Undoubtedly the biggest and best tax set in London.

Legal 500, 2018

  • Chambers Global

    THE SET

    Pump Court Tax remains the foremost private client tax set in England and Wales. Barristers can assist on all types of matters, such as tax planning, trusts and estates, inheritance tax (IHT) and capital gains tax (CGT). Sources say it is “the best in town for tax work” and that “it has more of an emphasis on private client than any other of the sets.” One source comments: “They are our favourite chambers for tax. They really have moved with the times and have a very proactive, friendly and collaborative manner.” Other interviewees say it is “a first-rate chambers. They are a large set and cover everything that I need,” adding: “You know what you’re getting and that is top quality. They are brilliant at dealing with ultra-complex work and always get an efficient response.” One market insider adds: “There is a depth and breadth there that you can’t find anywhere else. So many members of the chambers have been involved in the leading tax cases.”

    Client service: The clerks at Pump Court, led by Nigel Jones, are especially well regarded. One interviewee enthuses: “The clerks are all extremely helpful and easy to deal with. They are very responsive and user-friendly. I can’t think of a single instance when I haven’t been completely happy. They will always try to fit you in and make sure their barristers are delivering on time.”

    SILKS

    William Massey QC
    Best known for his private client work, with his expertise lying in trust and estate tax planning, business and agricultural property relief, heritage property and exemption. Massey’s work on complex trust and inheritance tax issues is especially noted.
    Strengths: “William is definitely frontline for IHT. When I’ve got William’s advice I will always take my time to read it carefully. He’s also very flexible, I can ring him whenever I need to and he’s always got time for the job because he’s innately interested in what he’s doing, and it shows.” “I always use him for complex matters. He is extremely thorough and learned but puts things into easily understandable language.”
    Recent work: Appeared in DC v AC, a Variation of Trusts Act case, where he succeeded in an application to extend the trust period to mitigate CGT and IHT liabilities.

    Kevin Prosser QC
    Prosser often acts on highly complex income tax and employee benefit trust (EBT) cases in the appellate courts. He also has experience on double taxation matters and sits as a deputy High Court judge.
    Strengths: “One of the best, if not the very best tax QC at the English Bar. He provides concise, technical advice in a very commercial, pragmatic manner.” “Outstanding and extraordinarily good on his feet. He is very responsive, razor sharp, and a very bright man.”
    Recent work: Acted for the taxpayer in Blackwell v HMRC, a CGT case concerning the deduction of fees against the gains from selling shares.

    David Ewart QC
    Highlighted for his work on behalf of the Revenue but also represents private clients in complex tax cases. He often advises on inheritance tax planning matters and family limited partnerships, and he has handled film finance scheme cases recently as well.
    Strengths: “He’s very clever and technically impressive.” “Extremely practical, highly intelligent and very talented.”
    Recent work: Represented the taxpayer in an IHT case involving an excluded property trust settled by a non-domicile, who later became UK-domiciled and then left the country again. The key question was whether the property had lost its IHT-exempt status permanently or whether it had regained it after the taxpayer moved away again.

    JUNIORS

    Emma Chamberlain
    A supremely respected junior, with a huge reputation for her private client expertise. Specialises in tax and trust advice, particularly on offshore trust structures, for high net worth individuals.
    Strengths: “Remains the go-to person at the private client tax Bar. She has the ear of the HMRC and, where other barristers merely assert their opinion, she tells you what HMRC’s view really is.” “She is one of the best in the UK. She is very direct and you can really see the wood through the trees. She is very good at working through reams of complex detail and at co-ordinating all third parties, like lawyers and accountants, to work as a cohesive team.”
    Recent work: Represented the taxpayer in James Glyn v HMRC, a complex residence case.

    James Rivett
    Regarded by sources as a personable and impressive advocate who is in high demand. Rivett has particular expertise in the often arcane world of variation of trust, and he is also an expert in heritage property matters for landed estates.
    Strengths: “There doesn’t seem to be any aspect of tax that James Rivett hasn’t mastered. One always feels he is very much on your side in trying to find a solution without taking silly risks, but he doesn’t shirk the difficult message.” “He really knows what he is doing. He can translate sophisticated legal issues to the layman.”
    Recent work: Acted for the Revenue in Shiner & Sheinman v HMRC. At issue was the compatibility with EU personal rights of retrospective application of the closure of a tax loophole.

    Elizabeth Wilson
    Practises in all areas of tax law. She has particular experience in APR and BPR cases, offshore trusts, partnerships and non-domiciliary tax planning.
    Strengths: “Very precise and clear in her advice.” “Highly technically competent, and has done some big cases for the Revenue.”
    Recent work: Appeared for the Revenue in Re Staveley Deceased, an Upper Tribunal IHT case.

    Richard Vallat
    A highly regarded tax barrister, who specialises in advising on offshore trusts, domiciled issues and tax planning for ultra high net worth individuals.
    Strengths: “Highly competent and good at explaining complex matters in layman’s language.” “A formidable opponent. Charming outside court and very much fights his corner in court.”
    Recent work: Acted for HMRC in a conjoined income tax appeal before the Supreme Court, concerning the tax treatment of two complex employee share bonus schemes.

    Laura Poots
    Particular expertise in offshore trust and family partnership structuring and domicile matters.
    Strengths: “She is always happy to discuss problems, responds very promptly and her advice is sound.” “Her written advice is clear and precise and a joy to read.”

    Ian Richards
    A highly regarded tax barrister, who specialises in advising on offshore trusts, domiciled issues and tax planning for ultra high net worth individuals.
    Strengths: “He’s very knowledgeable and careful, and drafts beautifully.”

  • Chambers & Partners

    Tax: 

    Band 1

    Pump Court Tax Chambers is a market-leading set specialising in all manner of complex tax cases. Chambers boasts a deep and broad bench of members who act for both the Revenue and the taxpayer. Individuals here are frequently involved in cases at all levels of the judiciary, which concern such issues as corporate taxes, film schemes, employment and payroll taxes, diverted profits and transfer pricing, among others. The set has recently been involved in the Franked Investment Income GLO, the most important test case to challenge the UK’s legislation on the taxation of dividends paid into the UK by foreign subsidiaries of UK companies.

    Client service“Nigel Jones, the senior clerk, is amazing – you can trust him implicitly and he always puts you in touch with the right person.” “The clerks are very good because they are consistent. Nigel runs a very efficient team.”

    Barbara Belgrano
    Accomplished junior experienced in a wide range of complex corporate tax cases. She acts for the taxpayer and HMRC in cases involving tax schemes, double tax treaties and group litigation relating to the taxation of dividends.
    Strengths: “Absolutely terrific” and “really thorough in her research.”
    Recent work: Acted in Cape Industrial Services and Another v HMRC, a case about a tax avoidance scheme which exploited perceived loopholes in existing tax legislation.
    Ranked: Band 3

    David Ewart QC
    Handles some of HMRC’s most important test cases, and also regularly represents the Revenue in group litigation. He further acts for taxpayers on significant matters in an advisory capacity and in court. Clients include accountants and multinational corporations. Ewart has undertaken an interesting selection of matters including those concerning film finance schemes, double tax treaties and corporate restructurings.
    Strengths: “His ability to grasp complicated structures quickly is impressive.” “He has a very easy manner which goes down well with clients.”
    Recent work: Acted in proceedings relating to the Franked Investment Income Group Litigation Order. The case considered whether dividends paid into the UK from a foreign subsidiary are subject to UK taxation.
    Ranked: Band 1

    David Milne QC
    An iconic presence at the Tax Bar who is highly sought after for his expertise in both the contentious and non-contentious sides. He acts for both the taxpayer and the Revenue. His advisory practice includes assisting with high-profile M&A transactions and reorganisations. He regularly handles Supreme Court and ECJ briefs.
    Strengths: “A very smooth and effective advocate.” “He is one of the most collaborative and easygoing barristers you could have a dialogue with.”
    Recent work: Acted for the Revenue in GDF Suez Teesside v HMRC, a case concerning loan relationship rules.
    Ranked: Star Individual

    David Yates QC
    Highly regarded barrister who acts for the taxpayer and HMRC in a broad range of cases including significant group litigation orders. He advises on matters including cross-border dividends and double taxation agreements, and has niche expertise in advising insurers on tax-related professional negligence matters.
    Strengths“A very smooth advocate who is excellent in every way.” “Extremely competent and great to work with.”
    Recent work: Acted for Credit Suisse in a case challenging the short-lived Bank Payroll Tax.
    Ranked: Band 3

    Edward Waldegrave
    Well-known tax law barrister who acts in a range of complex cases for the taxpayer. He has recently handled cases concerning film scheme taxation and judicial reviews relating to payroll taxes.
    Strengths: “Pleasant to deal with and very bright.” “He is very hard-working and has a really good grasp of large, complex cases.”
    Recent work: Recently worked with David Milne QC in Ingenious Film Partners v HMRC, a case concerning a film finance scheme.
    Ranked: Up and Coming

    Elizabeth Wilson
    Well-regarded junior who acts for both the taxpayer and the Revenue. Her corporate tax caseload spans a range of matters, from employment tax to capital gains tax. She is experienced in handling cases that touch on EU law.
    Strengths: “She is very effective and excellent on technical points.”
    Recent work: Acted in Unicorn Tankships v HMRC, a case concerning the capital allowance consequences of exiting the tonnage tax regime.
    Ranked: Band 2

    Giles Goodfellow QC
    An expert on income tax and employee benefits matters, who regularly provides advice on corporate reorganisations, tax-related professional negligence and tax schemes. He acts for both the Revenue and taxpayers, and is noted for his knowledge of the Managed Service Company legislation.
    Strengths: “A very constructive barrister who is full of ideas and helpful suggestions. Working with him is always a positive experience.”
    Recent work: Acted in Chrisitanuyi and Others v HMRC, a case testing the interpretation and application of the Managed Service Company legislation.
    Ranked: Band 2

    James Henderson
    Junior counsel on some of the most significant corporate tax cases of recent years. He also has a thriving advisory practice and receives regular instructions in cases regarding business reorganisations. Henderson has sound knowledge of transfer pricing and the Diverted Profits Tax rules.
    Strengths: “A charming man and a clear thinker. Nothing gets past him.”
    Recent work: Acted in Glencore Energy UK v HMRC, the leading case on Diverted Profits Tax.
    Ranked: Band 1

    James Rivett QC
    Has a broad-based corporate tax practice and regularly appears in major cases relating to matters such as tax schemes, double tax treaties and manufactured overseas dividends. He represents both the Revenue and the taxpayer.
    Strengths: “He is very pleasant and his written work is good.” “A very effective and knowledgeable individual.”
    Recent work: Acted for the taxpayer in a case in the Upper Tribunal. This was a group litigation challenge to the UK’s Corporate Manufactured Overseas Dividend Scheme.
    Ranked: Band 3

    Jeremy Woolf
    Senior junior with extensive experience in a range of complex corporate tax litigation and advisory mandates. He is particularly strong on income tax, corporate restructuring and employee benefit trusts issues. Woolf is also knowledgeable about judicial reviews and tax-related human rights matters.
    Strengths: “Very bright and a highly capable performer.”
    Ranked: Band 1

    Kevin Prosser QC
    A pre-eminent silk who acts for the Revenue and taxpayers on a range of tax issues, including challenges to major schemes. He has appeared at all levels of court and also maintains a highly respected advisory practice covering such areas as the Diverted Profits Tax and transfer pricing.
    Strengths: “Incredibly bright and knows tax inside out.” “He is very confident at dealing with the most difficult questions and highly impressive.”
    Recent work: Acted for the taxpayer in Credit Suisse v HMRC, a case which challenged HMRC tax assessments relating to the short-lived Bank Payroll Tax.
    Ranked: Star Individual

    Michael Thomas
    Taxpayer-side practitioner with a broad-based advisory and contentious tax practice, spanning business tax, indirect taxes and private client matters. He is particularly well versed in property tax matters, including stamp duty, and is an expert on corporate tax and tax treaties. Thomas is notable for the fact that during his first 13 years at the Bar he did not lose a case for either a taxpayer or any party to a civil claim where he had conduct at first instance.
    Strengths: “He gives excellent technical advice and provides commercial and pragmatic solutions.” “He is very knowledgeable, responsive and user-friendly.”
    Recent work: Advised on the issue of treaty relief for offshore investors and developers looking to invest in the UK.
    Ranked: Band 1

    Richard Vallat QC
    Frequently acts for HMRC on challenges to avoidance schemes and is an expert on corporate tax and capital allowances issues. He takes instructions on the taxpayer side in cases concerning corporate tax schemes, employee benefit trusts and tax-related professional negligence. He also acts in contractual disputes.
    Strengths: “Technically excellent and a man who provides prompt and practically-grounded lines of argument.” “He is very personable and his advocacy is very clear.”
    Recent work: Successfully acted for HMRC in Ardmore Construction v HMRC, a case concerning the question of where, in a certain transaction, the interest arises for corporate tax purposes.
    Ranked: Band 2

    Roger Thomas QC
    Has extensive experience of handling challenging corporate tax matters before the highest courts. His particular area of expertise is stamp duty, and he is regularly instructed in the most complex SDLT and SDRT cases. He acts for a diverse set of clients including accountants, City firms, museums and political parties.
    Strengths: “An excellent counsel with swift response times, who offers clear advice.” “Very good in conference with clients.
    Recent work: Successfully acted in Tinkler v HMRC, a Court of Appeal case looking at whether HMRC had effectively opened an enquiry when they failed to send a notice of enquiry to the taxpayer and only sent a copy notice to the taxpayer’s agent ‘for information’.
    Ranked: Band 3

    Rupert Baldry QC
    Although best known for HMRC work, he also has an impressive taxpayer practice and has handled a number of group litigations. Many of his cases involve transfers between international arms of multinational businesses, and deal with issues such as loans to foreign subsidiaries, double taxation treaties and the taxation of foreign dividends.
    Strengths: “Excellent on the technical front, he offers really good analysis and is someone you can have sensible discussions with.” “He conducts litigation very fairly.”
    Recent work: Acted in the Franked Investment Income GLO, the most important test case to challenge the UK’s legislation on the taxation of dividends paid into the UK by foreign subsidiaries of UK companies.
    Ranked: Band 2

    Thomas Chacko
    Has developed an impressive and broad-ranging corporate tax practice. He has a growing reputation in employment tax matters, and has experience of cases involving partnership structures.
    Strengths“A highly able junior with a good intellect.”
    Recent work: Acted in HFFX v HMRC, a case testing the partnership taxation regime as it applies to hedge fund deferred remuneration.
    Ranked: Band 3

    Zizhen Yang
    Appears with leading silks in major litigation and also handles her own cases unled. She has wide-ranging corporate tax expertise and has appeared in matters regarding tax schemes, business reorganisations, loan relationships and derivative contracts. She acts for both HMRC and the taxpayer.
    Strengths: “Incredibly hard-working and has all the technical skills required. She is incredibly industrious and does a lot of the heavy lifting in a case.”
    Recent work: Acted in DMWSHNZ v HMRC, a case concerning the construction of Section 171A of the Taxation of Chargeable Gains Act 1992, which governs the transfer of assets between group companies.
    Ranked: Band 3

    Tax: Indirect

    Band 1

    A specialist tax set known for its deep bench and extensive coverage of the indirect tax sector. It has a wealth of members able to advise a range of high-profile clients and government agencies on highly complex matters relating to VAT, landfill tax, customs and excise duties, stamp taxes, input and exit charges and judicial reviews relating to EU VAT law. Members frequently appear in both domestic and European courts in high-stakes and precedent-setting cases.

    Client service: “The clerks are very polite and quick to respond.” Nigel Jones is the senior clerk.

    Andrew Hitchmough QC
    An indirect tax specialist who attracts attention for his vast expertise in the area. He has represented the taxpayer and HMRC in some of the most high-profile VAT cases of recent years. Hitchmough also has knowledge of the laws surrounding other indirect taxes such as gaming duty, and is noted for excelling in cases that involve banking and accounting law.
    Strengths: “He is a strong advocate and is intellectually rigorous.” “Thorough in terms of his preparation, he is very knowledgeable on indirect tax.”
    Recent work: Acted in BlackRock Investment Management v HMRC, a case relating to the electronic supply of fund management services and the scope of VAT exemptions under EU law.
    Ranked: Star Individual

    Barbara Belgrano
    Increasingly prominent junior who regularly acts in a wide range of cases regarding indirect tax matters. She appears in cases right from the First-tier Tribunal all the way up to the ECJ. Belgrano has recently appeared on a range of gaming duty, VAT and SDLT cases.
    Strengths: “Incredibly into the detail, she makes good, technically substantive points.” “Always gets to the heart of a matter and has deep insight into the case.”
    Recent work: Acted in University of Cambridge v HMRC, a case concerning VAT on endowment fees.
    Ranked: Up and Coming

    David Milne QC
    An excellent advocate whose indirect tax practice includes both complex advisory work and high-value litigation. He is frequently trusted with the most high-profile and substantial cases, and he has represented clients before both the ECJ and the Supreme Court. He has impressive knowledge of the EU’s VAT regulations.
    Strengths: “He has considerable experience and offers incisive advice on intricate tax matters.”
    Recent work: Acted for Gray & Farrar International in a VAT case concerning the supply of services.
    Ranked: Star Individual

    David Yates QC
    Acts for both the taxpayer and HMRC on a broad range of indirect tax mandates including those relating to stamp duty and landfill tax. He is further adept at handling matters involving VAT and customs and excise duties.
    Strengths: “Very good, calm in court and particularly tenacious.” “He is excellent commercially and doesn’t hide from difficult points.”
    Recent work: Acted in Veolia v HMRC, a significant landfill tax appeal.
    Ranked: Band 3

    James Henderson
    Offers impressive indirect tax expertise within his overall broad tax practice. Although experienced in all areas of indirect tax, he is particularly well versed in complex VAT matters. Henderson has experience of acting for clients at all levels domestically, including the Supreme Court, and has also appeared before the CJEU.
    Strengths: “Although a junior he does silk-quality work, which makes him great value for money.”
    Ranked: Band 3

    James Rivett QC
    Has a growing indirect tax practice with a particular expertise in VAT, and often appears before the Upper Tribunal. He acts for the taxpayer in leading cases and is often called upon to advise on extremely complex matters.
    Strengths: “A very practical man who completely understands the situation from the solicitor’s point of view.”
    Ranked: Band 3

    Jeremy White
    A specialist in customs duties and excise cases who is particularly experienced in the classification of goods. He has vast knowledge of trade barriers, appearing regularly in the ECJ in cases involving numerous international customs authorities. He regularly acts for well-known multinational clients.
    Strengths: “Combines a vast retention of technical knowledge with a sharp mind and exceptional intelligence.”
    Recent work: Acted in Asiana v HMRC, an excise duty case concerning whether cooking products containing alcohol attracted liability for spirits duty.
    Ranked: Band 2

    Kevin Prosser QC
    Head of chambers, who advises high-profile individuals and companies on complex direct and indirect tax issues stemming from corporate transactions. He is praised for his breadth of knowledge across VAT, input tax and zero-rating, among other areas. Prosser often conducts appellate advocacy in the highest UK and EU courts, and is noted for the highly effective advice he dispenses to corporations.
    Strengths: “Good at using the right tone and pace in oral advocacy.” “Very approachable and flexible, he is prepared to listen to people’s opinions and discuss them.”
    Recent work: Acted in N Brown Group v HMRC, a case concerning the amount of input tax to be reclaimed on the supply of mail-order clothing on credit.
    Ranked: Star Individual

    Laura Poots
    A rising junior with wide experience of advising the taxpayer and the Revenue in indirect tax cases. She is particularly noted for her expertise in VAT, and has handled a number of cases involving the exemption for special investment funds.
    Strengths“She is terrifyingly clever and happy to get into the details.” “I am always impressed by how collegial she is.”
    Recent work: Acted in Rank Group v HMRC, a case concerning a £67 million reclaim for VAT.
    Ranked: Band 3

    Michael Thomas
    Has a broad tax practice that takes in business tax, VAT and private client work. Specialising in representing the taxpayer, he is noted for his particular expertise in property tax.
    Strengths: “Has a strong practice in relation to property law.” “He knows how things work and how they are structured.”
    Recent work: Acted in Hannover Leasing v HRMC, a case concerning the application of Stamp Duty Land Tax anti-avoidance rules.
    Ranked: Band 1

    Richard Vallat QC
    Regularly advises and acts for companies in a number of significant indirect tax matters. He is deeply experienced in complex VAT and stamp duty cases. He is particularly strong in assisting charities and trusts with their tax issues.
    Strengths: “He takes a very practical approach and has the ability to explain matters both to clients and to other professionals. He is particularly impressive in conference.”
    Recent work: Acted in Serpentine Trust v HMRC, a case concerning the correct tax treatment of donations made under a friends’ scheme operated by the trust.
    Ranked: Band 3

    Roger Thomas QC
    Experienced practitioner who is highly praised for assisting charities with their indirect tax needs. He is very well versed in matters involving Stamp Duty Land Tax, and is experienced in representing clients in both the Supreme Court and CJEU. He often acts in major VAT cases involving input tax and zero-rating.
    Strengths: “Intellectually impressive and exceptionally highly motivated to produce the best possible work. He is commercially aware and responsive.”
    Recent work: Acted in Project Blue v HMRC, a case concerning Stamp Duty Land Tax exemptions.
    Ranked: Band 1

    Rupert Baldry QC
    Has a broad range of expertise in indirect tax matters, including those relating to VAT, stamp duty, customs and excise duties and the aggregates levy. He undertakes advisory and litigation work both for the Revenue and the taxpayer.
    Strengths: “A very fair opponent who charms judges and doesn’t make silly points.”
    Recent work: Acted in Jazztel v HMRC, a case looking at the alleged incompatibility of features of the UK’s stamp duty regime with European legislation.
    Ranked: Band 2

    Zizhen Yang
    A junior with experience across indirect tax, who has particular strength in VAT and landfill tax cases. She frequently represents the taxpayer in a variety of high-profile cases.
    Strengths: “Brilliant, bright, hard-working and focused.”
    Ranked: Band 2

    Tax: Private Client

    Band 1

    Pump Court Tax Chambers is highly regarded as “the pre-eminent tax set in the UK.” Members handle a wide array of domestic and international private client tax cases including those concerning inheritance tax planning, residence and domicile matters and trust reorganisations, among other issues. Sources note that “this is definitely the go-to set for technical tax advice.” “It is a very strong team and a leader in the field for tax.”
     
    Client service: Rob Adams is the deputy team leader. “Rob provides a good point of contact and is particularly helpful on VAT procedure. He does all he can to ensure timescales are met.” Nigel Jones is the senior clerk.

    David Ewart QC
    Regarded for his work in both contentious and non-contentious matters, he is instructed by both taxpayers and the Revenue. He is sought after for inheritance tax work and other highly complex issues.
    Strengths: “He is a very experienced litigator who is formidable in court.” “He is very thorough and he will put points in a low-key way, so they creep up on you.”
    Recent work: Acted for the taxpayer in R (On the Application of Locke) v HMRC, a case concerning whether, and under what circumstances, Accelerated Payment Notices and Follower Notices should be issued.
    Ranked: Band 2

    David Yates QC
    New silk with a strong reputation at the Tax Bar. He is known for his detailed approach and is regularly instructed both by taxpayers and by HMRC.
    Strengths: “He is someone who is very thorough; he knows the case inside out and back to front and he is never caught out by unexpected surprises. He is a very good advocate.”
    Recent work: Acted in Routier & Venables v HMRC, a case concerning inheritance tax in the context of charitable giving.
    Ranked: Band 2

    Elizabeth Wilson
    Highly respected junior with a broad and successful private client tax practice. She is noted for her work for HMRC but also frequently represents taxpayers. She has particular experience in APR and BPR cases, offshore trusts, partnerships and non-domiciliary tax planning.
    Strengths: “She possesses a lot of knowledge about inheritance tax, writes really well and is articulate.” “She is incredibly sharp and practical.”
    Recent work: Acted in Hancock v HMRC, a Supreme Court case considering the true interpretation of Section 116 of the Taxation of Chargeable Gains Act 1992.
    Ranked: Band 1

    Emma Chamberlain
    An exceptionally well-known and highly respected tax junior with an impressive reputation for her handling of tax and trust advice. She is a particularly fine choice of counsel for offshore matters and is regularly trusted by high net worth individuals. Such is her standing that she was recently awarded an OBE for ‘services to government tax policy’.
    Strengths: “She is enormously knowledgeable. Emma is a genius; she knows more than almost anyone about trusts and tax.”
    Recent work: Acted for the estate in Shelford (Executors of J Herbert deceased) v HMRC, a test case on the home loan scheme which was a strategy to save inheritance tax.
    Ranked: Star Individual

    James Rivett QC
    A personable and impressive advocate who is in high demand, Rivett has particular expertise in the often arcane world of variation of trust, and he is also an expert in heritage property matters for landed estates.
    Strengths: “James is excellent. He is very personable and a clear advocate.”
    Recent work: Acted in Ingenious Film Partners v HMRC, the largest and most high-profile film finance tax scheme case.
    Ranked: Band 2

    Kevin Prosser QC
    Often acts in the most highly complex and high-value matters across the full scope of private client tax work. He appears in income tax and employee benefit trust cases in the appellate courts, and also has experience in double taxation matters. Prosser sits as a deputy High Court judge.
    Strengths: “Kevin is brilliant; he is extremely clever and gives extremely robust tax advice. You feel very safe with him as he knows exactly what to do. He knows the law and is incredibly robust.”
    Recent work: Acted in W Reeves v HMRC, a case concerning a taxpayer who was a UK resident member of an LLP and who had transferred his interest to a UK resident company in which he held all of the shares. The matter concerned holdover relief from Capital Gains Tax under Section 165 of the CGA.
    Ranked: Star Individual

    Laura Poots
    Has particular expertise in offshore trust and family partnership structuring and domicile matters.
    Strengths: “She is incredibly clear, good at setting expectations and good at outlining the next steps. She is very good technically, but also very good at spotting those things that lots of people wouldn’t think of.”
    Recent work: Acted for HMRC in a significant case concerning the tax status of loyalty bonuses paid out by the UK’s biggest investment platform, Hargreaves Lansdown.
    Ranked: Band 3

    Richard Vallat QC
    Practises in all areas of private client tax work, with a particular emphasis on offshore trusts, tax planning and cross-border and domicile issues. He is regularly sought after by high net worth individuals.
    Strengths: “He gives pragmatic and sensible advice and does a very good job.” “Good, thorough and fair, he is a pleasure to be against and very amenable.”
    Recent work: Acted in Ingenious Film Partners v HMRC, the largest and most high-profile film finance tax scheme case.
    Ranked: Band 2

    William Massey QC
    Exceptionally well-known and highly respected silk with a commanding reputation at the Tax Bar. He is sought after for the most complex and high-value work, including planning, trusts and estate matters.
    Strengths: “He is an incredibly safe pair of hands who is very reassuring. He is the most knowledgeable person around for landed estates work.”
    Recent work: Acted for the estate in Shelford (Executors of J Herbert deceased) v HMRC, a test case on the home loan scheme which was a strategy to save inheritance tax..
    Ranked: Star Individual

    Agriculture & Rural Affairs

    William Massey QC
    Recognised as the leading expert on the tax aspects specific to landed estates and agricultural land. He is particularly well known for his work on matters concerning heritage property and the succession of farms and estates. Peers further acknowledge his in-depth knowledge of business assets requiring agricultural relief.
    Strengths: “He is a go-to man on agricultural tax.” “He has a very attractive advocacy style and exudes quiet confidence.”
    Ranked: Band 1

    Family/Matrimonial: Trusts/Tax Experts

    James Rivett QC
    Acts in contentious financial remedy cases involving complex foreign trusts with accompanying tax issues.
    Strengths: “The person you go to for a tax issue in the family area. He is extremely personable, gets straight to the point and gives incredibly clear advice.”
    Ranked: Band 1

    Professional Negligence

    David Yates QC
    Has a niche specialism in tax and finance-focused professional negligence claims, which is greatly enhanced by his former career as a financial analyst. He has advised on a wide range of financial claims relating to film finance schemes and offshore trusts, as well as faulty tax, accountancy and legal advice. He is often sought out by defendant insurers.
    Strengths: “I would never hesitate to recommend him for complicated tax-related matters. He’s very efficient and hard-working, and incredibly dedicated.” “He has enormous tax expertise and for anything tax-related he is on speed dial. He is absolutely terrific and he has excellent judgement.”
    Recent work: Acted for Coutts in defending claims forming part of the Ingenious film finance litigation.
    Ranked: Band 4

     

  • Chambers & Partners HNW

    Pump Court Tax is widely regarded as “the pre-eminent tax set in the UK.” One lawyer says that “they are definitely the go-to set for technical tax advice,” adding: “They have some seriously able people.” Another source comments: “They are a very strong team and leaders in the field for tax.”

    David Ewart QC acts for both HMRC and high net worth clients on tax matters including IHT planning. One fellow barrister notes: “He is a very experienced litigator, I would go to him for court work; in court, he is formidable.” Another industry source describes him as “a very able barrister,” continuing: “He is very thorough and he will put points in a low-key way, so they creep up on you. The effectiveness of his advocacy is very understated.”

    David Yates QC One instructing solicitor comments: “He is a great guy. He is someone who is very thorough – he knows the case inside out and back to front and he is never caught out by unexpected surprises. He is a very good advocate.” Another source comments: “It’s nice to be in court against someone like David. He is very clear and concise.”
     
    Elizabeth Wilson is often instructed by HMRC, and also has expertise on Inheritance Tax matters. One source notes that “she has a lot of knowledge about Inheritance Tax,” adding: “She writes really well and is quite articulate.” An instructing solicitor enthuses: “I am a great fan of hers. She doesn’t sugar-coat things; she tells you how it is.” Another source says: “She is incredibly sharp and very practical.”
     
    Emma Chamberlain has a fantastic reputation in the market as a senior junior, with one fellow barrister enthusing: “Emma is a real star. She is probably the best junior in the world – she is the best junior for private client work.” The source continues: “She is enormously knowledgeable. Emma is a genius; she knows more than anyone does about trusts and tax.”
     
    James Rivett QC has a strong private client tax advisory and litigation practice, and also acts for the Revenue. “He has a wonderful manner about him,” says one industry source, while another source describes him as “very articulate” and “very bright.” Several interviewees comment on his advocacy style, with one interviewee observing: “James is excellent. He is very personable and a clear advocate.”
     
    Kevin Prosser QC is highly rated at the Bar. One fellow barrister remarks: “He is obviously truly excellent, one of the best lawyers around. There are not many that are better than him.” An instructing solicitor notes that “Kevin is brilliant; he is extremely clever and gives extremely robust tax advice,” continuing: “You feel very safe with him, he knows exactly what to do, he knows the law and is incredibly robust. You’re never left with any doubts when you instruct him.” Another source states: “He is astoundingly good, extraordinarily quick on the uptake and he always hits the spot.”

    Laura Poots is often instructed by HMRC. She is described as “absolutely brilliant” by a fellow barrister, who continues: “She is incredibly clear, good at setting expectations and good at outlining the next steps. I think she is very good technically, but she is also very good at spotting those things that lots of people wouldn’t think of.” Another source reports: “She is very efficient and effective; she is great to be against and a sensible opponent.”

    Richard Vallat QC is well regarded in the market for his tax practice. One source comments: “He has a wide-ranging knowledge of private client tax issues.” A fellow barrister notes that “he gave pragmatic and sensible advice; he did a very good job,” adding: “I have nothing but praise for him.” Another interviewee says: “I think he is good, thorough and fair. He is a pleasure to be against and very amenable. I would recommend him.”

    William Massey QC is described by one source as “someone everyone looks up to – a real doyen of the private client world.” The source continues: “He is an incredibly safe pair of hands, very reassuring; and in his core area, which is landed estates work, he is the most knowledgeable person around.” Several interviewees praise Massey for his expertise on Inheritance Tax matters, especially regarding landed estates. One interviewee states: “There is literally no one at the Bar or a law firm with his knowledge of taxation of landed estates.” Another interviewee comments: “His strengths are his expertise on IHT, which is second to none, his ability to make complex issues understandable, his approachability and sense of humour.”

  • Legal 500

    PRIVATE CLIENT: PERSONAL TAX TIER 1
    Pump Court Tax Chambers is variously described as ‘absolutely first-rate‘ and a ‘very strong set with a significant spread of expertise with enviable strength in depth throughout.’ The set is also lauded for its ‘collegiate atmosphere and environment where members can discuss and check things with each other.’ The ‘strong juniors and seniors who are all top quality’ handle a wide range of work from offshore and onshore trust reorganisations to IHT. Other strengths include advising on CGT, residency and domicile issues, as well as entrepreneur’s relief. In recent highlights, William Massey QC advised a family member in Somerset v Fitzgerald [2019] EWHC 726 (Ch) on a successful application under the Variation of Trusts Act 1958. Significantly the High Court approved various matters to extend the trust and perpetuity period and the variation of certain terms of the trust. With her ‘impressive analytical abilities’Emma Pearce is noted as a rising star of the tax Bar.

    Rising stars

    Emma Pearce‘Is very thorough and precise in her work and it is always of a very high quality. She will always think through every possible permutation of a tax issue and one is completely confident that she has considered all the angles when she presents her findings.’
    Ranked: Tier 1

    Leading Silks

    William Massey QC ‘Is a superb UK inheritance tax silk.’
    Ranked: Tier 1

    Kevin Prosser QC – ‘Solves problems extremely quickly.’
    Ranked: Tier 1

    David Ewart QC – ‘Very quick to get at the issue.’
    Ranked: Tier 1

    Rupert Baldry QC‘Is clear and understandable even on difficult and complex tax points and, although confident in terms of advice, he is not overly bullish.’
    Ranked: Tier 2

    Giles Goodfellow QC – ‘Thinks creatively to find solutions.’
    Ranked: Tier 2

    John Tallon QC –  ‘Is excellent at solving problems.’
    Ranked: Tier 2

    Richard Vallat QC – ‘Provides very clear and practical guidance. He has a thorough knowledge of the law and its implications.’
    Ranked: Tier 3

    2019 Silks

    James Rivett QC‘Approachable, engages really well with lay clients (makes the law interesting and relevant to them), engenders a great partnership with the solicitor as he is always happy for us to ring up with questions later.’

    David Yates QC –  ‘Absolutely brilliant mind, incisive, decisive, superb recall of case law, and he really impresses in consultations.’

    Leading Juniors

    Emma Chamberlain‘Is the barrister who actually knows what she is talking about and doesn’t get lost down technical rabbit-holes. She will actually tell you the right answer.’
    Ranked: Tier 1

    Elizabeth Wilson ‘Provides clear advice.’
    Ranked: Tier 1

    Thomas Chacko‘Has a good analytical mind, and is able to work on his own without a QC in the higher courts.’
    Ranked: Tier 2

    Jeremy Woolf –  ‘Very easy to work with; available to respond quickly to queries.’
    Ranked: Tier 2

    Oliver Conolly – ‘Is incredibly knowledgeable. Mr Connolly’s responses were confident and robust.’
    Ranked: Tier 3

    Laura Poots –  ‘Quickness of response and the ability to explain complex legislation in plain language are her main strengths.’
    Ranked: Tier 3

    Ian Richards ‘Vastly experienced in offshore tax matters.’
    Ranked: Tier 3

    Michael Thomas – ‘We really rate him. Explains things very clearly.’
    Ranked: Tier 3

    TAX: CORPORATE AND VAT/INDIRECT TAX
    Pump Court Tax Chambers, ‘a fantastic set and which never fails to deliver’,  stands out for its deep expertise in VAT and other indirect taxes, handling high-profile cases in relation to landfill, and gaming taxes. Highlights for Roger Thomas QC included Zipvit v HMRC, where he represented the claimant, as a trade customer of Royal Mail, in the Supreme Court to recover input tax on supplies made over a 30-year period. Amid a prolific year, Andrew Hitchmough QC led Barbara Belgrano in Hastings Insurance Service Ltd v HMRC, successfully arguing for the taxpayer that VAT can be reclaimed on insurance policies supplied from Gibraltar. Also of note, Zizhen Yang is developing a strong reputation in the indirect tax world.

    Tax: corporate – Leading Silks

    David Milne QC – ‘He is an outstanding advocate and extremely clear and client focused in his advice work. His opinions are always hugely insightful.’
    Ranked: Tier 1

    Kevin Prosser QC –  ‘He can simplify and get to the core of difficult tax issues.’
    Ranked: Tier 1

    David Ewart QC ‘Huge technical ability. Very quick to get at the issue.’
    Ranked: Tier 2

    Rupert Baldry QC ‘Rupert is incredibly cool and collected under pressure. He is clear in his advice and works in a collaborative manner. A great advocate in court.’
    Ranked: Tier 3

    Giles Goodfellow QC –  ‘He is imaginative and finds solutions that others have not spotted.’
    Ranked: Tier 3

    John Tallon QC – ‘Very approachable and sees all sides of a problem.’
    Ranked: Tier 3

    Roger Thomas QC ‘A first-rate mind and very responsive. A real expert in corporate and indirect taxes.’
    Ranked: Tier 3

    Richard Vallat QC‘Exceptionally bright and thoughtful, providing practical advice.’
    Ranked: Tier 3

    Tax: corporate – 2019 Silks

    James Rivett QC‘He is a tenacious litigator and someone who pursues his case with vigour.’

    David Yates QC –  ‘Excellent advocate who is able to read the court well, technically excellent and great tactically, too.’

    Tax: corporate – Leading Juniors

    Jeremy Woolf ‘His knowledge and practical experience in both UK and offshore matters are extensive and highly valuable.’
    Ranked: Tier 1

    Thomas Chacko – ‘He is a patient professional who leaves no stones unturned.’
    Ranked: Tier 2

    James Henderson ‘He is resourceful and resilient in defending his clients’ interests.’
    Ranked: Tier 2

    Michael Thomas – ‘His written opinions are carefully considered and he is not afraid to dissuade clients from appealing when he considers a case to be particularly problematic.’
    Ranked: Tier 2

    Elizabeth Wilson –  ‘Very bright and capable. She is extremely diligent and thorough. She had a fine analytical mind and writes very clearly.’
    Ranked: Tier 2

    Zizhen Yang – ‘Technically strong and very hard working.’
    Ranked: Tier 2

    Tax: VAT – Leading silks

    Andrew Hitchmough QC‘His technical abilities are first-rate and he is very approachable.’
    Ranked: Tier 1

    David Milne QC – ‘He is an outstanding advocate and extremely clear and client focused in his advice work. His opinions are always hugely insightful.’
    Ranked: Tier 1

    David Ewart QC ‘Huge technical ability. Very quick to get at the issue.’
    Ranked: Tier 2

    Kevin Prosser QC‘He can simplify and get to the core of difficult tax issues.’
    Ranked: Tier 2

    Rupert Baldry QC ‘Rupert is incredibly cool and collected under pressure. He is clear in his advice and works in a collaborative manner. A great advocate in court.’
    Ranked: Tier 3

    Roger Thomas QC ‘A first-rate mind and very responsive. A real expert in corporate and indirect taxes.’
    Ranked: Tier 3

    Richard Vallat QC‘Exceptionally bright and thoughtful, providing practical advice.’
    Ranked: Tier 4

    Tax: VAT – 2019 Silks

    David Yates QC –  ‘Excellent advocate who is able to read the court well, technically excellent and great tactically, too.’

    Tax: VAT Leading Juniors

    James Henderson –  ‘He is resourceful and resilient in defending his clients’ interests.’
    Ranked: Tier 2

    Jeremy White –  ‘Jeremy is the pre-eminent authority on customs and excise duty issues in the UK. His knowledge is unrivalled.’
    Ranked: Tier 2

    Zizhen Yang‘Technically strong and very hard working.’
    Ranked: Tier 2

    Barbara Belgrano‘An exceptionally bright and able junior. She has huge technical ability, a terrific eye for detail, drafts with precision and is exceptionally diligent and focused. She is everything that one would wish to see in a junior barrister.’
    Ranked: Tier 3

    Thomas Chacko‘He is a patient professional who leaves no stones unturned.’
    Ranked: Tier 3

    Sadiya Choudhury‘An extremely effective adviser who is attentive to client needs and very understanding of the way in which their businesses work.’
    Ranked: Tier 3

    Oliver Conolly – ‘Highly intelligent with a very organised approach.’
    Ranked: Tier 3

    Laura Poots‘A great legal mind. Takes a commercial approach to tax problems.’
    Ranked: Tier 3

    Michael Thomas – ‘His written opinions are carefully considered and he is not afraid to dissuade clients from appealing when he considers a case to be particularly problematic.’
    Ranked: Tier 3

    Jeremy Woolf ‘His knowledge and practical experience in both UK and offshore matters are extensive and highly valuable.’
    Ranked: Tier 3

    PROFESSIONAL NEGLIGENCE

    2019 Silks

    David Yates QC –  ‘He is truly excellent.’

     

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