The Revenue Bar Association have sought to ensure that the Tax Bar is used by and available to as greater cross section of people as possible.

The Special Advocacy Scheme is one such initiative, although it might not be the most cost effective way of instructing us. If you are note a member of any of the participating bodies, under ‘Public Access’ we may be able to represent you economically, even if your dispute has very little tax in issue. If you have any doubts, please contact the clerks room.

Participating professional bodies

Chartered Institute of Taxation
Institute of Chartered Accountants for England and Wales
The Chartered Association of Certified Accountants

Purpose of the Scheme

This Scheme is for members of the participating professional bodies (PPBs) who wish to secure the services of members of the Revenue Bar Association (RBA) for representation in straightforward cases at General Commissioners’ and Special Commissioners’ Hearings, or VAT Tribunals in England and Wales at reduced fees.

Cases most suitable for representation under this Scheme are:

  1. penalty cases under the Taxes Management Act;
  2. small back duty cases;
  3. cases which involve a short legal (or possibly technical) point where little tax is at stake;
  4. appeals against notices to produce documents;
    v) applications for direction to complete enquiries;
  5. surcharge and serious misdeclaration cases at the VAT Tribunal.

The final decision as to the suitability of cases rests with the RBA member.

How to use the Scheme

If you have applied for, or been informed that a case is listed for hearing before either of the Commissioners on the VAT Tribunal and you wish to use the Scheme, please call the clerks to provide the following details:

  1. your name;
  2. your wish to use the Special Advocacy Scheme;
  3. key details of the case;
  4. location, date and time of case (if known).

Subject to acceptance by the RBA member selected that the case is straightforward and that he or she accepts it under the terms of the Scheme, the matter becomes a normal transaction between the parties.

RBA members will, in normal cases:

  1. read the papers in the case;
  2. decide if the case is appropriate to the Scheme and whether it is worth fighting;
  3. give pre-hearing advice, mainly about what needs to be done in preparation for the hearing;
  4. attend the hearing and represent the appellant.


Generally, there will be a standard fee to cover the work outlined in the preceding section for cases that are accepted under the Scheme.

The standard fee will be £950 (plus VAT).

If it is decided not to proceed with the case, a charge of £450 (plus VAT) will be made to cover the work the barrister has undertaken in reaching that decision.

Where hearings are outside London, the standard fee will be subject to additional reasonable expenses of travel and overnight accommodation.

Where an RBA member feels that a suitable case under the Scheme is at the heavier end of Scheme cases, it is open to the clerk to seek to negotiate an increase on the standard fee. Conversely, if you feel that the case is so small, it ought to be done for less than the standard fee, you should raise this with the clerk.

© The Revenue Bar Association. All rights reserved.

Share this