked: Tier 1

Leading Silks

James Kessler QC - Old Square Tax ChambersTechnically superb.
Ranked: Tier 1
Robert Venables QC - Old Square Tax ChambersHe is in a class of his own. Essential for mission critical advice. Very intelligent, innovative, confident, knows his subject, commands respect from the opposition and the court.
Ranked: Tier 3

Leading Juniors

Rory Mullan - Old Square Tax ChambersVery good written work, presents well, good bedside manner and nice to work with.
Ranked: Tier 2

Harriet Brown - Old Square Tax Chambers ‘Is a first-rate tax adviser; intelligent, decisive and eloquent.

Ranked: Tier 3

Tax: corporate and VAT/indirect tax

Tax: corporate - Leading Silks

Robert Venables QC - Old Square Tax ChambersA very intelligent tax silk.
Ranked: Tier 3

Tax: corporate - Leading Juniors

Rory Mullan - Old Square Tax ChambersWrites opinions well and great to work with.
Ranked: Tier 2

Set overviews: England and Wales

OLD SQUARE TAX CHAMBERS is particularly well-known for its work around personal taxation.



Old Square Tax Chambers – we use no other.


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 Harriet is dual qualified, both as a barrister in England and an…
 Patrick Cannon  photo Patrick Cannon Specialises in taxation advice and advocacy, including SDLT and VAT.
 Setu Kamal  photo Setu Kamal Barrister practising in all areas of private client taxation, such as inheritance…
 James Kessler QC photo James Kessler QC Private client tax, particularly foreign domicile tax and charities. Cases include R…
 Rory Mullan  photo Rory Mullan Specialises in both direct and indirect taxes, providing advice on tax planning,…
 Robert Venables QC photo Robert Venables QC All aspects of revenue law, including VAT and tax-related judicial review. Specialities…
 Etienne Wong  photo Etienne Wong All aspects of VAT; direct and indirect tax issues related to outsourcing,…